Grilled Cheese with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil
and pesto roasted cauliflower
This rustic grilled cheese has all the great flavors of Italian caprese salad, including mozzarella, tomatoes, basil. Using sun-dried tomatoes gives the warm sandwich a more rich, concentrated flavor than you can get using fresh. While you prep and make the sandwiches, let the oven do all the work on a roasted cauliflower side dish.
Pesto Roasted Cauliflower:
- Cauliflower florets - 1 lb
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Pesto (ingredients listed separately) - ~1/4 cup
- Pine nuts - 2 Tbsp (sub walnuts or pecans)
- Garlic - 1 clove , peeled
- Cheese, parmesan - 1 oz
- Basil leaves - 1 1/2 oz
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 3 Tbsp
Grilled Cheese with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil:
- Sun-dried tomatoes in oil - 1/2 cup , drained and chopped
- Cheese, fresh mozzarella - 5 oz , sliced
- Basil - 16 leaves
- Bread, sandwich - 8 slices
- Butter - 4 Tbsp
- Cauliflower / Sun-dried tomatoes - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make pesto - Double if making Thursday’s meal. Toast nuts in a dry skillet or frying pan until fragrant and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Peel garlic cloves. Place nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese (reserve the rind if making Thursday’s meal), basil leaves (portion for the pesto) and lemon juice into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are well chopped. With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil until smooth. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Mozzarella / Basil (for the sandwiches) - Thinly slice cheese. Tear basil leaves.
- Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
- Spread cauliflower florets out onto a sheet pan and cover tightly with foil. ‘Steam’ in oven for 10 minutes.
- While cauliflower steams, set out ingredients for the sandwiches - bread, butter, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and basil leaves.
- Once cauliflower has steamed, remove foil and toss with cooking oil and some salt and pepper. Return pan to oven and roast until cauliflower is tender and golden brown, another 14 to 18 minutes.
- When cauliflower is nearly finished, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread half the slices of bread with half the butter and place them butter-side down in the skillet. Top with basil leaves, then cheese and then sun-dried tomatoes. Add remaining slices of bread and brush the tops with remaining half of butter. Sear sandwiches on both sides until golden brown and cheese is melted.
- When cauliflower is finished, toss with pesto (remember to reserve half if doubled).
- Serve grilled cheese with roasted cauliflower on the side. Enjoy!