When you invest in a grill, one of the key advantages is its versatility. There’s so much you can do with your grill and there’s no shortage of recipes for you to try. What could be better?
Well. Why not get back to basics and make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich.
The ultimate comfort food. What’s not to like? I don’t like butter and always believed that it was a necessary ingredient when making a grilled cheese sandwich. This isn’t the case.
If you are allergic to butter, or if like me you just don’t like it, there are alternative ingredients you can use. Let’s have a look at some.
5 Healthy Alternatives To Butter When Making A Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Olive oil or Vegetable Oil
Either would work well as an alternative to butter, although the flavor might be slightly different if you choose to use olive oil. To try this, brush a small amount of oil over each piece of bread.
A pastry brush would be the ideal tool for this. Using oil will stop the bread from sticking to the grill pan. Oil also has the added benefit of making your grilled cheese sandwich a healthier option.
Although olive oil is slightly higher in calories than butter, it contains high levels of antioxidants and is rich in healthy monosaturated fats. Furthermore, olive oil has anti-inflammatory properties.
Again, if you’re focusing on health, you might want to consider using a butter alternative such as margarine or another plant-based spread. In terms of flavor and texture, margarine will work in the same way as butter.
So what are the health benefits of margarine? Firstly margarine is much lower in saturated fats than butter. It is made from vegetable oils and therefore contains no cholesterol.
Indeed replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat has been associated with a 17% reduction in heart problems. This is arguably significant
Moreover, margarine has the benefit of being cheaper than butter, primarily because it is made from vegetable oils.
This is an important consideration, especially when you are trying to stick to a reasonable food budget, whilst aiming to eat more healthily.
Although this isn’t an obvious substitute for butter, it can work very well. Depending on dietary preferences or requirements, you could use vegan mayonnaise as an alternative.
Mayonnaise has the immediate advantage over butter of being easily spreadable, as soon as it is taken out of the refrigerator. This makes it a very practical alternative.
You need to spread just a small amount on your bread. If you use too much it can have quite an overpowering flavor.
In addition, mayonnaise has a higher smoke point than butter. This results in the outside of your bread having a crispier texture, hence making your grilled cheese sandwich more appetizing.
What could be tastier, especially if you’re a mayonnaise lover?
Here is another option that you might not have thought of. Here you need to beat one egg and then use it to coat all of the bread, before adding the cheese to it and grilling.
Some would say that this makes it similar to French toast. From a health perspective, using eggs as an alternative has many advantages.
Not only does it increase the protein content, but soaking the bread in an egg also allows the bread to absorb the omega 3 contained in the egg.
Omega 3 has several important functions, which include supporting the health of your heart, eyes, bones, brain and skin, to name a few. Omega 3 can also help to regulate your hormones and nervous system.
I’ve deliberately left the least healthy and arguably most tasty option till last. Using fat leftover from frying bacon can be an economical solution.
This also solves the problem of how to safely get rid of the fat from your frying pan, once you’ve finished cooking. You need to carefully coat your bread with the bacon fat, before adding the cheese and placing it on the grill.
If you’re a bacon lover, your grilled cheese sandwich will almost become a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. What a delicious brunch idea.
Whilst this might not be the preferred option for the health-conscious amongst us, everybody deserves a treat.
Making the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich
There are several tips that you can follow to make your grilled cheese sandwich even tastier.
Some of these are down to personal preference, such as the types of bread and cheese you choose to use, and whether you decide to use butter or one of the alternatives discussed.
However, there are several ways you can add to the whole taste sensation. For example, if you toast your bread first, it can make the finished product much crispier.
Also by ensuring that you have pre-heated your grill and by cooking on a low to medium heat, it’s easy to ensure that both the bread and cheese cook evenly throughout.
What You’ll Need
This is a recipe that works much better if you have access to a fully functioning grill. If you don’t have a grill, consider investing in one, such as the Tefal OptiGrill Elite.
Trust me, it will be a worthwhile purchase.
2. Sharp Knives
You will need a selection of sharp knives, both to cut the bread and cheese. A set of kitchen knives such as these Mercer Culinary knives can be a worthwhile purchase.
3. Cheese Grater
You might need a grater if you prefer to use grated cheese rather than sliced cheese.
4. Tongs or Heat-Resistant Gloves
For safety reasons, it’s a good idea to have some tongs or heat-resistant gloves handy when grilling.
How Long Will It Take to Cook a Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Ingredients Needed to Make Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Butter/Margarine/Mayonnaise/Bacon Fat/Oil or beaten Egg – about 1 tablespoon
- Bread of your choice – This is the main ingredient for your grilled cheese sandwich. You will need 2 slices of bread for the same, generally white regular bread is used to make sandwich.
- Cheese of your choice – It is the second main ingredient that adds complex sensation comprising aroma, creamy taste, and texture to the sandwich.
- Salt and Pepper – Add salt and pepper to the sandwich according to taste or preference. While salt helps enhance its overall taste pepper adds a little spicy flavor to it.
Topping Ideas (Optional)
When it comes to topping, the world’s your oyster and so much is down to a personal preference. Here are a few ideas that you could try.
- Tomatoes – Sliced tomatoes can upgrade your grilled cheese sandwich into something a bit more special.
- Bacon or Ham – Why not turn your grilled cheese sandwich into a Croque Monsieur?
- Onion – Add thin slices of either raw or cooked onion to tantalize your taste buds.
- Chutneys/Pickles – There’s a whole array of pickles and chutneys that you could experiment with. My personal favorite is Caramalised Onion.
- Mashed Avocado – The creamy texture will complement your cheese perfectly.
- Cooked Macaroni – You could turn your grilled cheese sandwich into a Mac n Cheese sandwich.
- Egg – Try this protein hit to make your sandwich into more of a meal.
- Apples – Add thin slices of crispy green apple to add a bit of crunch to your sandwich.
- Smoked Salmon – Top your cheese with slices of smoked salmon for a decadent treat.
- Pesto – Spoon on a dollop of pesto to give your sandwich a Mediterranean twist.
- Sauerkraut – Why not try something different for a real taste sensation.
- Grilled or fried mushrooms – These will work well with lots of cheeses, particularly Cheddar.
1st Step – Preheating
Preheat your grill to low to medium heat for 10 minutes.
2nd Step – Get your bread ready
Prepare your bread. Experiment with which type of bread works best. You could try any type of bread, or indeed a combination of different bread types if the thickness is approximately the same.
Whilst slices should be sturdy, they shouldn’t be too thick, cause it will make it harder for the cheese to melt.
3rd Step – Pre toast your bread
Add your butter or butter alternative. Spread thinly over one side of each slice of bread. You can skip this step if you’re short on time. However, it only takes a couple of minutes but can make a real difference.
Your finished toastie will be crispier.
4th Step – Add your cheese & Topping.
Again, this is down to personal preference, but it’s better to use a cheese that will melt easily, such as Cheddar or Gruyere. Other cheeses you could try include Monterey Jack or Gouda.
It’s better to avoid softer cheeses such as Feta, cause they don’t melt as well. Add your toppings if applicable
5th Step – Grill
Place on your grill and grill for two to three minutes on each side. As a general rule, it’s better to grill for slightly longer on low medium heat, to ensure that the bread and cheese cook evenly.
Serve up and enjoy 🙂