Not The Grilled Cheese of Your Childhood

Growing up, grilled cheeses were a staple in my family; the perfect, after school, non-junk food, quick snack. Maybe we’d add tomato or mustard; have it alone or with a bowl soup.

If you’re looking to mix it up a bit, own the grilled cheese for all its versatility. Mix up the tired old bread, butter, and American cheese…oh, and do it totally vegan.


    • 2 Thick wheat cut bread (If you’re piling a lot on, as I did, you’ll want thicker bread. I’d actually bought a loaf from Whole Foods with tartines in mind, but I wanted a really comfort food.)
    • 1 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter (The buttery sticks are now a staple for me, so I love it when Whole Foods has them on sale. Love it!)
    • 2 slices Tofutti Mozzarella Cheese (You can use any kind of vegan cheese you want, but I find that this brand melts really well.)
    • 3 tsps Dijon Mustard (I went for the Walmart brand, rather than the more well-known Grey Poupon, because it doesn’t contain sugar.)
    • 1 Boca Chick Patty (My favorite brand of meatless chick patties is actually Food For Life’s Cluckphrey patties, but Boca are also now egg-free.)
    • 2 to 4 Slices of Portabella Mushrooms

    Spread the vegan butter on two slices of bread, then place them in the pan, buttered side down. Squeeze the Dijon Mustard on the inside and spread, if desired. Top the mustard with a slice of vegan cheese on both sides.

When I add a chick patty to the sandwich, I cook it in the microwave, then put it on the sandwich. The heated patty can also help melt the cheese.

Add the chick patty on one side, then close the sandwich.

Flip occasionally.

In the meantime, spread a small amount of butter directly on the pan, place on the mushrooms. Press down, flipping occasionally, also.

If you grill these up right, you can get the vegan cheese to melt up and be as creamy as any dairy cheese. Keep them on low heat. The key is patience.

I don’t really want to give a time, but it took me about 4 or 5 minutes to get my mushrooms as tender and darkened as I wanted them. When the mushrooms are as tender as you like them, scoop them up with a spatula, open the sandwich and slide them on.

Use the spatula to press the contents back together, continuing to flip occasionally. When the bread is as toasted as you like it, plate and enjoy.

Note: if you make this sandwich just as I did, this is a meal. It’ll pack up to 650 calories.


3 thoughts on “Not The Grilled Cheese of Your Childhood

  1. Boca chik patties are so good! I’ve never tried Cluckphrey patties before. The Boca ones just remind me of childhood because my family was obsessed with the non vegan ones. Boca trumps that any day. Haha.

    1. For the longest time I favored Morningstar Farms’ patties because they were 20 calories less per patty. I’d grown so used to them that I never challenged their ingredients. In the last 6 months, I realized that they have eggs in them. I’m still a vegetarian, so that should be fine, but I try much more to go vegan when I can. The Cluckphrey were an item I found at a market in Lower Manhattan one night, but I believe they are spreading to Whole Foods. They’re much softer than a Morningstar Farms’ or Boca patty, but I love their taste and they have only 120 calories a patty versus 140 or 160. If you grew up with Weaver’s, I believe is the meat brand, Boca will probably still be your style, but Cluckphrey is worth a try.

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