Ever since I got back from Italy a few weeks ago, I have been embracing all things Italy-inspired in my cooking. And while this vegan Grilled Cheese Italiano may not be directly inspired by Italian cuisine, it is my spin on a classic grilled cheese, using Italian ingredient influences. Ingredients like basil, spices and generous amounts of EVOO.
Simple Ingredients, Bold Flavor.
This grilled cheese sandwich is super simple, but big on flavor and texture. Gooey, melty cheese squeezes between to layers of tender, olive oil and vegan butter soaked bread, crispy edges and accents of fresh basil and mixed Italian spices.
Vegan Grilled Cheese Recipes
A few other recipes I love..
- Vegan grilled cheese, using gouda and orange marmalade!
- Tomato soup is the perfect pairing for grilled cheese!
- Add some greens to your sandwich by spinach-stuffing it!
Vegan Cheese to the Rescue.
I used two types of cheese when I first made this recipe – Gouda and Cheddar. And I continue to try and get a mix of these two varieties for this recipe. Gouda has that strong punch of smoky, bold flavor and cheddar has a sharp and more mild, creamy cheese flavor. There are many vegan cheese brands on the market these days, but for this recipe I used the 365 Whole Foods brand – though really, so many brands would work. From Follow Your Heart to Daiya, Chao and more, I encourage you to try as many vegan cheese brands as possible to get a feel for which ones you like best.
Italian Accents galore! this sandwich may not be something you will find in Italy, but it definitely is Italy-inspired! Along with two cheeses, I added a few accents..
The flavor accents I used:
- Fresh Basil
- Dried Italian spices – mixture of spices like thyme, oregano, basil.
- Italian EVOO
Easy, right? You can be enjoying this Grilled Cheese Italiano in just about ten minutes. also be sure to read my recipe to get my ice cube / cheese melting technique.
- 1 slice vegan cheese, gouda
- 1 slice vegan cheese, cheddar
- 2 slices bread, bakery loaf works best, something hearty
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- 1 tsp vegan butter
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 tsp dried Italian spices, salt free
- 1-2 ice cubes, for melting cheese
- Warm the skillet over high heat. Add one Tbsp olive oil to pan.
- Spread the butter onto the bread – distributing evenly between two slices. Place the buttered bread – butter side down – in the skillet. Allow to cook for a minute or two while you tear the cheese slices.
- Flip the bread, buttered side up and add the cheese to one slice of bread. You can remove the second slice for now – out of the pan.
- Turn the heat to low and carefully add 1-2 ice cubes to the pan – immediately covering the pan with either a lid or foil so that the trapped heat and steam melts the cheese. Let the steam do it's magic for a minute, then turn the heat back to high. Tip: If needed, repeat with another ice cube. The ice will gently moisten the bread, but this actually works nicely! Your best bet is to use a hearty bakery bread that is about a day old.
- With your heat on high and the cheese melted, add the fresh basil over top the cheese. Add a tiny sprinkle of the Italian herbs too. Then cover the cheese buttered side down with that slice of bread you set aside.
- Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over top the sandwich – soaking the bread. Then flip the sandwich. The bottom side should be nice and toasty by now.
- Cook for another minute or two to toast the bread on the bottom side. If needed, you can press the sandwich down with a spatula or heavy lid to speed to toasting process and further mash the flavors together.
- Last step! Sprinkle another pinch of Italian herbs right over top the sandwich. Then flip. Add another pinch of herbs to the other side. cook another minute then remove from pan. Tip: For extra decadence and toasty edges you can add a bit more oil to the bread before flipping that last time.
- Slice and serve warm!
- lid or foil for skillet
nutrition estimate | per serving
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