Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

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If it’s about time your grilled cheese sandwich grew up, this clean eating grownup grilled cheese sandwich recipe is ready to take its place!

Your grilled cheese sandwich just grew up. That’s not to say you can’t occasionally enjoy the sandwiches of your youth, but sometimes, it’s nice to age well. And this recipe certainly fits that description.

A Clean Eating Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich sits on a white, round plate and is sliced in half. The two halves overlap and you can see the melted cheese oozing out.

As a young teen, I survived on grilled cheese sandwiches. Even now, the mere mention of it makes me salivate. I love them in all their cheesy, melty, gooey splendor. But I did give them up for the most part when I started eating clean.

Originally, I gave them up because I thought I had to avoid fats of all kinds as a clean eater. Thankfully, I’ve learned a little since then and I’m now far more aware of just how good healthy fats are for you. And this Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich is definitely filling with the fat that it does contain.

That being said, you still want to choose your cheese carefully. Fresh mozzarella is a fantastic way to go. Plus it melts really, really well. Almost like Velveeta! <gasp!>

When I made these years ago, I would use a hand-held cheese slicer and pack the bread with many slices of butter before I put it in the pan. Then I would add even more butter to cook with until I had pretty much used up an entire stick of butter for one sandwich. Oh, and did I mention I would make 2 or 3 of these before I was done? Moderation was not my thing at that age…

These days, I’m a little more sparing with the butter. It’s totally clean, but not an entire stick at one time. I just smear on a very tiny amount (or I use oil), place the sandwich between two pieces of parchment, and pack between two cookie sheets. Then I bake it. I have to say that this is not my original idea. I saw it on Pinterest, but of course, I can’t find the pin now! So if you know who’s idea this is, I’d love to give them credit. Because frankly, it’s genius. And it works oh so well. Give it a try, you’ll see.

More Healthy Sandwiches

Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

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Clean Eating Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich

If you love grilled cheese sandwiches, give this grownup version a try. The balsamic vinegar over the melted mozzarella and fresh basil make for a very satisfying meal.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 304kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry


  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 oz. fresh mozzarella (sliced)
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves
  • 2 ¼ inch slices tomato
  • balsamic vinegar to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Assemble your sandwich in this order: Bread, cheese, salt & pepper, basil, tomato, bread.
  • Flip that sandwich over so that the cheese melts down over everything else.
    Clean Eating Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Spray both sides of the sandwich with a light coating of oil using an oil sprayer. You can also spread a light coat of butter on before assembling the sandwich if that works for your eating plan.
  • Fold the sandwich into a piece of parchment, and then sandwich the entire thing between two cookie sheets. (I used 2 on top because my pans were tiny and I wanted a little more weigh on top.)
    Clean Eating Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is nicely melted.
    Clean Eating Grownup Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Remove from oven and remove cookie sheets and parchment.
  • Sprinkle the top of the sandwich with a bit of balsamic vinegar to taste.
  • Cool enough so you don’t burn yourself and enjoy.
  • Note that if you want the bread to be crispier, you can remove the pan and parchment from the top of the sandwich after 15 minutes of baking and turn your broiler on. Just remember to flip the sandwich half way through that last 5 minutes so both sides get crispy. If your tomato slices are too thick or you put too much cheese on, the bread will be much soggier. So keep it light and simple.


Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 601mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 427mg | Iron: 2.2mg
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  1. Tiffany, what do you use for “clean” bread?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kristin – Typically, I make my own. But in this case, I bought the Alvarado Street Bakery brand. I get it at Whole Foods. Ezekiel is another good brand, but you have to check them because not all of them are clean.

  2. Tiffany: Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family! Thank you for all your clean-eating hints and recipes. This sandwich is a “keeper”.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Phyllis – Awesome!!! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 Happy new year to you too!

  3. Mike Luque says:

    I LOVE me some grilled cheese. Making them in the oven is a great idea. It may even be a way for those who have problems with lactose to enjoy a “grilled” cheese. Aged dry cheeses have almost no lactose but those cheeses don’t melt very good when pan fried. Convection heat from an oven might help there.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mike – Interesting point! I didn’t know that.

  4. This looks so yummy! I love grilled cheese, and I was sad to have to cut it from my diet but this is a perfect healthy version to try! Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alex – My pleasure! I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  5. I also use parchment and then put the sandwich in the panini press. Crisps and browns perfectly!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      ShoshM – Nice tip! I don’t have a press, but I do have a waffle maker. Hmmmm…..

  6. O my! I love the sound of that and I never thought to sammich the sammich between cookie sheets in the oven… HEAVEN! One of my is thinly sliced green apple, baby spinach, mozzarella and if you’re feeling devilish, a bit of turkey bacon. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jennifer – Sounds wonderful!! Love the idea of apples!!

  7. I love your recipes, but why can’t I pinned them? Any secrets?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Chelsa – That’s odd. When you hover over an image on my site, a pin button should come up on the bottom of your screen. If not, you may need to update your browser.

  8. Meghan @ The Tasty Fork says:

    YUM!! I love the addition of basil and balsamic! I can’t wait to try this sandwich. Recipe is pinned!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Meghan – Great! I hope you enjoy it!

  9. Brilliant! I bet if your cookie sheets are big enough, this would be a good way to make “grilled” cheese for the whole gang. My husband used to work at a ‘gourmet grilled cheese’ restaurant, and this looks very similar to one of their most popular sandwiches, except for the fact that they cooked it the regular way on a griddle (with so much margarine – eep!). The balsamic is such a nice addition. I think I’d like to try one of their other staples this way – smoked gouda, sliced tomato, and fried egg!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Fal – Wow! Sounds amazing!!

  10. tina hudgins says:

    Tiffany also I was told ok to have eggs and bacon. As long as no nitrates?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tina – Not necessarily. Eggs are fine (organic is best), but bacon is very difficult. If you can find a source for local, organic, humanely raised pork, you’re chances are much higher for finding clean bacon. I believe US Wellness Meats may carry it and you can order from their web site. But I haven’t checked them out yet, so I’m not positive.

  11. This sandwich was so yummy. The sprinkle of balsamic added an awesome flavour combination. Thank you for so many great recipes!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tanya – Glad you enjoyed it! 😀

  12. This was delicious! My husband loved it too. 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Julie – Wonderful! 😀

  13. Love Grilled Cheese! Worked at a deli that buttered the bread and then sprinkled with Parmesan from a shaker, then grilled! Yum

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Leta – Sounds wonderful!

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