Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

published Apr 9, 2021
Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

This Mediterranean-inspired grilled cheese is loaded with garlicky spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized lemon, and two kinds of cheese.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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spinach and feta grilled cheese on a plate
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

When the viral TikTok feta pasta took the internet (and everybody’s kitchens) by storm, I think the biggest aha moment for me was that feta cheese can and should be enjoyed warm. And sure, it’s great in that pasta dish. But you know what’s even better? This spinach and feta grilled cheese.

Inspired by classic Mediterranean flavors, this vegetarian sandwich is packed with caramelized lemon slices, fresh herbs, tangy feta, and roasted red peppers. If you love spanakopita, this sandwich is right up your alley.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Constructing the Ultimate Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

The bread: I like a ciabatta loaf because it’s nice and sturdy, but you can also use individual ciabatta rolls or slices of sourdough.

The cheeses: I recommend buying a whole block of feta because it stays fresh for longer and it’s more cost-efficient. As for the second cheese, I like mozzarella; it offsets the feta’s sharp saltiness and tanginess and gives the sandwich its quintessential cheese pull. Swap in any melty cheese you like, such as Havarti, Gouda, or Monterey Jack.

The lemon: Whole slices of lemon (skin and pith included) add a subtle, caramelized bitterness that plays well with the rest of the sandwich. Just make sure you give the lemon a nice rinse before cooking it since you’ll be eating the skin.

The spinach: Eight cups of spinach might seem like a lot, but everyone knows how much this stuff cooks down. Add it to the skillet in batches, if needed.

The roasted red peppers: These bright beauties add heartiness to the sandwich, and lend sweet, smoky flavor to every bite.

Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

This Mediterranean-inspired grilled cheese is loaded with garlicky spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized lemon, and two kinds of cheese.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (about 14-ounce) loaf

    ciabatta bread, or 4 ciabatta rolls

  • 1

    small lemon

  • 2

    medium shallots

  • 4 large cloves

    garlic

  • 2 tablespoons

    fresh oregano leaves

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 10 ounces

    baby spinach (about 8 packed cups)

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 ounces

    feta cheese

  • 8 ounces

    sliced low-moisture mozzarella cheese, divided

  • 1 (12-ounce) jar

    roasted red peppers

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat the oven to broil on high. Meanwhile, prepare the sandwich filling.

  2. Slice the ciabatta(s) in half lengthwise. Thinly slice 1 small lemon and remove any seeds. Thinly slice 2 medium shallots and 2 large garlic cloves. Drain and thinly slice 1 jar roasted red peppers. Pick the leaves off fresh oregano sprigs until you have 2 tablespoons.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the lemon slices in a single layer and sear until dark golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and caramelized lemon, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Add 10 ounces baby spinach and 1/4 cup water, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Toss until the spinach is almost wilted, about 2 minutes. Crumble in 8 ounces feta cheese with your hands and toss until the feta is warmed through and starting to melt, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl (reserve the pan).

  6. Place the ciabatta(s) cut-side up on a baking sheet. Broil until golden brown and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide 4 ounces of the sliced mozzarella cheese onto the bottom halve(s) of the bread. Divide and spread the spinach mixture evenly over the mozzarella. Top with the red peppers and remaining 4 ounces mozzarella. Close the sandwiches with the top halve(s) of the bread.

  7. Wipe out the reserved skillet. Cut the sandwich in half if needed to fit into the skillet. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sandwich(es). Cover (it’s ok if the lid doesn’t fit perfectly, as long as it is partially covering the sandwich) and cook until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted, occasionally gently pressing down on the sandwich(es) with a rubber spatula, about 5 minutes per side.

  8. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut the loaf into 4 sandwiches. Serve immediately.