A sign of the uncomfortable times we live in is the cultural craving for comfort food. These days, grilled cheese is hot, so to speak. There are even restaurants devoted almost solely to them. Some even offer vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, not wanting to leave anyone out (see listing at the end of this post). Here we showcase vegan grilled cheese sandwiches 5 ways, that you can make in minutes.
There’s no big revelation here, we’re not going to hand-craft our cheese or anything like that. But grilled cheese one of those things that many non-vegans still think needs to be sacrificed in a plant-based diet, like pizza. All photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
Not so! I’ve impressed many guests with how melty and stretchy a good vegan cheese made for that purpose can be. There are several good vegan cheeses on the market melt wonderfully well, including Daiya and Follow Your Heart. You may know of other brands, and if so, comment below and let us know which you like.
Here are 5 yummy ideas for vegan grilled cheese sandwiches. It may be far from a superfood, but a grilled cheese sandwich hits the spot when you’re in need of comfort And the add-ins suggested below take them from nursery food to more adult fare.
A perfect pairing is with a smooth tomato soup. If you want some in a hurry, Imagine Creamy Tomato is vegan and very good!
Kids, you don’t need a recipe to make a grilled cheese sandwich, though the internet seems to think otherwise. You just need some sturdy whole-grain bread, vegan cheese, your add-ins of choice, vegan butter (like Earth Balance), and a good nonstick pan or griddle.
Best to cook over medium heat on a generous but not ridiculous layer of vegan butter; cover the pan when cooking the first side so that the cheese will melt; when the underside is golden, flip and cook the other side.
Shown at the top with the tomato soup is this swoon-worthy grilled cheese, tomato, and vegan bacon sandwich. Use your favorite kind of purchased or homemade vegan bacon. Precook vegan bacon slices first. Layer some vegan cheese shreds onto a slice of bread, followed by tomato slices, vegan bacon, sliced tomato, more cheese shreds, topped by another slice of bread. Cook on a little vegan butter over medium heat, covered, until both sides are golden. This is good with either cheddar, mozzarella, or pepperjack.
Grilled cheese with brown mushrooms, yum! Precook sliced brown mushrooms (cremini; or for a fancier feast, shiitake) until wilted, then drain. Layer on bread: cheese shreds, cooked mushrooms, more cheese shreds, another slice of bread. Cook on a little vegan butter over medium heat, covered, until both sides are golden. We think this is best with mozzarella, but you may beg to differ.
Apple and cheddar is a classic flavor combo, and it works quite well in vegan grilled cheese, too. Using a tart granny smith apple is a good move, but if all you’ve got is a red apple, that’s not a bad choice. Either way, just make sure the apple is nice and crisp. Layer on bread: cheese shreds, apple slices, more cheese shreds, another slice of bread. Cook on a little vegan butter over medium heat, covered, until both sides are golden.
Spice things up with fresh jalapeño in your grilled cheese! Slice it thinly and remove the seeds. Use the usual precautions when handling hot chile peppers. Layer on bread: cheese shreds, sliced jalapeños, more cheese shreds, another slice of bread. Cook on a little vegan butter over medium heat, covered, until both sides are golden. We used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella-style vegan cheese shreds with this one.
Last but not least, a vegan grilled cheese sandwich with the green goodness of wilted spinach. Rinse some baby spinach and wilt it in the pan you’ll be using. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the liquid. Layer on bread: cheese shreds, wilted spinach more cheese shreds, another slice of bread. Cook on a little vegan butter over medium heat, covered, until both sides are golden. We used mozzarella-style vegan cheese shreds here, but this would go with any variety — cheddar, or if you’d like a spicy kick to go with the spinach, pepperjack.