Today, we’re rounding out our month of vegetarian dinners with a crowd favorite: grilled cheese. Balsamic roasted veggies make this feel decidedly grown-up. Here, Kate from Cookie & Kate shares her recipe…

Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
by Kate of Cookie & Kate

If I am going to eat a grilled cheese sandwich, I insist that it is a great grilled cheese sandwich. The quintessential grilled cheese features a generous amount of gooey, melted cheese sandwiched between two slices of fantastic bread, grilled to crisp, golden, buttery perfection. Anything less is a waste of good cheese!

The rest is fair game. You can keep it simple or add any mix-ins that sound appealing. I love this grilled cheese because it’s stuffed with some redeeming roasted vegetables, which are complemented by the grown-up flavors of balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. This grilled cheese is more work than a basic bread-and-cheese sandwich, but it’s absolutely worth the effort!

Recipe: Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
Makes 4 sandwiches

What you’ll need:

For the roasted vegetables:

1 lb broccoli, or 8 oz broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sandwiches:

8 slices quality whole grain bread, preferably sourdough
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1+ tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 425F. Prepare your veggies, keeping in mind that you want them to be roughly the same size for even cooking. Remove the florets from the broccoli stems and slice them into bite-sized pieces. Slice the bell pepper into thin strips. Halve the onion and slice it into thin strips as well (no need to separate the strips of onion from each other).

Transfer the prepared veggies to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add the salt and toss until all of the ingredients are evenly combined. Arrange the veggies in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with red pepper flakes and a few twists’ worth of freshly ground black pepper. Bake until the veggies are tender and deeply caramelized, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway.

To prepare your sandwiches: Spread a very thin layer of Dijon mustard on one slice of bread. Top the mustard with a heavy sprinkling of shredded cheese, then as much roasted vegetables as you can reasonably fit on top. Top with more cheese and place another piece of bread on top. Repeat for the remaining three sandwiches.

To cook your sandwiches: Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add a generous pat of butter. Let the butter melt and swirl it around. Carefully place one sandwich on one side of the pan, then another sandwich on the other side. Cover the pan with a lid or a baking pan to encourage the cheese to melt. Let the sandwich cook until the bottom side is golden and the cheese is mostly melted. Use a spatula to lift one sandwich out of the pan at a time. Add a little more butter to the pan and let it melt. Carefully flip the sandwiches over and place them back in the pan to cook the other sides until they’re nice and golden (I covered the sandwiches again here). Once the cheese is melted through and both sides are golden, transfer the sandwiches to serving plates. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Note: Any roasted veggies will work well in this recipe, so just choose your favorites!

Thank you so much, Kate!

P.S. More recipes, including a lazy egg sandwich and jalapeño macaroni and cheese.

(Photos and recipe by Kate of Cookie & Kate. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for help with this series)