Grilled cheddar and apple on whole wheat bread
This option is great, because it includes a serving of fruit and uses nutrient dense whole wheat bread. Plus, I love extra sharp cheddar because it packs so much flavor! Here’s a tip: use grated or shredded cheddar, because you’ll most likely end up using less than when you cut it into slices for the sandwich.
Directions: Cut an apple into thin slices. Place in a small skillet over medium heat (depending on your pan, you may want to add a small amount of cooking spray so they don’t stick). Add a teaspoon of brown sugar and allow to melt over apples. Remove hot apples from pan and half the slices on the bread, add extra sharp cheddar to the middle, top with remaining apple slices and the other piece of whole wheat bread. Place the sandwich in the skillet and let the cheese melt.
Spinach, peppers & onions grilled cheese on multigrain bread
Use a thicker multigrain bread with this option, but double check the label to be sure it’s made of a whole grain (you’ll see this in the ingredient list). These breads are typically hearty and have a lot of flavor.
Directions: Layer spinach on a piece of the multigrain bread. Grill some peppers and onions (or sauté them in a small amount of olive or canola oil); add on top of the spinach. Add a slice of provolone cheese and the top layer of bread. Heat in a skillet coated in a small amount of cooking spray; cook sandwich until cheese is melted. It’s like a mix between a philly cheese steak and a sausage and peppers, without the meat!
Mushroom and caramelized onion grilled cheese
Mushrooms have such a wild earthy flavor that I find them to be a great addition to so many foods.
Directions: Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a pan and sauté sliced baby portabella mushrooms and onions (I like to make a bunch at once, so I have these to use for more sandwiches or other meals later). Cook until onions have started to caramelize. Add to whole wheat bread with a little fontina and parmesan cheese. Return to the same skillet (there should be enough oil residue from the vegetables to prevent sticking) and heat until the cheese has melted.
Toasted bread with cheese, tomatoes, and avocado
As an alternative to “grilled” cheese, I’ll make a toasted cheese sandwich. I’ll use a piece of French bread or another crusty loaf, and top it with some minced garlic, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Pop it in the regular oven or toaster oven at 350 for a few minutes until the cheese melts. The avocado is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and tomatoes and garlic provide lots of phytonutrients.
Don't those sound delicious? A few closing tips:
- Want to cut back on the calories a bit more? Consider a reduced fat cheese, like Cabot 50% Cheddar. I will fully advocate against fat free cheese – who wants that rubbery stuff that isn’t even reminiscent of the real thing? I typically prefer using smaller amounts of full fat cheese for the best flavor, but the Cabot reduced fat cheeses are pretty darn good. (Disclosure – no affiliation/sponsorship, I just like the product).
- Want to add some more protein to any of these sandwiches? Consider a little lean turkey or ham.
- Pair these sandwiches with a delicious side salad, like mixed greens with pecans and mandarin oranges, and there’s an easy, scrumptious, and filling meal!