Ever since I was little girl, I already love cheese. That’s the reason why my mother always prepares a grilled cheese sandwich for me. Just a bite of this delectable sandwich is enough to send me to my childhood days. The oozing cheese and the crispy bread is always a winning combination for me, and I can never say no to it!
Lucky for me, my daughter shares my love for cheese, and I am happy to whip up our favorite grilled cheese sandwich for her almost every day. There are even some times when my daughter would ask for a grilled cheese sandwich dinner.
But while grilled cheese is one of the most comforting food out there, let us also admit the fact that it is not a well-rounded meal. Because of that, I started my hunt for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich pairing to make it more nutritious and complete. So what goes with grilled cheese? Read on and find out!
What Goes with Grilled Cheese?
Grilled cheese may be the perfect snack, but if you want to have it for major meals—like lunch and dinner, it is recommended that you pair it with satisfying and equally delicious side dishes. Take a look at some of the ideas that I have below:
Tomato soup and grilled cheese is a match made in heaven. This is one combination that you surely couldn’t resist! A hot steaming bowl of tomato soup is perfect for winter nights!
To prepare it, place a large saucepan over medium heat. Put 2 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Add onion and garlic and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes. After that, add celery, tomato paste, pepper, sugar, lime juice, cayenne, and salt. Add fresh pepper to taste. Cook all the veggies for 5 minutes then add the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes. Bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Let the resulting mixture cool down and transfer it to a blender. Puree until the soup is smooth. Bring it back to the saucepan (over low heat) to keep it warm. Ladle the soup into the bowls. You can serve the grilled cheese sandwich on the side.
Pro Tip: If you want to serve this soup differently, you can try slicing the grilled cheese sandwich (same size as croutons) and use it as toppings to the soup.
Since we are looking for nutritious add-ons for a grilled cheese sandwich, it may seem like a vegetable soup is the perfect fit, right? The recipe I will share with you uses some of the most nutritious vegetables you can ever get your hands on. Can you imagine a soup that is both comforting and healthy? Well, this one is it!
Place the vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Add in the frozen vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli) and let it simmer for 5 minutes. The vegetables should be tender at that point. Let it cool down for a bit and transfer it to a blender. Puree until it becomes smooth.
Divide the vegetable soup into bowls. Add a scoop of yogurt or sour cream to each bowl. Top it with chives and add pepper to taste.
Bean and Quinoa Soup
If you want your grilled cheese sandwich to be more filling but without the added carbohydrates, a bean and quinoa soup is a great idea. This hearty soup is filled with fiber-rich ingredients (quinoa, spinach, and beans) that it can help you feel full for longer!
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour a bit of oil and let it heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin, quinoa, coriander, garlic, and carrots and cook those for 2 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth along with 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Once the quinoa is already properly cooked, add in the spinach and beans and stir well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, Serve hot.
French Onion Soup
If you love adding meat to your cheese sandwich, one amazing soup candidate that you can try is the French Onion Soup. The caramelized onion in this soup can undoubtedly bring more flavor to your sandwich.
Create ¼- thick slices of onions. Place the onion slices in a pan with melted butter and cook for 45 minutes or until they are golden. Stir in the beef broth, wine, thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat to simmer for 1 hour. After that, remove the thyme and bay leaf. Discard.
Divide the soup into the bowls. Top with your choice of cheese. Personally, I prefer using gruyere cheese for my French onion soup recipe. Broil the soup until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
If the cheese is a bit too much for you, you can try topping the soup with an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich.
Balsamic Dipping Sauce
For those of you who are already too tired of pairing your grilled cheese sandwiches with soups or if you are looking for a side dish alternative for the warmer days, you may want to consider a making a dipping sauce instead.
Aside from marinara sauce, my next favorite dipping sauce is a balsamic one. You can do this by placing a saucepan over medium heat. Add balsamic vinegar into it and cook for 8 minutes. Remove the vinegar from heat. Add butter and stir it in until it melts.
Pickled Veggies or Fruits
If you find grilled cheese sandwich to be a bit greasy, you can fend off the excess greasiness by pairing it with pickled vegetables or fruits.
One great recipe I have tried is the pickled pineapple sriracha which adds sweetness and refreshing flavor to the greasy sandwich. Place garlic, pineapple, lime juice, fish sauce, and sriracha in a bowl and whisk until everything is mixed correctly. Put the pineapple slices in a glass jar with a lid and pour the lime mixture in the jar until the pineapple is fully covered by it. Cover the jar tightly and refrigerate it for up to 3 weeks.
For pickled vegetables, one recipe that I have in mind is pickled asparagus. My mom used to add asparagus in her grilled cheese sandwiches, and I absolutely loved it but let me tell you, this pickled asparagus recipe is much better than that!
You can prepare this by trimming the asparagus spears to make sure that they would fit your glass jar. Place the trimmed asparagus bottom down inside the jar. In a saucepan, add in vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, and water. Stir until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the asparagus spears, covering them completely. Allow it to cool down then refrigerate for 24 hours.
My love for grilled cheese sandwich will never die, and I think this goes the same for my daughter. However, I am fully aware of the nutritional lacking of this dish. Lucky for me, I was able to find a few side dishes that will not just complement the cheesiness of this sandwich but fill in its nutritional value as well.
Do you have more ideas on what goes with grilled cheese? If yes, please share them with us below!