Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A great way to take advantage of fresh, local strawberries, this strawberry balsamic grilled cheese sandwich is an updated childhood classic meant for grownups. Don’t worry, it’s still wonderful comfort food!

I saw a similar recipe on social media and decided I had to try it.  They used blackberries, but I figured strawberries would work just as well, and I had just a few local summer strawberries left (since the season was delayed by wet weather).  The original post I saw didn’t specify what cheese to use.  The internet suggested a strawberry balsamic brie sandwich, but I didn’t have brie either.  So, I used smoked gouda instead. The gooey, melty, smoky gouda, the tart vinegar, and the sweet strawberries combine for a salty-sweet-tangy burst of flavor. Plus, some crunch from the grilled bread.

You can use the gouda, or brie, or probably any mild cheese that melts well for this. If you don’t have strawberries, use blackberries instead.  I made this with rye bread, but any crusty bread would work well. Ciabatta would likely be great (it makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches), because it absorbs the oil’s flavor and turns a beautiful golden brown without getting greasy.

There are lots of different opinions on how to grill cheese sandwiches (or toast them if you are in the UK).  Some butter the bread, others slather on mayonnaise (no  no no).  I prefer to just cook them in a mixture of butter and oil.  The oil has a higher smoking point than butter does (so it’s less likely to burn).  The butter adds extra flavor.




Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 11 minutes

Category: sandwich

Cuisine: American

one

Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

An old classic American sandwich with a new, updated twist. This is not kid stuff, this sandwich appeals to grownups, while keeping the best part of "comfort food."

Ingredients

  • 3-4 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons oil (you can use neutral oil or olive oil)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 slices crusty bread
  • 3-4 slices smoked gouda, brie, or other mild cheese

Instructions

  1. Put the sliced strawberries and the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl or ramekin. Stir to mix until the strawberries are coated.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a small frying pan on low-medium heat.
  3. Once the oil/butter mixture is hot, build your sandwich - bread, then the cheese, then the strawberry mixture, then the second slice.
  4. Add the sandwich to the pan and cook for a two or three minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for another two or three minutes.

Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese Sandwich Substitutions and Variations

  • use blackberries or raspberries instead of strawberries (blueberries might work too, but they’re harder to cut up)
  • try brie, goat cheese, or Monterey Jack instead of gouda
  • experiment with crusty breads such as ciabatta or a hearth loaf
  • toss in a few fresh basil leaves
  • add some black pepper to the strawberry/balsamic mixture

More Sandwich Recipes

Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person




Strawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

A strawberry basil mojito is cool, refreshing, and the perfect way to relax after a long, hot, summer day.  Much as I love standard mojitos, this version is even better.

The berries add extra sweetness, the basil adds freshness (and the whole combination just shouts “summer!”). Then you get the added sweet-sour citrus punch from the lime.

I use minimal sugar, particularly in June, when the strawberries are at their peak, but you can add more if you like it sweeter, or if the strawberries aren’t sweet enough.

Coating the edge of the glass with sugar and lime juice transforms your everyday mojito cocktail into something that looks like you got it at an upscale restaurant.

Pour your strawberry mojito into a tall glass, slice yourself some cheese, put out some crackers and olives and you have a party for one. Then, close your eyes and pretend you’re lounging on a soft, white beach surrounded by palm trees. Ahhhhhh.




Strawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Category: cocktail

Cuisine: American

one serving

Strawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

A refreshing summer cocktail with strawberries, rum, lime, and basil.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lime
  • 1 T sugar (add more if you prefer sweeter drinks or if the berries need it)
  • 5-6 strawberries
  • 2T white rum
  • 1/4C seltzer
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Run the edge of the fresh lime over a cocktail glass.
  2. Pour the sugar into a shallow dish, turn the glass over and coat the edge with sugar.
  3. Set the glass aside.
  4. If you have a stick blender, add strawberries, rum, the remaining sugar from the dish, seltzer, lime juice, and salt to the beaker. If not, use a standard blender.
  5. Blend everything together.
  6. Pour into a cocktail glass and add ice.
  7. If you want to be extra fancy, crush the ice in the stick blender before you add it. Stir it all up and you have an strawberry slushie for adults.

Notes

If you don't have strawberries, or just want some variety, you could use blueberries or raspberries instead of strawberries.

If you have more strawberries, use them to make strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing and feta cheese.

Ingredients and Tools for This Recipe


Cuisinart Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender

Use this to make your mojito, for smoothies, to make salad dressing, to puree soups, or for milkshakes.  The cleanup is minimal (just push a button and remove the part with the blades). It comes in lots of colors, so you can get one to match your kitchen.



Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Strawberry season has finally arrived! They’re wonderful just right out of the box, but much as I love strawberries, they’re not a complete meal.  This strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing and feta cheese is easy to make, delicious, and even healthy (all those greens and Vitamin C). And the colors look pretty too.  The tartness of the balsamic vinegar, and the saltiness of the feta cheese complements the sweetness of the strawberries. The almonds on top add a bit of extra crunch.

Since I wanted more veggies than just spinach, I added carrots, red cabbage, and tomatoes for extra color and more nutrition (I was trying to make up for indulging at a party!). The tomatoes were, sadly, flavorless, but I left them in the recipe since they’ll be better later in the year.

Make the dressing first, and let the flavors blend together while you fix the rest of the salad.

This is a great quick lunch or dinner. Just double the spinach, and add more tomatoes. You might want to increase the dressing recipe too (I like less dressing than most people).




 

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Category: lunch

Cuisine: American

one serving

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

Spinach and strawberry salad with balsamic dressing, feta cheese, and almonds

Ingredients

    Dressing!
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp minced onion
  • 1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    Salad!
  • 3 ounces spinach leaves (about a good handful), washed, dried, and torn into pieces
  • 1C strawberries, sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 red cabbage, sliced
  • 1/4 C feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1T ground almonds (or use slivered or whole almonds)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together.
  2. Prepare salad ingredients (except the almonds) and add to a large bowl.
  3. Toss the salad together and top with the almonds.
  4. Pour dressing over the salad

Tip: Try strawberries with just balsamic vinegar and some pepper (yes, I know it sounds odd, but I saw Mario Batali do it, and it works).

More Spinach Recipes

Blueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts

Sauteed Garlic Parmesan Spinach

Spinach and Feta Cheese Omelette

Bacon Spinach Tomato Aioli Sandwich Recipe