Monday, June 24, 2013

Meatless Monday: Grilled Caprese Sandwiches

We love eating grilled cheese sandwiches. Ethan asks for them for dinner pretty often nearly every night, and in the winter, I love making them for him with some tomato soup for dipping. Yum! Now that it's summertime, tomato soup just doesn't seem right, so I decided to try something new and fresh. With our basil plants flourishing in the back yard, I have plenty of basil on hand to make pesto these days. So, I decided that some pesto and fresh tomato sounded great with our plain grilled cheese! It turned out even better than I could have imagined. Crisp, buttery toast on the outside, with creamy, melted mozzarella on the inside...garlicky pesto with the sweet tomato...a dream come true!

Grilled Caprese Sandwiches | more than 9 to 5: my life as "Mom"

Grilled Caprese Sandwiches
(makes 4 sandwiches)


  • Loaf of French bread, or 8 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
  • Butter, softened for spreading
  • Basil pesto (see recipe below)
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into ~6 slices
  • 1-8 ounce package fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 equal pieces
  • Balsamic vinegar, if desired

I love baking a fresh loaf of French bread to use for our grilled cheese sandwiches. I can crank one out in just over a couple of hours with the help of my bread machine (only ~10 minutes of hands-on time needed!), so it's something I can do earlier in the day to have ready for when it's time to make dinner.

When you're ready to start, slice your bread into slices as thin as you can get them, around 1/3 to 1/2" thick. Butter one side of each piece liberally. On the unbuttered side of four of the pieces, spread as much pesto as you desire over the entire piece. Top with 1 1/2 slices of fresh tomato, then top that with 2 slices of the fresh mozzarella.

Grilled Caprese Sandwiches | more than 9 to 5: my life as "Mom"

Take the piece of bread with the fillings on top and place it onto your preheated grill skillet (at medium-low to medium heat). Place the other piece of bread on top (buttered side up). Cook the sandwich for 3-5 minutes, or until golden browned. Flip the sandwich and cook the other side for a few additional minutes, or until golden browned, with the cheese melted inside. Serve while hot!

Grilled Caprese Sandwiches | more than 9 to 5: my life as "Mom"

You can also drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar on top of the mozzarella, if you wish, before putting on the top piece of bread. This was a tasty addition. I think next time I make these, I'll reduce the vinegar first, so it is thicker, and doesn't run as easily.

The basil pesto recipe I use is a delicious one that I found on my favorite food blog, Annie's Eats. I altered it slightly to include a bit more garlic, and I also thickened it a bit with more cheese. :) When I make it, I like to double the batch, so that I have plenty leftover to use in another meal that week!

Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper if needed.


Grilled Caprese Sandwiches | more than 9 to 5: my life as "Mom"

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