This is one seriously delicious, garlicky-pesto and avocado combination! The pictures don’t do it justice but it really is a sandwich you’re going to want to eat over and over again.
Tomorrow is National Grilled Cheese Day, but if you’re like me, it’s not the cheese you miss; it’s that satisfied feeling you have after eating certain foods that mentally conjure up memories and thoughts around comfort foods. It’s definitely a mental thing for me. Sometimes it makes me wonder if my most favourite classics, such as grilled cheese, should be veganized at all, but then again, there is this. “This”, is an alternative plant-based grilled greens sandwich that is every bit as yummy and comforting as the classic grilled cheese. No need to veganize anything. This pesto-greens combo is so satisfying and delicious and will obliterate any mental anguish you have over giving up cheese! You won’t feel like you’re missing out at all. Not even a little.
The pesto provides the awesome flavour and the avocado provides a satisfying creaminess in every bite ( the comforting nature) but the sandwich works well with almost any greens you happen to have on hand. So, be creative and use up your leftovers!
You will need a good quality non-stick pan to grill these without the use of oil or fat. I used my ceramic nonstick GreenPan. It is coated with thermolon, which is considered safer than Teflon, especially at higher heats. High heat is thought to break down the nonstick coating, which can cause the release of toxic particles and/or gases. (Regular use of high heat may also shorten the nonstick function of these pans). For a mid-range priced pan, I find that the GreenPan works really well for frying without added fats or oils. (FYI, I am not paid to advertise nor am I affiliated with any of the manufacturers of the brands or products I mention on my blog).
- 1/2 cup kale, spinach, or a combination of both, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, stems and leaves, packed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled, cut in half
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced (optional)
- Handful of mixed greens (arugula, collard greens, spinach, sprouts)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Your choice sandwich bread
Make the pesto first.
Add the basil and spinach to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped. Add in the pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice. Blend or process until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mixture doesn’t have to be completely smooth – a little texture is nice. Pesto keeps well, refrigerated for several days in the refrigerator.
Rub the outside of your sandwich bread with half a clove of garlic, followed by the cut side of a small onion. This adds flavour and helps to replace the need for butter or oil in the frying pan.
Spread pesto sauce on the inside of both slices of bread. Top with thinly sliced avocado, tomatoes – if using, mixed greens and the other slice of bread, gently pressing the sandwich together.
Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Place sandwiches, rubbed side down in the pan and cook until toasted, fragrant and nicely golden on each side. Depending on how toasted you want your bread, this will only take a couple of minutes each side.
So, why wait for national Grilled cheese day? Make this sandwich any old day and serve it along side Cream-less, creamy tomato soup. How classic is that combination?