Recipe: Cheesy Vegetable Melts

Recipe: Cheesy Vegetable Melts

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Kelli Foster
Apr 5, 2017
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

These veggie melts answer the call for easy comfort food after you've had one of those days. You know the kind — when you want something nourishing but also a little indulgent. Since they're stuffed with a mess of sautéed vegetables and melted cheese, and treated to a swipe of tangy spread, these melts deliver the familiar comfort you love from a grilled cheese, while using those vegetables hanging out in the crisper for a veggie-packed meal.

A Template for Great Veggie Melts

Like many sandwiches, the success of really great veggie melts hinges on a template, rather than a recipe. Get this part down and the options for making this cheesy sandwich your own are nearly endless. It all boils down to four key components. You can put these together with whatever veggie, bread, and cheese you like and make all the sandwiches at once in the oven.

Bread + Dijonaise + Sautéed Veggies + Grated Cheese

The Veggies

This recipe relies on a blend of tender asparagus, meaty mushrooms, bell pepper strips, and wilted kale for the bulk of the sandwich. Together they make for a mix of crispy, soft, and chewy textures, although this isn't the only combination that works for a vegetable melt sandwich. Use the veggies you have on hand, or swap in any of your favoritess. Just be sure to sauté them before they go on the sandwich to season them and remove any excess water.

The Cheese

The same goes for the cheese. Gouda, which is used here, melts like a dream and has a warm, nutty aroma that pairs well with the freshness of the veggies and tanginess of the spread. If you're planning to swap it for a different cheese, be sure to choose one with good meltability. Monterey Jack, fontina, cheddar, or mozzarella are all good choices.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

The Spread That Makes This Sandwich Sing

What makes these sandwiches so special is the spread that brings everything together. A simple Dijonaise mixed together with nearly equal parts mayonnaise and whole-grain mustard is spread on the inside of each slice of bread. The spicy tang balances the richness of the cheese, and that extra hit of flavor makes the vegetables pop just a little bit more.

Weeknight Veggie Dinners

Ready to help your family eat even more veggies? Of course you are. Us too! This week we're sharing family-friendly vegetarian recipes that will show you the ease and versatility of including a meat-free night in your meal plan. These dinners are easy to pull together on busy weeknights and will satisfy adults and kids alike.

Cheesy Vegetable Melts

Serves 4

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
8 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups shredded kale leaves (about 6 ounces)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices sourdough bread (from a 9-inch round boule)
1 1/2 cups grated Gouda cheese

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, place a baking sheet on the rack, and heat to 450°F.

Stir together the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and bell pepper, season with the salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to become tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the kale and garlic, and cook until the kale is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Spread the butter evenly on one side of each of the bread slices, then spread the Dijonaise on the other side.

Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven. Place all the bread slices, butter-side down, on the baking sheet. Evenly distribute the sautéed vegetables over 4 of the slices, then evenly sprinkle the cheese over the vegetables. Four slices of the bread will be without toppings

Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the bread slices with the vegetables to a cutting board. Top with the remaining bread slices, Dijonaise-side down. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Make ahead: The Dijonaise spread can be made 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. The vegetables can be sautéed up to 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature or reheat on the stovetop before assembling the melts.
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