The Vegetarian Antipasto Grilled Cheese Sandwich — when you really want grilled cheese without a ton of guilt! Loaded with veggies and two kinds of cheese, it’s packed with flavor and soul-filling comfort.
This recipe is part of the Cozy Mystery Cooking Club series. Visit the club page for more bookworm inspired recipes and to find out how to join!
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you (thank you!). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Antipasto Grilled Cheese Stuffed with Veggies
We are reading the first in the Grilled Cheese Mystery series, “Up to No Gouda” and it is delightful on many levels. First, the book choice was totally self-serving. I mean…grilled cheese!
The story and character development is just right, especially for the first in a series. And…the sandwich names are everything! Get this…Farmhouse Cheddar Sleeps with the Fishes is a tuna melt! Makes me giggle.
Anyway…in coming up with my grilled cheese for this read, I turned to an old favorite appetizer — Bobby Flay’s Grilled Antipasto with Gorgonzola Crostini. I love making this huge platter of grilled veggies to serve at parties. It’s a great ‘help yourself’ dish that guests can customize.
I made a few tweaks for the sandwich version including the addition of a second cheese! Not gonna lie…it’s a little on the gooey, messy side, so grab some napkins before you dig in! But, it’s totally worth it.
Ingredients for an Antipasto Grilled Cheese
- The veggies — thin slices of zucchini, ripe tomato and roasted red bell pepper from a jar.
- The cheeses — creamy gorgonzola for a punch of flavor and sliced provolone for some good meltability.
- The bread — select something sturdy to hold up against the moisture in the veggies. Any hearty, country-style bread is good. I went with an Italian country loaf.
- Other goodies — honey (a classic combo for blue cheeses, and it’s delish in this sammy), salted butter and olive oil (used together to add flavor while toasting the bread).
Let’s Make Grilled Cheese!
- Spritz the pan with a little cooking spray and heat it over medium heat. Cook the zucchini and tomato slices for just a minute on each side so they are warmed through. While they cook, season with salt + pepper. There’s no need to warm the red bell pepper since it’s already soft and pliable…unless you really want to. Wipe out the pan before you toast the sandwiches.
- For each sandwich, spread softened gorgonzola on the bottom slice of bread and drizzle with some honey. Next, layer on tomato, zucchini, bell pepper, then provolone cheese. Top it with the other slice of bread.
- Melt the butter with olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Work in batches if necessary, using only enough butter and olive oil for the number of sandwiches you’re working with. Toast the sandwich on one side (about 2 to 3 minutes), then flip and continue cooking until the second side is golden brown and the provolone is gooey. Remove to a cutting board and cut in half to serve.
A Few Helpful Tips and Substitutions
- If you want to substitute any of the vegetables, think about what veggies can be sliced easily for sandwiches. Summer squash, eggplant, and onions come to mind. Leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula would be really great, too.
- For softer, smaller veggies (like artichoke hearts), I recommend placing them on top right under the provolone. As the provolone melts, it’ll ‘grab’ on to those smaller bits and help hold them in place.
- I get that blue cheese is not everyone’s favorite. Use all provolone, or sub in goat cheese, fresh mozzarella or any other cheese you like.
- Instead of honey, try a drizzle of balsamic glaze!
Grilled Cheese Fans, Check These Out!
- Onion Ring + Bacon Grilled Cheese (with Zesty Sauce)
- Tomato + Artichoke Two-Cheese Panini with Pesto Aioli
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Ricotta, Chicken + Fig
- Kimchi Grilled Cheese
Vegetarian Antipasto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- cooking spray
- 1 small zucchini cut into long slices, then halved
- 1 large tomato sliced
- 8 slices Italian bread or other hearty country style bread
- 4 oz gorgonzola cheese softened
- 4 tsp honey
- 1 roasted red bell pepper (from jar) cut into strips
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spritz with a little cooking spray. Cook the zucchini for a minute on each side, seasoning with a little kosher salt and black pepper while it's in the pan. Remove to a plate. Repeat this step with the tomato slices. Wipe out the pan.
- For each sandwich, spread 1 oz of softened gorgonzola on the bottom slice, then drizzle with 1 tsp of honey. Top that with tomato, zucchini, bell pepper and provolone. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread.
- Melt salted butter and olive oil together in the large skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet, working in batches if necessary. Once toasted on the first side, carefully flip the sandwich over and finish toasting.
- Remove to a cutting board, and cut each sandwich in half.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only.