Gooey Roasted Veggie Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is the best; there’s nothing like it to make you feel like a little kid again.  I still remember asking my mom if i could have grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch even in the middle of summer– that match made in heaven shouldn’t be restricted to only colder months!

But unless you’re Peter Pan, you’ve gotta grow up sometime, right?  Good thing being a “grown up” doesn’t mean you have to leave the grilled cheese-tomato combo behind (whew)!  It just means you’re creative enough to venture outside the box.  Unless you don’t feel like it.  In which case, will you share your sammy and soup with me?

In the meantime, I’ll stick with this Roasted Veggie Grilled Cheese.  With roasted tomatoes and zucchini, it lets you get that classic tomato taste into your grilled cheese, and adds new flavor dimensions to your sandwich.  Plus, adding veggies to any recipe is a great way to make yourself feel healthier.  Even if those veggies are sandwiched between a LOT of cheese and bread.  Whatever.  Semantics, schmemantics!

Roasted Veggie Grilled Cheese

Oh hey, garden goodies!

Oh hey, garden goodies!

Mix veggies (whichever ones you choose) with a splash of olive oil, pepper, salt, and some dried basil.  Spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (yay, one less dish to do!) and roast at 350 until the tomatoes have burst and the zucchini is fully cooked through.  If you have a grill, you could definitely grill these veggies instead of roasting them.

Towards the end of the roasting (or grilling) process, butter one side of your bread (choose something substantial, because these sandwiches are messy, and you’ll want something that can support all those veggies– I went with a French loaf and it worked well) and place in a nonstick pan at medium-low heat.  Shred the cheese of your choice and place half of it on the bread.  I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar; the mozz plays nicely with the tomato and basil in a caprese kind of way, and cheddar and zucchini are almost as great together as cheddar and tomato.  But goat cheese would be great in there too!  Or almost any other cheese, actually.  It’s cheese, that’s pretty much the only standard it needs to meet to be delicious.

Grilled Cheese 1

Heating your sandwich over low heat will help the bread get to a golden toast instead of a burn, and will melt the cheese nicely (shredding the cheese will help with even melting too).  When they’re done roasting, add the veggies to your sandwich– this should help speed up the cheese melting process as well.  Add the remaining cheese and the other slice of bread, butter side facing up.

Messy but delicious!

Messy but delicious!

If your sandwiches look like mine, they will be messy.  Things will fall out, and that’s ok!  Stick escapees back in, or if it’s cheese that’s escaping, you can just let it go– it’ll form a great, crusty edge that is SO yummy (but don’t let it turn into charred grossness.  Unless that’s your thing, I guess.  But there’s that whole burnt food-carcinogen link, so maybe reconsider that….)!

Grilled Cheese 3

Look at that toasted cheese along those edges– yes please!

When your sandwiches have a nice, golden crustiness going on, they’re ready to go!

Keep a fork handy when you’re eating these– gotta make sure you catch any stray zucchini slices trying to escape!

Happiness on a plate.

Happiness on a plate.

The day I grow out of grilled cheese is going to be a very sad day; frankly, I’m hoping it never comes.  And I’m pretty sure as long as this sandwich is make-able, I won’t!  I decided to make these sandwiches because I was feeling lazy and just wanted something to feed BF, but adding roasted veggies took them to a whole new level without much added effort.

What twists have you tried on classic recipes like grilled cheese?  I have big plans for mine next time– I see some goat cheese, roasted grapes, and caramelized onions in my future….