National Grilled Cheese Day: Healthier Grilled Cheese Secrets (Don’t Tell)

Did you know that there is a National Grilled Cheese Day? That’s right. Grilled. Cheese. Day. April 14—save it in your calendar! Also, let us help you celebrate with some recipes! We promise—they are quick, easy and delicious!

Before we get started, can you keep a secret? Okay, here it is: grilled cheese is not exactly known as the healthiest meal. A few Nature’s Emporium classified changes can be made to these sandwiches to make them healthier. But seriously, don’t tell.

Healthier Grilled Cheese Secret #1: Grass Fed-Dairy

Grass-fed and organic cheeses and butters are a simple switch you can make to make a grilled cheese more nutritious and they tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals that provide our body with nutrients. Grass-fed dairy is high in unsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to heart health benefits.

Healthier Grilled Cheese Secret #2: Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is another excellent way to add nutritional value to your sandwich. Sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, meaning that the fibre in the sourdough feeds the good bacteria in your intestines, supporting digestion.

Healthier Grilled Cheese Secret #3: Suit Your Lifestyle

If you see a recipe that doesn’t suit your diet, change it! You can swap out any ingredients that fit to your lifestyle better. Some examples might include vegan cheeses or butters, gluten-free bread—and you also have the freedom to add in any healthy ingredients you choose!

Healthier Grilled Cheese Secret #4: Prep Ahead of Time

All preparation can be done ahead of time, so the grilled cheese sandwiches can be whipped up even faster!

Why is this healthier? Remember

Plain ‘Ol Grilled Cheese Boring? Try These Recipes!

Try out any of these recipes that catch your eye, or all of them. It’s grilled cheese. Feel free to add in your own twist. As always, any of the ingredients in these recipes can be purchased you-know-where.

Vegan Mozzarella Pesto Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese

Keyword Vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 1 sandwich
Author Stephanie Tucci

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp vegan pesto (we used Sunflower Kitchen)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup shredded vegan mozzarella or about 3 slices (we used Daiya)
  • 2 slices sourdough bread thick-cut
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toss the cherry tomatoes in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
  • Roast the tomatoes for 15-20 minutes on a small baking sheet until they start to burst.
  • Add some olive oil or spray to a pan and heat over medium heat.
  • Spread the Earth Balance Buttery Spread on each side of both pieces of bread.
  • Once the pan is hot, place both pieces of bread in the pan and cook until golden. Once golden, flip both slices of bread.
  • While the other side is toasting, add your cheese to one slice and drizzle on the pesto. Top with about 2 tablespoons of cherry tomatoes.
  • Top with the other toasted slice of bread and gently press down. After 2 minutes, flip the whole sandwich, and cook for a final 2 minutes.
  • Your grilled cheese is done when the cheese is melted, and the bread is golden.

Notes

Pro tip: You can double or triple the batch of roasted cherry tomatoes and store them in a jar in your refrigerator. They are a great addition to any sandwich, wrap or salads and will last about a week.

Blueberry Peach Mascarpone Grilled Cheese

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 1 sandwich
Author Stephanie Tucci

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ peach sliced
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • 4 slices Nature's Emporium Brie
  • 2 slices sourdough bread thick-cut
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Add the blueberries to a small pot add the water, and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer. Cook the blueberries for 5-10 minutes on a low simmer. Then, add the balsamic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add some olive oil or spray to a pan and heat over medium heat.
  • Spread the butter on each side of both pieces of bread.
  • Once the pan is hot, place both pieces of bread in the pan and cook until golden. Once golden, flip both slices of bread.
  • While the other side is toasting, spread the mascarpone on one piece of bread. Then, layer your peach slices on top, followed by your slices of brie. Top with two tablespoons of the balsamic-blueberry mix.
  • Top with the other toasted slice of bread and gently press down. After 2 minutes, flip the whole sandwich and cook for a final 2 minutes.
  • Your grilled cheese is done when the cheese is melted, and the bread is golden.

Notes

If your blueberry mix is dripping out of the sides, that is okay (it makes it look even more delicious)!

Sausage Kale Waffle Grilled Cheese

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1 sandwich
Author Stephanie Tucci

Ingredients

  • 1 italian sausage (we used Rowe Farms)
  • 1 spanish onion
  • ½ head black kale
  • ¼ cup olive oil divided
  • 1 tsp sea salt divided
  • 3 slices cheddar cheese
  • 2 homestyle waffles gluten-free
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • olive oil

Instructions

  • For the sausage, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of the olive oil. Remove the sausage from the casing, and crumble into the pan.
  • Add a pinch of salt and cook until golden brown and cooked through.
  • In the meantime, thinly slice the onion. You can use the same pan as the sausage once it is done. Add two tablespoons of the olive oil and bring back to medium heat. Add the onions with ½ tsp of the salt.
  • Stirring periodically, making sure they don’t burn, cook the onions down until they are soft and golden brown. About 20-25 minutes.
  • In the meantime, thinly slice the kale. Heat a separate small pan over medium-high heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the kale and the last pinch of salt. Cook for 2 -5 minutes just until the kale is wilted.
  • If you are using frozen waffles, you will need to lightly pre-toast them. Use your lowest setting on your toaster for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add some olive oil or spray, to a pan and heat on medium. Spread the butter on each side of both waffles.
  • Once the pan is hot, place both waffles in the pan and cook until golden. Once golden flip both waffles.
  • While the other side is toasting, add the cheddar cheese on one waffle. Then add some crumbled sausage, caramelized onion and kale on top.
  • Top with the other toasted waffles and gently press down. After 2 minutes flip the whole sandwich, and cook for a final two minutes.

Butternut Squash Roasted Garlic Grilled Cheese

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 1 sandwich
Author Stephanie Tucci

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil divided
  • 3 slices butternut squash ¼" thick
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices provelone cheese
  • 2 slices havarti cheese
  • 2 slices seeded sourdough bread thick-cut
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the top of the garlic and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Wrap with foil paper and place it in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Let cool once done, then squeeze out the garlic into a small container and cover with a bit of olive oil. While the garlic is roasting, proceed to the next step.
  • In the meantime, you can prepare the squash. There will be extra, which you can use for other meals. Slice into ¼" thick slices.
  • Place the slices of squash on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining oil, salt and a crack of black pepper. Then roast for 20 minutes.
  • Add some olive oil or spray to a pan and heat on medium. Spread the butter on each side of both pieces of bread.
  • Once the pan is hot, place both pieces of bread in the pan and cook until golden. Once golden, flip both pieces of bread.
  • While the other side is toasting, add the provolone slices on one piece of bread. Then layer on the roasted squash, followed by the Havarti.
  • Spread the other slice of bread with some roasted garlic, then close the sandwich and gently press down. After 2 minutes flip the whole sandwich, and cook for a final 2 minutes.

Really though, these are secret. Don’t tell. 🤫

Emily D'Addario

Registered Holistic Nutritionist In-Training

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