Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Spinach, Avocado, and Gouda Goodness


When I was in my first trimester, one of the few foods that actually appealed to me was a grilled cheese sandwich. I had one practically every day; I guess the carb-y, salty, protein-filled meal just hit the spot in those early, queasy days. I made my sandwiches with the best quality ingredients—organic cheese, sprouted bread, extra virgin olive oil—but I knew they weren't ideal meals. 

Grilled cheeses are still just a once-in-a-while treat for me. This green version features spinach and avocado. It is bright and decadent; you probably shouldn't eat it all the time, but when you do, you can feel pretty good about it! 

A word about the bread I used: I got mine from a fabulous bakery called Bread Alone that has a stall at our farmer's market. My loaf was an organic "peasant bread," which is a wide, rustic bread that is chewy and delicious; I sometimes see it sold as "Tuscan bread." If you're using regular sandwich bread, you could probably use four slices and make two separate sandwiches. 

Ingredients
yield: 2 servings

  • 2 slices peasant bread 
  • about 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1/4 avocado
  • about 3 oz smoked gouda (extra sharp cheddar would work well, too)
  • extra virgin olive or coconut oil for grilling
  • salt, to taste
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste (optional)

Beautiful, verdant spinach brightens up any sandwich.

Y'all know that I worship the avocado, right?

Pack the spinach into a small food processor and chop. Add the avocado and process a bit more. Spinach and avocado are both nutritional powerhouses; they are especially good sources of folate, which is crucial during pregnancy to prevent birth defects.


It should turn into a nice paste.


I roughly chopped the gouda, then threw it in the processor and pulsed a few more times, until the pieces of cheese are small and dispersed throughout. If you'd prefer to shred it, just fold the shredded cheese into the avocado-spinach paste. This is a good time to sample a bit of the mixture and add salt and/or hot sauce, to taste.

Spread evenly over the slices of bread. At this point, you could certainly throw these under the broiler and you'd have two fabulous, open-faced sandwiches.


But the draw of a grilled cheese is too strong for me. So I closed up that bread, brushed some oil on the outside, and grilled it for a couple of minutes on each side over medium-high heat. The bread should be golden and crispy; the cheese should be ooey and gooey.

Warning: it is so ooey and gooey that—when you take a bite—some of the filling may squish out of the other side. Keep a napkin handy, my friends.


 I took a ridiculous amount of pictures of this darn sandwich. Food porn!



And, yes, I did say earlier that this yields two servings. Seriously, it is a rich and filling sandwich and you will feel good if you split it with someone and have a little soup or salad on the side. If you can't help yourself and you end up feeling overstuffed, don't come crying to me, missy!



UPDATE: Ann of Sumptuous Spoonfuls (who has guested posted for us) featured her version of this recipe with a lovely review!

UPDATE: Our sandwich has been featured on She Knows in celebration of National Sandwich Month!

56 comments:

  1. fullbellysistersMarch 8, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Also shared at the linky party hosted by Recipes for My Boys: http://www.recipesformyboys.com/p/thursdays-treasures.html

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  2. I agree - quality ingredients for an amazing grilled cheese!  This looks over the top amazing!  

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  3. This was so easy to make and insanely good!!!! Thanks for another great recipe!!!!

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  4. fullbellysistersMarch 8, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Thank you so much!

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  5. This is definitely at the top of my 'BEST comfort food ever' list! I  added artichoke hearts to the recipe and it was amazing!  

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  6. I love that addition - I only wish I'd thought of it first!

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  7. Janet Redmond HoganMarch 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    My husband asked me to  make this again today.  That RARELY happens!

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  8. fullbellysistersMarch 9, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Very cool!

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  9. am making this now - cannot wait to eat it.. looks sooooo yummy. grill cheese is my favorite.

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  10. Great, hope you liked it!

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  11. Thank you for trying it and reporting back!

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  12. I love this idea & I'm going to try it tomorrow! Yum!

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  13. This was the Best grilled cheese I have ever had.
    I recomendit to everyone I know. I loved it and cant wait to try a new dish

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  14. fullbellysistersApril 5, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    WOW, what an amazing review! So, so nice of you to take the time to post it - you made my day :-)

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  15. Today is National Grilled Cheese day, so glad I found this recipe to make tonight, thank you!

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  16. Awesome, please come back and let us know how you like it!

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  17. FBS strike again! This grilled cheese is nothing short of amazing! Ooey gooey goodness and glad I had a couple of napkins handy AND glad that I split it with the hubby! We used a sourdough loaf and it was chewy and delicious. Thanks for the green grilled cheese that I don't have to feel completely guilty about!

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  18. SO glad you guys enjoyed it!

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  19. Thank you!

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  20. Amazing sandwich Ladies. I absolutely am in love!

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  21. thanks, Dawn!

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  22. fullbellysistersMay 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post your thoughtful review. By all means, please don't try this! ;-)

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  23. Wow this looks AMAZING.  I will try it on Thursday and let you know the family's verdict (can't trust mine, I'm just a piggy who adores food full stop).

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  24. fullbellysistersMay 14, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Well, i'm glad I can count on you, at least! ;-)  I do hope the rest of the family likes it - please do let me know!

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  25. JenniferhelenchinJune 9, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I've been dying to make this since you first posted it.  Today is the day!!

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  26. fullbellysistersJune 9, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Ooh, I really hope you like it! Come back and let us know...

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  27. JenniferhelenchinJune 10, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    So, I made it yesterday and it was so outrageously good that I gotta run and make it for my honey buns now!! The best grilled cheese I've ever had in my life. For reals!!

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  28. Thank you SO much for the compliment and for coming back to post a review - really appreciate it :-)

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  29. So trying this with the bounty of arugula from the garden!

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  30. fullbellysistersJune 25, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Ooh, arugula would add such a good "bite" to these! Please come back and let us know how it turned out!

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    Replies
    1. Ok arugala and cheddar = amazing! Added 1/2 clove of garlic and used schiracha in place of tobacso, so YUM! :)

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  31. Drooling over this tres decadent recipe. It is on my treat list.

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  32. fullbellysistersJune 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Fantastic, please report back if you try it - let us know how you like it!

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  33.  Bit late, but just popped back to let you know it was a big hit.  I won't eat grilled cheese any other way now.

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  34. fullbellysistersJuly 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Fabulous, thanks!

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  35. Stephanie MustardJuly 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Wow, that looks AMAZING. Thanks for posting. 

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  36. fullbellysistersJuly 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Thanks, Stephanie!

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  37. This is pure genius. I am in awe. And headed to the kitchen to make this.

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  38. Thanks, let us know how you like it!

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  39. Also shared at Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen: http://bobbiskozykitchen.blogspot.com/2012/08/manic-monday-party-9.html

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  40. Thank you! Made it for lunch for three and it was a big hit. I have no food processor so I just finely cut the spinach and stirred it all up.  I added a few mushrooms.  Yum!

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  41. Oh this is beyond deeeeeeeeeelish. Made it for my parents tonight. I don't think I had the burner on low enough because the gouda never really melted ... but it didn't matter. We have some leftover mix for lunch tomorrow. Can't wait.

    I added a bit of garlic salt and red pepper flake for a kick!
    THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

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  42. And thank *you* for this fantastic review! Love your additions - i'm always down for some garlic and red pepper flakes!

    PS. you can try putting a pot cover over your frying pan for a minute or so, to help your gouda melt faster :-)

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  43. Mmm, mushrooms sound like a great addition! Thanks for posting your review!

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  44. I'd like to add that I made a few batches and the extra filling I put into an omelette. My partner stopped dead in his tracks and said it was the best omelette ever. He has never been that enthusiastic before!

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  45. Always willing to try something new.  We shall try this next week.  Thanks for sharing !

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  46. Please come back and let us know how you like it!

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  47. This takes grilled cheese to a whole new level! I made it with super sharp cheddar and french comte, and it was delicious. The friends I served it to raved about it. One said, "I can't believe this is healthy. It's so good!!" I am going to make this for a friend who just had a new baby-- I'll make a bunch (very easy!), wrap them up in foil and tell them to just throw it in the oven to warm them up. 

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  48. I love the idea of giving your friend prepackaged sammies! Thanks for stopping by with your review :-)

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  49. JensFavoriteCookiesJanuary 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Two servings? There is NO way I'm sharing this with anyone. YUM.

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  50. I made this for my boyfriend last night. We both agreed it was the best grilled cheese either of us has ever had. It tasted like eating spinach and artichoke dip on a sandwich, except without the artichoke (though I'm thinking about adding some next time). I'm totally going to try making this filling into a dip!

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  51. fullbellysistersMarch 7, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I am so thrilled to hear you both liked it so much! I agree that artichoke would be a fantastic addition :-)

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  52. I was planning to make grilled cheese for my family anyway tonight. I'll just double this recipe for us all to enjoy! (I too am obsessed with avocado!)

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  53. I followed the link for the peasant bread and was thrilled they sell it online! I live in New Orleans and would like to try it. My question is what the best way to cut that loaf? Maybe ill get an obvious answer but I've never bought loaves if bread that I have to cut myself. I noticed your slices are thin. We're they cut for you?

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