o most people, grilled cheese means a few Kraft Singles sandwiched between slices of Wonder Bread. As comforting as it may be, the standard take offers only a glimpse of grilled cheese’s full potential.
A better grilled cheese needs substance, something to turn it from a high-calorie snack into a low-calorie meal, hence the mushrooms and the pile of caramelized onions here. Mushrooms and Swiss are close buddies, so out goes the processed American cheese. White bread has very little nutritional value, so rye stands out as the better—and tastier—alternative. This all goes to show you that food, no matter how sacred, is meant to be played with.
NUTRITION: 340 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 570 mg sodium
1⁄2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 slices rye bread
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup caramelized onions
1⁄2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (optional)
2 Tbsp softened butter
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for about 6 minutes, until nicely caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lay out four slices of the rye bread on a cutting board.
- Top with half the Swiss, then the onions and mushrooms. Add the thyme (if using) and the remaining cheese.
- Top with the remaining slices of rye.
- Spread the softened butter on both sides of the sandwiches.
- Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add the sandwiches, working in batches if you must, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, until fully toasted and golden brown.
Eat This Tip
Once you’ve successfully broken free from the shackles of standard grilled cheese, you’ll be hungry to explore more genre-bending options. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Cream cheese, pickled jalapeños, grated Swiss, and crushed corn chips
- Goat cheese, sliced fig, and prosciutto
- Brie, pear, and turkey (add avocado for a healthy boost)
- Sharp Cheddar cheese with olive tapenade
- Gruyere cheese with sun-dried tomato spread or fig jam
- Mozzarella and fresh tomato with basil (like a caprese sandwich, only grilled!)
- Gouda and apple
- Blue cheese and bacon