This sandwich takes grilled cheese to a whole new level. It is almost like lasagna without all the fuss.
I did test it with both the plant based filling and the cheese filling and both are delicious. I was surprised when I dry fried the sandwiches that is worked so well, so whatever dietary lifestyle you follow this sandwich is right for you. Following a Keto diet? Use full fat dairy and fry them in oil or butter. Following vegan or plant based diet? Use the vegetarian option and fry in either oil or dry fry.
I really loved dipping them in hot marinara sauce, but they are wonderful without it too.
I did not include the bread, butter or marinara in the nutritional analysis since your choice of what you will use can vary so much. The nutritional analysis was based on the dairy ingredients. There are free apps available that you can use to figure out the nutrition in the vegan/plant based version.
Italian Spinach Grilled Cheese Sandwich
1 lg. garlic clove 3 cups packed baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces) 1 tsp. dried basil leaves 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt 1/4 tsp. (rounded) ground black pepper, or to taste 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest or to taste 1/2 cup ricotta cheese or mashed firm tofu 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes 1/2 cup shredded Italian 5 blend cheese or your favorite similar shredded vegan cheese, optional 8 slices bread* Marinara sauce, optional Butter, vegan butter, Olive oil , optional
1. In a small food processor, chop the garlic. Add the spinach, basil, oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper; process until spinach is evenly chopped.
2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach mixture and cook just until wilted; transfer to a small bowl. Rinse and dry skillet. Set aside.
3. To the food processor (no need to wash it) add the ricotta or tofu and Parmesan or nutritional yeast and pulse to combine (or until tofu is smooth and ricotta like in texture). Add to spinach mixture along with shredded cheese, if using. Mix well and adjust seasonings. Spread 1/4 cup mixture onto each of 4 slices of bread; cover each with a second slice of bread to make a sandwich.
4. Heat same large skillet over medium heat, adding enough butter or oil to lightly cover bottom of pan or you can toast it dry if that suits your dietary needs. Cook until the bottom is golden, turn and cover; cook until filling is hot and bread is golden brown.
5. Serve with marinara as a dipping sauce or poured over the top, if desired.
*Depending on the size of the bread slices you might get more or less sandwiches. Use whatever bread fits your dietary lifestyle (gluten free, plant based, low carb, keto, etc.)
Nutrition Facts Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (2 ounces).
I did not include the bread, butter or marinara in the nutritional analysis since your choice of what you will use can vary so much from what I used. The nutritional analysis was based on the dairy ingredients including the shredded cheese.
Amount Per Serving Calories 72.03 Total Fat 4.81g Saturated Fat 3.01g Cholesterol 17.88mg Sodium 316.3mg Potassium 168.97mg Total Carbohydrates 2.5g Fiber 0.69g Sugar 0.22g Protein 5.18g