My little brother used to think grilled cheese was pronounced girl cheese, and he always insisted that my mother make sure his sandwich was a boy cheese. I guess as someone with three older sisters, he had enough dumb girls in his life that he certainly didn’t need any girl cheeses too.
Anyway – I recently came across a grilled cheese sandwich recipe that I’m completely in love with because it not only makes the sandwich taste better, it makes it healthier too. The recipe I use is an adaptation of this recipe by Tina Haupert, whose blog Carrots ‘n Cake is one I read all the time.
White Bean Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Prosciutto
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 slices whole-grain bread
- Baby spinach
- Swiss & parmesan cheese (I used this combo, but I think a sharp cheddar and/or Gruyere might actually taste better)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Puree beans, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and thyme in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread a thin layer of bean mixture on both sides of each sandwich. Top one side with cheese, followed by 1 piece of prosciutto, and a few spinach leaves. Place second piece of bread on top, bean-side down. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until first side of sandwich is brown. Flip sandwiches, turn heat to low, and cover skillet until second side is brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes longer.
We ate our sandwiches with a fresh tomato-mint salad.
The thyme-y white bean spread adds a kind of grown up earthy sophistication to these simple sandwiches. The best part, though, is that you can put in about half as much cheese as you otherwise would need because the bean spread tricks you into thinking you’re dealing with something oozier and cheesier than you really are.
I used a combination of swiss and parmesan cheeses, which turned out pretty well. I think next time I’d use something a bit sharper, though, like old cheddar or Gruyere.
Overall, though, it was a crunchy, gooey, satisfying dinner.