Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day with These Sandwiches

Photo: TheCrimsonMonkey, Getty Images.

Grilled cheese is beloved as one of the simplest sandwiches known to man, but just because the two-ingredient combo is so popular doesn’t mean it can’t be improved on. In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12, we compiled a few tips and sourced some new recipes to make your grilled cheese eating experience worthy of celebration. Step aside, basic white bread and sliced American. The bar for grilled cheese sandwiches has been raised.

How to Change Up Your Grilled Cheese

  1. Buy better bread: Visit a bakery (Great Harvest and Breadsmith are two great places to start) and sample the savory loaves. Pick one but wait to slice it until you’re ready to make your grilled cheese. Use thick slices for an extra indulgent sandwich. We’ve found grilled cheese heaven with challah, sun-dried tomato bread, olive bread, and herb bread, just to name a few.
  2. Try different cheeses: Kraft singles are for kids. Experiment with more mature cheeses like goat cheese, Gouda, Gruyère, or havarti. Use multiple kinds of cheese (like cheddar, muenster and Swiss) in the same sandwich. Or spice it up with pepper jack cheese.
  3. Fill it up: Bread and cheese alone are boring. Add some texture and flavor with extra ingredients like bacon, deli meat, chips, pickles, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado, green apple slices, pear slices, or even grapes.
  4. Use a new lube: You’ve probably been greasing your grilled cheese with butter, and that’s fine. But if you want to kick it up a notch, try spreading the outsides of your sandwich with mayo before grilling. You can also upgrade your sandwich lube with olive oil, garlic butter, Irish butter, herb-infused butter, or flavored butter.

Prefer to have some guidance when it comes to discovering your new go-to grilled cheese sandwich? These two recipes will get your creative juices–and your salivary glands–going.

Humboldt Fog and Roasted Grape Panini

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound seedless red grapes, washed and dried
  • 8 slices rustic bread
  • 8 ounces Humboldt Fog goat cheese, sliced

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan or baking sheet, drizzle the grapes (still on the vine) with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast until the skins of the grapes start to blister (about 20 minutes). Remove pan from oven and allow to cool slightly. While the grapes cool, preheat your panini press or a cast iron skillet (you don’t need grill marks to make this delicious). Brush both sides of your bread with olive oil. Place 1/4 of the Humboldt Fog goat cheese on each of 4 slices of bread. Put a handful of grapes (10 to 12 per sandwich; you may have some roasted grapes leftover) on top of the Humboldt Fog goat cheese. Panini press for 2 to 3 minutes or cast iron grill on both sides until bread is golden brown and cheese has melted. Remove from panini or skillet and slice into triangles.

Grilled ‘Cheese’ with a Twist

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Preheat skillet over medium heat. Generously smear Vegenaise Gourmet on one side of a slice of bread. Place bread Vegenaise side down onto skillet and add Vegan Gourmet Shreds on top of bread. Smear Vegenaise on a second slice of bread on one side and place Vegenaise side up on top of sandwich. Grill until bread is golden and cheese begins to melt. Flip over and continue grilling until cheese is melted and bread is perfectly browned. Remove from skillet and slice into triangles.