A grown-up grilled cheese sandwich that redefines the classic comfort food. With a kick of spice this Gluten-Free & Vegan Harissa Grilled Cheese is top-8 allergy-free, packs in the flavor, and veggies! An easy lunch or dinner recipe for when you don’t want to “cook”!
Before I start rambling, I have a serious question. Why is it called “GRILLED” cheese? During all of my 21 years of life, I have never seen someone actually grill a grilled cheese sandwich on a grill. It’s always pan-fried on the stove. Unless, that is…you’re supposed to make it on a grill pan? All it takes to answer that question is a quick Google search and the top result for “Why is a grilled cheese sandwich called grilled cheese?” comes from the snarky Cook’s Info and states, “And, the sandwich is not actually “grilled” — the term grilled there is partly an anachronism from the sandwich’s evolution, and partly from today’s confusion in the American mind over what a “grill” versus a “griddle” is (see the entry on Grill.) Grilled Cheese Sandwiches really should be called “fried cheese sandwiches” or “griddled cheese sandwiches” — but it’s far too late to try make the correction now.”
It’s good to know I’m the only one seeking answers to life’s biggest queries. I guess silly American’s are always twisting words and such to fit our needs! The grilled cheese is such an American classic though, is it not? A greasy grilled cheese sandwich with some tomato soup is just another definition of comfort food for so many people. I say “so many people” because I HATED grilled cheese growing up! My mom always wanted to make it for me (she loved it), but my brother and I just did not find it even remotely appealing. Go figure, not all cheese and carbs are made equal.
The fact that I didn’t like tomato soup wasn’t helping the cause either. Low-and-behold, Right before I went dairy-free and then was diagnosed with celiac disease as well, I gave grilled cheese a try again and fell in love! I would ask for it daily, but like I said, that was a short-lived love affair. My mom would be eating her grilled cheese alone again. Tastes do change so always give things another chance even if you think you won’t enjoy it!
I’m still not a fan of tomato soup, nor a fan of soup in general, but the classic accompaniment to a grilled cheese is a bowl of the red stuff. Giving this a little thought, why not use one of my favorite red sauces (besides ketchup)? HARISSA to the rescue! A 100% grown-up version of grilled cheese now. Spicy and sophisticated, and of course gluten-free, vegan, allergy-free, and just a bit healthier (with have carrots and zucchini packed in there!)
So I’m thinking this new take on the classic “fried” cheese sandwich will have your comfort food cravings satisfied while still being a bit trendy with that Moroccan harissa kick! No need to dirty a pot for the tomato soup either! That, my friends, is a delicious “lazy” win for those nights when you just want to “Netflix and chill”, as the kids say.
Gluten-Free + Vegan Harissa Grilled Cheese
- Spread 1 tablespoon of harissa and the minced garlic on on slice of the bread and then layer on the cheese, shaved carrot, zucchini slices, and parsley.
- Spread the last tablespoon of harissa on the last slice of bread and place that on top to close the sandwich.
- Heat a greased cast iron skillet (or pan) over medium heat and cook your sandwich for about 3-5 minutes on each side.
- Serve with more harissa for dipping, if desired.
In all its non-grilled glory, this harissa grilled cheese will be your new favorite gluten-free and vegan sandwich hands-down. If my mom had had even the most remote idea of what harissa was when I was a little kid and she made grilled cheese this way? I would have gobbled it up! I LOVED spicy food (I still do, it just doesn’t love me!)
So tell me:
+ Grilled cheese and tomato soup? Yay or nay?
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