I call this my Ultimate Grilled Cheese because…my recipe won as a “Flavor Favorite” in the Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Contest! Considering my entry was the only vegetarian sandwich receiving recognition, that is big news for us veg heads!! I am happy to share my ultimate grilled cheese sandwich recipe with you today. Granted, it is not a quickie but because of my excitement, I must share anyway. I will offer modifications for those of you looking for short-cuts.
As written, the recipe calls for marinating the summer vegetables in a homemade dressing before grilling; however, to make your life easier, grab a bottle of Drew’s Organic Italian Dressing and soak your veggies in that. I also made a savory olive spread from scratch for the contest but normally I would probably purchase a packaged olive tapenade for convenience – something like this product found on Amazon. If you don’t cook on the grill, you can easily roast these veggies in the oven. Taking advantage of these quick short-cuts will get you biting into this ultimate summer grilled cheese sandwich – pronto!
Embrace the savory olive spread, gooey Mozzarella, salty Feta, and fresh basil layered with garlic marinated grilled vegetables stacked between flavorful slices of rosemary focaccia – I am getting hungry writing this text! It’s a vegetarian sandwich fit for kings and queens – cheers!
- 1 zucchini, cut into 6 slices
- 1 yellow pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 thick slices red onion
- MARINADE - make this version or use a healthy bottled dressing like Drews
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- OLIVE SPREAD - make this version or use a healthy bottled version for ease
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 small slices Mozzarella Cheese
- 6 slices Feta Cheese
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 4 long slices rosemary focaccia bread
- Combine marinade ingredients in a screw-top jar. Cover and shake well. In a shallow dish, evenly spread out the vegetables, cover with marinade and let them sit for a minimum of 4 hours.
- In the base of a food processor, combine the olive spread ingredients and pulse until smooth.
- Heat your grill to 400 degrees. Cook the vegetables 15 minutes, turning often and basting with marinade until tender and slightly charred.
- Reduce the heat on your grill to 300 degrees. Brush one side of each piece of bread with extra virgin olive oil. Place the Mozzarella slices on two of the pieces of bread - the side without the olive oil. Place the Feta slices on the other two pieces of bread- the side without the olive oil. Place on the grill, cover, and cook until cheese is melted. Watch carefully so as to not burn the bottoms of the bread.
- Assembly: Layer half the vegetables on the slice of bread with Feta. Top with fresh basil and half the olive spread. Top it off with the piece of Mozzarella cheese bread. Repeat with the 2nd sandwich.