Strawberry Avocado Grilled Cheese
I used to hate grilled cheese. I know…sue me, judge me, say what you must. But growing up, grilled cheese always meant two pieces of white bread sandwiching a thick slab of Velveeta, melted into a weird, pseudo-cheese thing.
And it wasn’t until I grew up and moved off to college that I 1) learned to cook for myself and 2) learned that grilled cheese is pretty okay after all. Maybe it’s a rite of passage into adulthood, but one does not simply go to college and not live off grilled cheese sandwiches for at least a month.
In this time of grilled cheese exploration, I discovered the fascinating world of non-boring grilled cheeses. Anything could make a grilled cheese sandwich! Whatever I (or my roommates) happened to have in the refrigerator. Pesto/spinach/mozzarella, blueberry/balsamic, leftover mac n’ cheese…everything was game, I tell you. Well thank the heavens I discovered that grilled cheese is not, in fact, the worst food known to man, because that discovery eventually led me to this Strawberry Avocado Grilled Cheese.
This grilled cheese sandwich had a lot of tasty components. Let’s talk about ‘em.
Fresh Mozzarella: Today we’re using a fresh ball of mozzarella! We’ll cut it into thick slabs for beautiful melted cheesy perfection. But here’s the thing, you’ll want to strain it first, and I learned this the hard way. The first time I made this grilled cheese, I threw a few slabs of mozzarella on, squashed it in our panini press, and assumed I’d get a nice, perfect grilled cheese…wrong. Fresh mozzarella, while being the epitome of yum, is very very moist. And that moist will make it’s way out of the cheese and into your bread if you don’t prepare it correctly, making for a sad, soggy sandwich. But there’s a simple fix! Cut your mozzarella into slabs and set them on a few layers of paper towels, then dab the mozzarella with more paper towels to get out the excess moisture. Let them sit for about 20 minutes to really get them dry, then prepare your grilled cheese as usual. The results are night and day!
Strawberries: You may be wondering if fruit on a savory grilled cheese could actually taste good. The answer: yes. These give a refreshing sweetness that we’ll balance out with balsamic vinegar and some seasoning.
Balsamic Vinegar: Like I said, we need to balance out those sweet strawberries! The balsamic brings in a deep, tart flavor that ties everything together perfectly.
Basil: Because basil is summer perfection, and because my thumb has finally turned green in the form of an overgrown herb garden, it screams to be included in this grilled cheese!
Because I live in the Netherlands where people adore mayonnaise, the tulip-man requested a dipping sauce for this grilled cheese. If you too have a mayonnaise/dipping sauce-lover at your table, you can whip up a quick dip by combining 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise.
Strawberry Avocado Grilled Cheese
- 4 slices of bread
- 2 Tbsp olive oil 30 mL
- ½ avocado thinly sliced
- 3 strawberries thinly sliced
- 8 ¼ inch slices fresh mozzarella cheese about 200 g
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar* 15 mL
- A few basil leaves
- Pinch each of salt and pepper
- Let's get the extra moisture out of your mozzarella first. Cut the mozzarella into slices and place them on a few layers of paper towels. Dab each slice to remove excess moisture, and allow them to sit for about 20 minutes before you make your sandwich.
- Brush olive oil onto one side of each piece of bread.
- Onto two of your slices of bread, layer on mozzarella cheese, strawberries, and avocados, being sure to keep the olive oil-coated side facing outward.
- Drizzle with balsamic, add a few basil leaves, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
- Top with the other slice of bread and cook on a skillet or in a panini press over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes, until brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.
Notes*I love Giuseppe Giusti Balsamic Vinegar. You can buy it online here.
For a quick dipping sauce, combine 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar with 1 Tbsp mayonnaise. Cut your grilled cheese in half and dip away!
Healthy Foods Online sent me a few of their products to try out, including the balsamic vinegar used in this recipe. It’s some of the highest quality balsamic I’ve come across, and it’s delivered straight to your door. What’s not to love? I originally published this recipe on Savory Style!