There are a lot of euphemisms that fall under the umbrella of grilled cheese recipes. Panini, patty melts, quesadillas, welsh rarebit, halloumi, reubens, calzones. Let’s just be honest with ourselves and call it grilled cheese. Let’s admit that we’re eating hunks of gooey goodness with a few inconsequential slabs of starch. Grilled cheese recipes are all about that delicious melted flavor and mouthfeel. They’re also wonderfully satisfying even without meat. In my college days, grilled cheese was sold on the Quad every Friday. Proceeds went to a nonprofit organization to combat world hunger, and the grilled cheese was great for Catholic students who didn’t eat meat on Fridays. If you’re observing Lent right now, use grilled cheese recipes to make a simple, satisfying meatless meal. Maybe that’s why April is officially National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month?
For your meatless Fridays, fry up a basic grilled cheese with fresh Cheddar or American cheese from the deli, a yummy bread, and plenty of butter. To avoid the butter bath, dip your bread in egg whites like Marla from Family Fresh Cooking does in her Egg Battered Grilled Cheese recipe. If you’re bored of the standard grilled cheese, try a creative variation. For Mediterranean flavors, try Garden Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, and Dijon mustard or the Comte, Olive, and Arugula Grilled Cheese from the kitchn. It sounds divine! Tex Mex Grilled Cheese Sandwiches turn up the heat with a simple addition of salsa and chilies. For a spicy take on grilled cheese that doesn’t fall back on Mexican flavors, try the Fancy Grilled Cheese posted on Food in Jars by Diandra from Oh Sweetie. Onion marmalade is a main ingredient in this sandwich, just as in The Urban Baker‘s Grilled Cheese + Onion Marmalade. I guess spicy onion jam is the new face of grilled cheese. Who knew?
There are also several different ways to cook grilled cheese. For example, you might cook it under the broiler for toasty bread without a drenching of butter. Try open-faced Broiled Pear and Swiss Cheese sandwiches for a butter-less grilled cheese that will satisfy your sweet tooth. You can also bake your grilled cheese instead of broiling it if you like your bread a bit less toasty. Put some Roasted Bell Pepper, Basil and Fontina Sandwiches in the oven for a heavenly Italian flavor. (Hint: the basil, not the cheese, is what will perfect this sandwich. Make sure to get fresh basil leaves for the full effect). If you’re digging the addition of basil in this sandwich and you want a really herby grilled cheese, check out the Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Panini that Kathy from Panini Happy invented.
If you’re like me and you have little interest in making grilled cheese healthier (again, let’s admit it’s a hunk of melted milkfat and just get over it), then welcome to the realm of heart attack-inducing comfort food. I’ll start you off with Grilled Shane’s Garlic & Green Onion Mashed Potato Grilled Cheese because the broccoli makes it seem a bit more innocent. If you’re really serious about this though, move straight to the Hot Welsh Rarebit, which is a close cousin of grilled cheese. You can always convince yourself that the beer is nutritionally equivalent to whole grain bread if you start feeling guilty. However, if you’re ready for the ultimate grilled cheese, no holds barred, let me introduce you to the Cheese Frenchee. This monster of a sandwich is slathered in mayonnaise, soaked in eggs and milk, dredged in cornflake crumbs, and deep fried to crispy, gooey perfection. Have no shame my friend; at least you aren’t eating meat, right?