Weekdays call for ridiculously easy and delicious meals, like a mozzarella pesto grilled cheese sandwich.
Basil pesto and mozzarella cheese are a match made in heaven. The mozzarella cheese melts to perfection on this sandwich, while the pesto adds a new taste to this classic comfort food.
Plus, it is easy to make! All that you need is whole wheat bread, mozzarella cheese, pesto, softened butter, and 10 minutes.
This pesto grilled cheese is also healthier than a typical grilled cheese sandwich. It’s prepared using whole wheat bread, which is higher in fiber compared to white bread. Additionally, pesto grilled cheese has 450 calories and 22 grams of protein, making it a healthy and filling meal.
Is Grilled Cheese Healthy?
Yes, pesto grilled cheese is a healthy or at least “healthy-ish” meal.
You probably do not associate a grilled cheese sandwich with healthy foods, but I am here to tell you that pesto grilled cheese can fit with a balanced diet.
With about 450 calories in a pesto grilled cheese sandwich, this meal is not considered low calorie. However, it is also not high in calories, either.
However, mozzarella cheese provides 8 grams of protein in a one-ounce slice. Research has shown that a diet high in protein is associated with increased satiety, meaning that it may help you feel fuller (1, 2). Additionally, cheese is a good source of calcium and phosphorus. These are two essential minerals needed to build healthy bones.
This recipe also calls for whole wheat bread, which has more fiber than processed, white bread. Fiber is necessary for a healthy gut and slows the transit of food in the digestive system, meaning that it can help you feel full.
To cut back on the calories in this pesto grilled cheese, you can use low-fat mozzarella cheese. You can also pair this grilled cheese sandwich with a salad or vegetable soup to make a complete and well-rounded meal.
How to Make Mozzarella Pesto Grilled Cheese
Step 1. Prepare the pesto (or use store-bought to save time)
I use store-bought pesto to save time. It helps to make this a quick, 10-minute recipe and means fewer dishes to clean after the meal. If you prefer a homemade pesto, I included a simple basil pesto recipe that you can follow:
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until blended into a coarse paste.
2. Transfer to a bowl and pour in the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper.
3. Store leftover pesto in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for up to six months.
Step 2. Assemble the pesto grilled cheese sandwiches
To assemble the mozzarella pesto grilled cheese sandwiches, brush one side of each slice of bread with a teaspoon of butter. Then, brush the other side of the bread slices with pesto and top with the mozzarella cheese. Put the remaining piece of bread on top with the butter side facing up.
Place the sandwiches on a preheated skillet over medium heat and cover. Cook the sandwiches until the bread is toasted and cheese is melted, flipping once during the cooking process.
You can also make these sandwiches on a grill or using a panini press.
Step 3. Add optional ingredients
This grilled cheese sandwich is delicious on its own, but you may decide to add optional ingredients to take this recipe to the next level. Some ideas for additional sandwich components include:
Avocado: Mashed avocado makes an excellent addition to this pesto grilled cheese
Tomatoes: Try adding a tomato slice to your pesto sandwich
Spinach: Topping the mozzarella cheese with spinach will add vegetables to this meal
There you have it! Pesto grilled cheese. This pesto sandwich makes a great addition to your weekday menu plan. Try serving it with a vegetable soup or mixed green salad to create a delicious and balanced meal.
I would love to hear from you. Other than pesto grilled cheese, what are some other sandwiches that you love? Comment below and be sure to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest @biteoutoflife_nutrition
Pesto Grilled Cheese
- 4 slices of whole wheat bread
- 2 teaspoons softened butter
- 2 tablespoons of basil pesto
- 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat
- To assemble the sandwiches, brush one side of each slice of whole wheat bread with 1 teaspoon of butter. Brush the other side with basil pesto and top with sliced mozzarella cheese. Place the remaining slice of bread on top with the butter side facing up.
- Place the sandwiches on the preheated skillet and cover, flipping once, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted; about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Sat. Fat (grams)11.82