Vegan Grilled Cheese: Havarti, Roasted Tomato, Garlic, and Basil

 

Oh yes, this sandwich dripping with cheese is vegan!

The quality of plant-based cheese has thankfully improved dramatically since the turn of the century. We are getting to the point where the difference between a plant-based cheese and a dairy made cheese are getting pretty close.

The vegan cheese featured in this sandwich is the Jalapeno Garlic Havarti Daiya Wedge. This Daiya Havarti melts pretty well. It wouldn’t fool a dairy eater, but oh, it comes in pretty close. The Jalapeno is very mild and adds more flavor than heat.

I made this grilled Havarti with roasted vine tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Other brands of plant-based cheese I would recommend trying include Field Roast Chao Creamy Original and Follow Your Heart Pepperjack or Smoked Gouda.

 

 

For the bread, I found at the market a Pumpkin Seed Sage Boulet that was vegan. Sage and seeds sounded so good to me, and the pumpkin seeds just add more protein to the sandwich.

 

 

To make the roasted tomatoes:

  • Cut the tomatoes into slices. Dice some fresh basil leaves. Chop some garlic chunks.
  • Place on a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with some olive oil. Massage the oil into the ingredients. Add a couple pinches of sea salt.
  • Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 12 minutes at 400 degrees.




The butter I used was Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread. This flavor is my favorite of all the Earth Balance Buttery Spreads because it has a great buttery taste. Also, this spread is trans fat-free, vegan, and has no GMOs. I made toast for my folks using this spread and they didn’t know the difference.

A little secret to get the cheese to look gooey melted is to cook your grilled cheese sandwich in a pan on the stove top like you would a regular grilled cheese sandwich until the bread is a nice golden brown. Then put your sandwich on a plate and microwave it on high for like 10 seconds. If you microwave too long, the bread will start to get soggy and lose it’s crispy grilled texture.

Of course, I had to complete the sandwich experience with tomato soup. For ease, the soup is Whole Foods 365 brand organic Vegan Tomato soup in a can.

If you make this sandwich, take a photo, tag it #theflexi21 and share with the community on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @theflexi21.

 

Easy Farmers Market Vegetable Packed Flatbreads

 

Here’s a fun way to eat your veggies – flatbread! What you top your flatbread with is also another opportunity to go to the farmer’s market and get creative with what is in season. During summer, cherry heirloom tomatoes are a MUST I tell you because these beauties are packed with flavor and fun colors like these here.

 

Organic-heirloom-cherry-tomatoes

 

Here are some other summer vegetable ideas for toppings:

Shishito or Padron peppers

 

Shishito-Peppers

 

Organic summer squash. There are so many varieties. Have fun picking one.

 

Organic-squash-table

 

Squash blossoms. So pretty!

 

Squash Blossoms

Figs and sweet yellow peppers

 

Figs-Peppers-Tomatoes

 

See. The possibilities are endless for your pizza toppings. In fact, make it a party, invite friends over and make several flatbreads with different toppings.

This flatbread is so simple and fast to make. Here are the ingredients:

  • One piece of Naan or Pita bread (Naan looks more like traditional flatbread versus Pita, but most Pita is dairy and egg free. You can buy pre-made Naan too. Most in-store Naan is vegetarian containing ghee or here’s a recipe for vegan Naan from Vegan Richa)
  • 2 tbsps of pesto sauce (pre-made or I included  my easy pesto recipe below)
  • A choice of your favorite vegetable fixings. Get creative! In the flatbread I made above, it contains artichokes, black olives, mushrooms, chopped cherry tomatoes and red onions plus fresh herbs!
  • Your favorite fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil or oregano
  • Olive oil

 

Basket of Fresh Herbs

 

 

Veggie Flatbread Slices

 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 or get your grill going if you want to do the BBQ thing.
  • Layer the pesto sauce onto a piece of Naan.
  • Put your vegetable toppings into a small bowl and massage them with a little olive oil. The oil coating will help the veggies soften nicely while baking.
  • Spread the vegetable toppings onto your Naan. Toss some of the fresh herb on top.
  • Bake flatbread in the oven on a baking sheet, pizza stone or toss on the grill for 6-8 minutes depending on how crunchy you want your crust. Broil the top of your flatbread for 90 seconds just for a nice little top browning.

 

Fresh-basil-squash

 

Here is my recipe for creamy pesto sauce.

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or macademia nuts
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients together and blend until you have a nice creamy pesto sauce.

You can add some shaved parmesan or manchego to your pesto sauce but it really does not need cheese so you can keep the flatbread vegan.

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