Here is a killer grilled cheese recipe, your mouth will be watering for just at the very thought of it! This is a sandwich that will boost your grilled cheese game into a different echelon.
Pesto Grilled Cheese is a gooey grilled cheese recipe featuring Jarlsberg cheese, roasted red peppers, pesto, and pine nuts on tangy sourdough bread!
I’ve been asked about Jarlsberg cheese a lot… so let me answer this question right off the bat. Jarlsberg cheese hails from Vestfold County in Norway and was developed by Swiss cheesemakers, but is not Swiss cheese. I repeat this is NOT Swiss cheese.
While it might resemble Swiss with it’s large “eyes” or holes, it is only similar in that it comes from the same general region of the world. It is a part-skim cow’s milk cheese with a sweet, nutty, buttery flavor.
Add the fact that it melts beautifully, tastes magnificent cold, and looks gorgeous on a cheese tray, and you have got a winner.
Although the flavor here is different from Swiss, if you are partial to it, Swiss can certainly be used as a substitution for Jarlsberg.
Onto another question you may be asking yourselves, is this technically a pesto panini or is it, in fact, a grilled cheese?
Honestly, I’m not sure. There are some grilled cheese purists that might argue that real grilled cheese is pan-fried, but I don’t really care.
I am calling this thing a grilled cheese and that is the end of it. All you need to know is that it is delicious. Whether you want to call it a flavor-packed vegetarian panini or a gourmet grilled cheese, it is a fabulous nonetheless!
What is pesto? It is a sauce originating in Genoa made up of crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, parmesan cheese and pecorino sardo blended together with olive oil.
Of course, many folks are allergic to tree nuts, so many pestos are made without nuts too.
For this recipe, you can make your own roasted red peppers or pesto, but storebought will also do. Fresh pesto will give you a brighter greener flavor and allow you to personalize, while storebought will save you precious time if you need it. And some days, we all do, so do what works best for you!
I used thick-cut sourdough bread, but Italian is a great substitution if you want to switch it up. Both are hearty enough to give you good bite and not “sog out” from all the delicious fillings.
Serve this with a bowl of piping hot tomato soup on a cold day or with a bowl of gazpacho if it is hot out. You can even cut it into strips and serve it as an appetizer at your next party. Who can say no to grilled cheese in finger food form? Exactly – no one!
If you loved this vegetarian panini, make sure you check out these other easy panini recipes:
- Bacon, Pear and Fig Panini
- Dulce de Leche Dessert Panini
- Italian Chicken Panini
- Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
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Pesto Grilled Cheese
- Heat panini press or large skillet. Coat with cooking spray
- Butter one side of each piece of bread. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on the opposite side of 4 pieces of bread. Build sandwich with roasted red peppers, pine nuts and Jarlsberg® cheese. Top with a buttered slice of bread, buttered sides face out.
- Place sandwich in panini press, applying pressure for a nice buttery crust. If preparing in a skillet, press down with a spatula.
- Remove, cut in half and serve with tomato soup or gazpacho.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!