Buckle up, my friends, because today I’m taking a tried and true favorite — the grilled cheese — and revamping it by adding some simple but oh so tasty additions to elevate this classic sandwich without a ton of extra work. It’s fancy but not. Different but not too out there. Grownup-approved but still kid friendly.
I actually toyed with a handful of names for this recipe. Not-So-Basic-But-Still-Easy Grilled Cheese? Fancied-Up Grilled Cheese? Grownup Grilled Cheese? In the end I decided on sticking with the obvious: Pesto Grilled Cheese! Why? Because the pesto sauce combined with ooey gooey melted cheese and fresh, summery sliced tomatoes is what makes this sandwich come to life.
Our family is a grilled cheese-loving family. Growing up, my mom would make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch or dinner and pair them with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. As a kid this was one of my all-time favorite meals. It’s comfort food on a plate paired with comfort food in a bowl. What’s not to love? And in times like these, when life feels a little hectic, a little unpredictable and far from ordinary, I cannot help but appreciate nostalgic, comforting meals a little more.
Apparently I’ve passed my love for grilled cheese along to our boys because whenever they hear the sizzle of a slice of buttered bread hitting the skillet and see cheese slices on the counter, their eyes light up. Cheese + Butter + Bread. I mean how can you go wrong?
While we often keep things basic with a traditional grilled cheese sandwich at lunchtime, if dinner rolls around and grilled cheese is sounding good, I often have the desire to amp things up a bit in the flavor department. Pesto Grilled Cheese, you’re up!
To make this fun take on a traditional grilled cheese sandwich you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Bread: Preferably a fresh, crusty sourdough. We love Specially Selected Sourdough bread from ALDI. I also love the Simply Nature Organic Seeded Bread in this sandwich when I’m craving a little more texture. For the boys, I’m all about the Simply Nature Graintastic Thin-Sliced Organic Bread since it’s a bit smaller and more manageable for little hands and mouths.
- Pesto Sauce: Make your own if you’re feelin’ fancy or embrace a delicious shortcut in the form of jarred pesto sauce.
- Cheese: A combination of freshly grated Parmesan cheese + Colby Jack cheese give this sandwich the necessary ooey-gooey factor.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are having a moment right now. Grab a fresh, ripe one for this sandwich and enjoy in-season summer produce!
- Butter: Because what is grilled cheese without butter? Simply Nature Organic Butter is liiife.
- Marinara Sauce: Optional but highly recommended for dipping (and increasing the fun factor for kiddos)!
You know I grabbed all of these goodies from my beloved ALDI. Keepin’ the price low and the quality high for all the daysss!
In this sandwich, I used two different kinds of cheese which may initially seem a little odd to pair together at first but just trust me on this one, okay? Chase and Ryder have an obsession with Simply Nature Organic Colby Jack Cheese Slices and love them on burgers, in sandwiches, sliced into quarters with crackers… you name it! As it turns out, their love of the cheese is 100 percent warranted because I’m kind of addicted to it, too. It’s just sharp enough to have some edge but mild enough for our whole family to be all about it. Pair it with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese in this sandwich and be prepared to enter grilled cheese heaven!
Pesto Grilled CheesePrint
Pesto Grilled Cheese
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 12 minutes
- Yield: 1 sandwich
- Category: sandwiches
An ooey-gooey, oh so delicious take on a traditional grilled cheese sandwich. Serve this Pesto Grilled Cheese with a side of marinara for dipping!
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Spread half of the butter on one side of one slice of bread and flip over. Top the dry side of the bread with 1/2 of the pesto sauce, one slice of Colby Jack cheese, tomato slices, grated Parmesan cheese and the second slice of Colby Jack cheese. Place in the skillet.
- On the second slice of bread, spread butter on one side and the remaining pesto on the other side. Place the bread, pesto side down, on top of the slice of the bread already cooking in the skillet.
- Keep an eye on the sandwich, lowering the heat if necessary, and flip once, cooking until both sides of the bread are lightly browned and crispy and the cheese is melted.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two before slicing. Serve with a side of warm marinara sauce for dipping, if desired, and enjoy!
Keywords: pesto grilled cheese, grilled cheese, sandwich, pesto grilled cheese sandwich
Please let me know if you give this Pesto Grilled Cheese a try! I also appreciate it so much when you take the time to leave a rating on my recipes. It helps other people find and trust my recipes and I’m always very grateful!
Ha! This is on my meal plan for tonight. Mine is slightly different. I use pesto, sun dried tomatoes and provolone cheese. but really, i am not one to turn down any variation of a grilled cheese. 🙂
Oh I love your version!! I have some sundried tomatoes in a jar in our fridge that have been just sitting there since I needed them for a recipe about a week ago so I’ll have to try this one, too!
Um I just bought pesto yesterday so this seems like destiny. Helloooooo dinner plans.
yessss! love shortcut jarred pesto! it somehow makes dinner feel a little more special… even if it could not be any easier!
We have a jar of pesto in the pantry, so this will be made in our home soon!! I love a classic grilled cheese as well as one with some fun twists!
Sounds great for a quick and filling supper!
We always had grilled cheese with tomato soup when I was growing up and my kids enjoy it too.
something about a soup + sandwich can’t be beat!
This sounds fantastic! I <3 Aldi.
I’m ready to blow off work and run home to make this sandwich. It sounds perfect! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to try it.
haha! this comment made me laugh — really hope you like it, betsy!!
This looks perfect for a weekend lunch! Putting these ingredients on my pick-up order! Thanks for the idea, Julie!
Suchot - The Curious Frugal says
Yum! I love pesto as a salad dressing with romaine and croutons, and I’ve never had it in a grilled cheese sandwich. Trying!
i go through huge kicks with pesto where i want to put it on everything! i’ve also been loving it on eggs/egg sandwiches lately!
Super delicious. I used provolone cus that was what i had on hand. The hubs was happy having these for lunch so thats a win!
I have everything to make this and can’t wait. Thanks for the idea!