Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

Dinner, Sandwiches, Snacks, Vegetarian

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

As you may know, I’m what the world considers a grilled cheese enthusiast. I’m not sure there’s another sandwich that can make me feel all the feelings of warmth, comfort and just plain ol’ fun. For this post, I teamed up with Tillamook, the farmer-owned Co-Op from Oregon, to inspire you to create your own all natural, veggie-filled, gooey, delicious sandwiches perfect for a spring party with friends. Every single party in life should have a Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar. HELLO! This is the definition of comforting fun!

Spring is finally here, which means all of my favorite farmer’s market vegetables are back in season. I always miss them in winter. Winter veggies aren’t my favorite, but spring? YASS! These grilled cheeses aren’t difficult to execute, no, not at all, but like anything simple, the amazingness is in the details. This means paying attention to each and every ingredient carefully.

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

We’ll start with the most important part: da cheese. Tillamook cheese is naturally aged, made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones and contains no artificial ingredients. This is the real deal when it comes to cheese. Tillamook has actually been making cheese for over 100 years! I vote for giving people a few options. I went with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar (a classic), Tillamook Pepper Jack (for the people who love spicy a.k.a. me), Smoked Medium Cheddar and lastly, Smoked Black Pepper Cheddar (my favorite).

Also, don’t be shy to mix and match them. My favorite combo was sharp cheddar with the smoked black pepper cheddar—it was glorious!

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

I picked up fresh veggies from the Atwater Farmer’s Market to compliment the cheeses and I caramelized onions and roasted some rainbow carrots. I sliced up some watermelon radishes thinly using my favorite mandolin and was sure to include some Tillamook Unsalted Butter. Tillamook is best known for their cheese but their butter, yogurt and ice cream are amazing too! I usually just throw the butter in the pan but setting it out at room temperature makes it easier for people to add however much they like to the outside slices of bread.

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

With the tops of the carrots, don’t throw them out! I made carrot top pesto. The pesto has a lovely sweetness to it, just like carrots, and it means there’s no waste what-so-ever.

I put a bunch of leeks in a pan with a few pats of butter and was aiming to make buttered leeks. But then I turned my back, got distracted, and well, they overcooked. I was about to dump them but then I tasted them and OMG so good. Sometimes the best discoveries are pure accidents. Crispy leeks are my new love in life. They stayed.

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

I also roasted some broccoli and asparagus.

Oh, and bread. For this bar, I set out sourdough and challah which I got from the local bakery, Bread Lounge here in LA. Other good bread options would be brioche or I bet even pumpernickel would be awesome. Honestly, if it’s great quality bread, soft and toasts well, you’re good to go.

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

Here are the marriages of cheese with vegetables I loved.

My favorite, by far, was the crispy leeks and smoked medium cheddar. This cheddar from Tillamook is smoked with real hickory wood, which means the smoky flavor in the cheese is really pleasant. Honestly, not the most attractive one out of all of the veggie grilled cheeses, further proving my theory that ugly food is sometimes my favorite food.

The second place veggie grilled cheese winner was the roasted carrot, carrot top pesto and smoked black pepper cheddar combo. Man, that smoked black pepper white cheddar is my jam! I want to make a mac n cheese with it stat.

This whole grilled cheese bar shebang was sooo delicious and exactly what you want now that we’re getting in the season where fresh farmer’s market produce is everywhere.

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

If you’re interested in more info on Tillamook, they launched a community Co-Op today that you can join to become a member with access to exclusive stuff like chef dinners and events, access to new products and you’ll even be able to name a cow. I like super lady-like names for cows. Think: Violet.
If you’re interested in more info on Tillamook, they launched a community Co-Op today that you can join to become a member with access to exclusive stuff like chef dinners and events, access to new products and you’ll even be able to name a cow. I like super lady-like names for cows. Think: Violet.

I will actually be attending the first Co-Op event here in LA in May, a brunch at Eveleigh featuring a yummy Tillamook menu. Keep a lookout for free tickets available when you sign up for the Co-Op.

Ok that’s it, now please go make lots of grilled cheeses with vegetables in them to celebrate spring.

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: Sandwiches for about 8 to 12 people

Veggie Grilled Cheese Bar

Ingredients

    Cheeses:
  • 8 ounces Tillamook Pepper Jack, grated
  • 8 ounces Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 8 ounces Tillamook Smoked Black Pepper White Cheddar, grated
  • 8 ounces Tillamook Smoked Cheddar, grated
  • Vegetables:
  • 1 bunch of rainbow carrots (tops reserved and peeled)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and cooked in 2 tablespoons Tillamook unsalted butter over medium heat for 20 minutes, until crispy. Season with salt.
  • 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
  • Carrot top pesto:
  • 2 cups of carrot top leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cashews
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • Other additions:
  • 1/2 cup Tillamook unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 loaf of sour dough bread
  • 1 loaf of challah

Directions

  1. Start with grating all your cheese. If you have a really large food processor, you can grate it very quickly using the grater attachment. I used a box grater, you know, the old fashioned way.
  2. To roast your vegetables, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Add the carrots to a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven to cook for 5 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, add the asparagus to the same baking sheet; toss the asparagus with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the baking sheet back to the oven to roast for an additional 5 minutes. At the 5 minute mark, add the broccoli and again, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil, salt and pepper; roast all of the vegetables for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. (It’s ok if the veggies are completely room temperature, they’ll reheat a bit when you make the sandwiches.)
  3. In a medium sauté pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil, add the sliced onions and cook until caramelized, being sure to stir them every few minutes, for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in an additional small sauté pan, melt a few tablespoons of unsalted butter. When melted add the leeks. Cook until crispy, about 20 minutes. Season with a few pinches of salt.
  4. To make the carrot top pesto, add all of the ingredients to a food processor; pulse until smooth. Adjust salt to taste.
  5. Transfer carrots, asparagus, broccoli to plates. Add the caramelized onions, leeks and pesto to small bowls. Slice up the bread! Set out the cheeses and butter. Add some flowers. Have fun with it!

Notes

Obviously, this isn’t really a recipe but a guideline and list of ingredients I used to build the grilled cheese bar.

http://www.acozykitchen.com/veggie-grilled-cheese-bar/

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24 Comments

  • Reply Millie l Add A Little April 6, 2015 at 5:39 am

    crispy leeks and smoked cheddar?! My mouth is watering!

  • Reply Ashley Nathalie April 6, 2015 at 6:43 am

    Yum 🙂 Grilled cheese is the best! There’s this place in Boston that makes a grilled cheese with smoked cheddar, green apples and kale on rye…amaaazing combo! I’ll have to try the pepper jack/caramelized leeks one at home though. So hungry now…

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Oh that sounds soooo good. I love grilled cheeses with rye bread.

  • Reply S Lauren | Modern Granola April 6, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Yes! Every party needs a veggie grilled cheese bar! These look fabulous. I just discovered the magic of Tillamook ice cream sandwiches, so I’m looking forward to trying their cheese. I think I know how I’ll be doing that now!

  • Reply Emily April 6, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Awesome ideas! I’m loving the crispy broccoli idea with the sharp cheddar since I always loved broccoli in my mac and cheese when I was growing up. I just celebrated Grilled Cheese month with a Butternut Squash and Kale Pesto grilled cheese on my blog. Yum. Thanks for more inspiration!

  • Reply Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship April 6, 2015 at 9:42 am

    A grilled cheese bar!!! This is such an awesomely fantastic idea!!!

  • Reply stephanie @ iamafoodblog April 6, 2015 at 10:42 am

    this is my everything!!! i’m a HUGE fan of tillamook. i’ve even been to their factory tour!!! heehee

  • Reply Bunny SE April 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Representing central Oregon in this corner! =) My family loves Tillamook’s colby-jack for grilled cheese, so tasty and is soft enough that it melts beautifully without having to shred it like you would a cheddar. Nomnom.

  • Reply Jennifer @ The Foodie Patootie April 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    April is basically the best month ever. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate grilled cheese sandwiches all month long?! I could definitely get down on some of this set up at any party. Happy National Grilled Cheese Month!

  • Reply Erica April 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Wow, this looks so perfect, I want each of the combinations you made! I’m going to have to throw a grilled cheese party for my med school class once we finish board exams!
    I’m a pretty new blogger and I’ve been checking out your site for a few months now, but I finally am mustering up the courage to say hello! Your blog is so lovely, and I love all the recipes. This savory post is great, and your desserts are all to die for too!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 10, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Your tag line to your blog is the absolute best. Thanks so much for saying hi! xoxo

  • Reply Mary @chattavore April 6, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Grilled cheese is absolutely one of my favorite things to eat and I LOVE the idea of a grilled cheese bar!

  • Reply Mary Frances April 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you for this mouthwatering, creative inspiration for Grilled Cheese Month! I love all your healthy grilled cheese ideas. Can’t wait to try the asparagus with Pepperjack sandwich!

  • Reply Emma April 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    All those colors, beautiful! I’m hungry now…

  • Reply Thursday Things 04.09.15 - just j.faye April 9, 2015 at 5:55 am

    […] veggie grilled cheese bar looks amazing. I have grilled cheese like once a year, which is an absolute shame because there are […]

  • Reply Megan April 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Grilled cheese is my favorite! And since I am from Oregon, I love that you featured Tillamook! Everything they make is great. 🙂

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 10, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Everyone from Oregon has so much love for Tillamook. Love it!

  • Reply Kari April 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I feel inspired to do a grilled cheese bar party!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  • Reply Carrie from www.itsdroolworthy.com April 11, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Love your photos! LOVE GRILLED CHEESE!!

  • Reply bev @ bevcooks April 20, 2015 at 7:06 am

    This is basically all you need in life.

  • Reply bbq done right | gisi kurath | mühelos köstliches June 22, 2015 at 6:48 am

    […] My kinda bar: grilled cheese! 2. I can’t get these breakfast sandwiches out of my mind. 3. So many beautiful sandwiches […]

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