30 Healthy Grilled Cheese Makeovers
Our Favorite Healthy Grilled Cheese Makeovers
We can't knock the classic grilled cheese sandwich that we all grew up with, but sometimes a rainy (or sunny—we won't discriminate) day calls for something more. We've mixed it up and kicked it up to bring you 30 new ways to enjoy a comfort classic.
First up, tangy-spicy kimchi brightens the taste of this rich, toasty grilled cheese sandwich. We use a combination of two cheeses—fresh mozzarella and Monterey Jack—for the best flavor and texture. The kimchi retains some crunch in the sandwich, creating a great textural contrast to the soft cheese.
Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini
This playful turkey melt's abundant crisp crevices and gooey interior will have the whole family wondering, "What can we waffle next?"
Grilled Ice-Cream Sandwich
Made with cinnamon swirl bread and apple butter, our Grilled Ice-Cream Sandwich riffs on the flavors of America’s most patriotic dessert (apple pie!), right down to the classic bite of cheddar cheese. Meanwhile, it gives new jazz to the joys of the ice-cream sandwich: Warm, crunchy bread snuggles up to cold, creamy ice cream.
Mozzarella, Ham, and Basil Panini
A few special ingredients—like freshly baked ciabatta bread or imported Dijon mustard—make a quick, simple sandwich seem like a restaurant treat for a midday meal.
Grilled Cheese with Roasted Tomato Spread
We love the combo of grilled cheese sandwiches and roasted tomato soup--so why not combine the two in each ooey-gooey bite?
Chicken Cordon Bleu Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
The flavors of classic cordon bleu translate delectably as a rave-worthy grilled cheese. Serve with a side of wilted spinach or a salad.
Kicky Grilled Cheeses
Liven up a simple grilled cheese with sambal oelek, a spicy chili paste that delivers Asian-inspired heat. Trade out your heavy cheeses for a reduced fat sharp cheddar and low fat cream cheese. Topped with wilted kale, this is a sandwich that is packed with greens and protein, yet still tastes like an indulgent, grown-up take on a kids' classic.
Grilled Gruyère and Olive Tapenade Sandwiches
You can easily shave thin slices of cheese in a snap using an inexpensive kitchen tool: a vegetable peeler. This is a perfect technique for many hard cheeses like Gruyère.
Grilled Cheese and Green Chile Sandwiches
We love the mix of mild green chiles (with their distinct vegetal flavors) and spicy poblanos. For fun, cut sandwiches into strips and serve with gazpacho.
Garlicky Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Spinach
Have your grilled cheese without the guilt! The garlic flavor pairs nicely with the cheese, bacon, and greens.
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches
The classic Caprese salad of juicy tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and fragrant basil makes for a fantastic vegetarian sandwich. We've added grilled zucchini to up the game. Gooey mozza puts it over the top. Crunch is key with the bread, but you can sub in a crusty baguette.
Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches
These sandwiches make the most of juicy, flavorful summer tomatoes. Serve them with grapes or carrot sticks.
Grilled Margherita Sandwiches
This quick five-ingredient entrée transforms a favorite pizza combo into a melty grilled sandwich. To thinly slice fresh mozzarella with ease, freeze the cheese for about 30 minutes before cutting.
Summer Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup
Crusty Cuban bread is perfectly complemented with creamy mozzarella and a slice of juicy tomato. Serve with sweet potato chips or a simple green salad.
Grilled Portobello-Goat Cheese Pitas
Each element of this dish contributes unique elements. Crispy and chewy texture come from the grilled pita; tanginess and cooling creaminess from the goat cheese; sweet, juicy freshness from the tomato; and earthy smoky flavors and meaty texture from the portobellos. It's a great summer combination with a simple fruit salad made from whatever you have on hand.
Grilled Ham, Muenster, and Spinach Sandwiches
Mild Muenster cheese is too often overlooked; it’s great for sandwiches, burgers, omelets, or just plain snacking. It matches well with thinly sliced ham, fresh spinach, and sweet-and-tangy chowchow in these crusty-breaded sandwiches.
Fig-Glazed Chicken Panini With Brie
For sandwiches with great crunch, look for a rustic whole-grain bread boule. If you have trouble cutting 1-ounce slices across the width of the boule, cut it in half first.
Turkey Panini with Watercress and Citrus Aioli
Gooey provolone, white bread with a crunch, and refreshing citrus aioli—all in a turkey and watercress panini—make a mouth-watering combination. This hearty sandwich will not leave you with hunger pains, but it might just leave you wishing for one more bite.
Prosciutto, Fontina, and Fig Panini
Sweet and salty are a great pair in sandwiches, and this recipe has intensely flavored salty prosciutto paired with candylike fig preserves. Three minutes of grilling and pressing makes the fontina nice and gooey and the whole sandwich crispy and warm.
Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
Swapping turkey for fatty corned beef makes these sandwiches healthier, but since the assertive flavors of the dressing and Swiss cheese take center stage anyway, you'll hardly notice. And each sandwich has just 255 calories. We use Thousand Island, which is popular on Reubens, but the true traditional Reuben dressing is the slightly harder-to-find Russian. Good thing Real Simple has an
Similar to a Monte Cristo, a croque monsieur is a French-style grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped in egg batter then cooked in a skillet. This version is like a savory stuffed French toast. Keep the finished ones warm in a 200° oven while cooking the others.
Grilled Portobello, Bell Pepper, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
The combination of melted cheese and crisp bread makes grilled sandwiches an appealing entrée. You can grill sandwiches either on an outdoor grill or inside on a grill pan.
Mushroom and Manchego Panini
Warm, melty cheese and earthy mushrooms pair beautifully in this delicious panini. Serve with sweet potato chips for a delicious lunch or light dinner.
Grilled Turkey and Ham Sandwiches
Simplicity is the key to these easy sandwiches: Bread, mayo and mustard, deli meats, cheese, and tomato are all you need for a quick meal anytime. But toasting them in a skillet turns them into a gooey, melty, comforting classic. And of course, they need to be paired with
Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Fig and Honey
These are equally as good for breakfast or dinner. Mixing honey with the goat cheese makes it easier to spread over the cinnamon-raisin bread.
Grilled Tomato, Smoked Turkey, and Muenster Sandwich
This grilled sandwich is chock-full of yumminess. Creamy muenster may be the star, but a slice of juicy tomato plays a delicious supporting role.
Dijon Croque Monsieur
Instead of your usual grilled ham and cheese, try this French-style sandwich that's enhanced by the zip of whole-grain mustard.
Grilled Sourdough Cheddar Melt
This is also called a patty melt: ground meat and cheese nestled between slices of bread (any kind will do) and grilled. Prewrapped slices of processed cheddar cheese are the only way to go, as they melt better. We do it here far lighter than you're likely to find it on the road.
Grilled Vegetable and Mozzarella Sandwiches
You can use a grilling basket to make it easier to handle the vegetables as they cook. If you can't find a loaf of ciabatta, use focaccia.
Griddled Banana, Mango, and Jalapeño Sandwiches
Be sure to coarsely mash the banana; you want to keep some texture there. Serving to kids with sensitive palates? Leave off the jalapeño; the sandwiches will still be great. For a killer brunch, serve with an over-easy egg.