National Grilled Cheese day was in April. This fan-favorite comfort food can actually provide the body with some health benefits and can be an easy treat to prepare in not a lot of time. Modern grilled cheese is believed to have originated in the 1920’s in the United States when it’s two man ingredients, bread and cheese started to be readily available.
When using bread, try to use multi-grain or whole grain. Whole grains provide the body with some powerful nutrients like carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. One slice contains about 2 grams of the carbohydrate fiber or 8% percent of the daily recommendation. Fiber aids the body with digestion and is great for heart health. This type of bread also provides the body with iron which helps keep blood strong. Whole grains also naturally contain B vitamins which are important for proper development and brain health.
There are many different types of cheese and each are unique in their nutrient profile. Most cheeses however, are a good source of protein which is necessary for healthy body structures like muscles, nails, skin and hair. Cheese also often contains a significant amount of calcium which is essential for bone health. Try to stay away from processed cheese like American cheese and opt for a reduced or low-fat option.
Try this healthier version of a grilled cheese sandwich for additional nutrient benefits!
Green Goddess Grilled Cheese
Green Goddess Herb Pesto:
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ small shallot, chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- Handful kale, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 slices whole-grain bread
- 2 Tbsp. Green Goddess herb pesto
- 2 slices mozzarella
- Handful fresh baby spinach
- ¼ avocado, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil (or butter)
1. Start by making the pesto. Pulse garlic and shallot in food processor until chopped. With the food processor running, add lemon juice, parsley, kale, and chives. (It won’t process very well yet, but don’t worry.)
2. Very slowly drizzle in olive oil until kale and herbs get sufficiently chopped and everything is the consistency of a pesto. You may need more or less of the olive oil depending on how big a handful of herbs is to you. You can also turn off the food processor and push herbs down the side of the bowl with the spatula every once in a while. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Spread one tablespoon of Green Goddess Herb Pesto onto each slice of bread. (If you’re sensitive, go light because this pesto is strong.)
4. On one slice of bread, add a slice of cheese, sliced avocado, crumbled goat cheese, spinach, a second slice of cheese, and a second slice of bread. Press together gently.
5. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the sandwich to the oil, and cook until the bread is golden brown. Press down on the sandwich lightly, and then flip it over to cook until the second side is also golden brown.
Recipe adapted from MuscleforLife