Recipe Makeover: Vegan Grilled Cheese

Ok, so here’s the deal.  I don’t just chew on leaves of kale and sip lemon water all day every day, even though I know some of you have this idea of that as my ideal vegan nutritionist’s diet.  Nopers.  I mean, sure, I drink lemon water (nearly) every morning, and I definitely gnaw on some raw kale every day (by gnaw I mean blend, dress, crispify – the list of things I do to kale is endless).  But I also love (love) a good cup of coffee, and sometimes I crave grilled cheese.  So, I drink a delicious coffee when I want it, but I make sure it’s worth it, I make sure I appreciate it, and I’m not just going through the motions out of mindless habit.  If I have an awesome hemp latte or espresso shot and really take the time to savour it, it’s an occasion. I’ve had my treat, and I’m satisfied.  If I have it just cuz that’s what I always do and I’m less aware of what I’m doing, I’m a lot more likely to be unsatisfied and want more more more.  Just like being satisfied and grateful for anything in our lives, it’s all about awareness.  Heavy shit just to get to a grilled cheese, am I right?!  Work with me here, people.

I’ve had a hankering for a few days now, and decided today was my day to indulge. Crispy bread, warm oozy vegan cheese.  Oh yes, my friends.  Thursday afternoon was vegan grilled cheese day!

Now, I sure wouldn’t eat this every day, but compared to a grody grilled dairy cheese on average bread slathered in butter, what I’ve got going on here is seriously healthy, seriously cruelty free, seriously awesome, feel-good comfort food, not feel-guilty sketch-o-rama “comfort” food.

A few things to note:

I toasted my sammich in organic, extra virgin coconut oil.  This stuff’s amazing.  It has a really high smoke point, meaning you probably won’t burn the oil, which is common with olive, sunflower and many other common cooking oils.  Burning an oil turns it rancid, changing the structure of the fatty acids and making otherwise healthy fats damaging to cells. Coconut oil is my go-to cooking oil, and I highly recommend it.  I love the taste, but if you find it too coconut-y go for virgin oil instead of extra virgin, it’s a bit less scented.  In the grilled cheese, it’s totally buttery tasting and delish.  On top of this, coconut oil is mostly medium-chain fatty acids, easily burned by the body as energy instead of being stored as fat.  Coconut oil also has a slightly thermogenic effect, meaning it increases body temperature and metabolism, actually burning fat instead of storing fat!  Whoa.

As for the bread, I grabbed a loaf of Silver Hills sprouted wheat Squirrelly.  I like to limit my gluten-containing grain intake to one or two (or none) times a week, so when I go for a store bought bread I always choose sprouted grain.  Sprouting makes the grains more easily digestible and the nutrients more bioavailable.  This translates into a happier tummy and digestive system and more bang for your buck, so to speak, in terms of nutrient content.  Awesome.  I’m also a huge fan of Silver Hill’s “Squirrelly” bread because it doesn’t contain cane sugar or soy, like so many other “healthy” breads.  If you can’t find Silver Hills (made in BC, they’re all over Western Canada and tons of stores here in Toronto too), Ezekiel is another brand of sprouted grain products you may have noticed.

Every once and a while when I want a grilled cheese, I’ll make my own gooey cheese sauce, but mostly I just grab a pack of the new(ish) vegan wonder, Daiya Cheese.  It melts and…it melts, and tastes cheesy.  Daiya is one of the only processed vegan foods I would actually recommend.  I’m not a big fake meat and cheese vegan, but this guy’s a winner.  I’m pretty sure if this had existed in the mid ’90s, I would have been a vegan since then.  This is a glorious vegan future we’re living in, guys.  Srsly.

Anyway.  Does everyone know how to make a killer amazeballs crispy grilled cheese sammich?  Let’s talk method!

Best Vegan Grilled Cheese

2 slices sprouted grain bread
1/3 cup Daiya cheese shreds
coconut oil
few slices red onion, tomato, or peppers

Heat up a skillet over low-medium.  Slather slices of bread with coconut oil.  Place one slice coconut oil down in skillet, top with half of Daiya.  Add onion, tomato, peppers, or any other fave grilled cheese toppings.  Top with remainder of cheese and second bread slice, coconut oil side out.  Cook sandwich about 4-5 minutes on each side, until brown and crispy, and cheese melted.




This would be amazing with a side of kale chips.  Just sayin’.