The College Housewife » Recipes » savory » Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese

Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese

Get ready for this extremely melty Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese to capture your heart! The Havarti cheese is grated for optimal melting and the dollop of pesto will add a fresh herbal flavor perfect for the summer season. Plus, check out my grilled cheese tips that’ll result in the most delicious crispy sandwich of your dreams!

two halves of a grilled cheese stacked on top of each other so you can see the melted cheese and pesto inside

Disclaimer: To celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day, I partnered with Roth Cheese! All opinions expressed are my own! 

Why You’ll Love Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese

Now that the weather is warming up we have been changing things up from date night at a normal restaurant to a fun little evening in the backyard. I’ll whip up a great cheeseboard, open a bottle of rosè, and make us a grilled cheese. 

When Roth Cheese reached out and asked if I wanted to celebrate ‘National Grilled Cheese Day’ with them the answer was a definite, YES – with a Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese! I’m not one to mess too much with a classic, but I can’t keep up with all the basil bursting out of the garden (I felt so Martha Stewart when I said that) so I decided to add in a few tablespoons of pesto to this melty and buttery grilled cheese. 

Sandwiched between two fresh sourdough slices is grated Roth Havarti Cheese, fresh pesto, and a whole lot of butter! I love using havarti in grilled cheeses because it melts so perfectly. I can’t wait to hear what you think of this summery take on everyone’s favorite classic!

You can see what grocery stores carry which Roth cheeses here

two people playing cards on a white and grey striped blanket with a golden retriever and a cheeseboard full of crackers, veggies, and havarti cheese

Ingredients

It’s simple – that’s the beauty of grilled cheese. You don’t need much to make a mouthwatering sandwich!

  • Sourdough bread
  • Shredded Roth Havarti Cheese
  • Unsalted butter
  • Pesto – storebought is okay, but you can find my easy homemade pesto recipe here
  • Salt
slices of bread with grated cheese on them and a package of roth havarti cheese to the side next to basil and salt

How To Make Pesto Grilled Cheese

Step 1: Make Sandwich

On a large cutting board, spread an even layer of unsalted butter on the outer sides of your sourdough bread and a little bit on the inside. Sprinkle shredded Havarti cheese onto the inner sides of both pieces of bread, and then add a dollop of pesto. Squish the slices together and add a little sprinkle of salt to the outside of the sandwich. 

Step 2: Cook

In a medium-sized cast iron pan, add a tablespoon of butter to medium heat. Add the sandwiches and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown and crispy. Enjoy! 

two grilled cheese sandwiches with a browned exterior cut in half with cheese melted and pulling in between the halves

Grilled Cheese Tips

You may think you know everything there is to know about making grilled cheese sandwiches, but I have a few tips that’ll take your cheesy goodness to the next level!

  • Some of the best breads for grilled cheese are sourdough, wheat bread, and pumpernickel. They all hold up well and get perfectly crispy!
  • For super even melting, grate the cheese before adding it onto the bread!
  • Be sure to lather up each side of the bread with lots of butter and a little bit inside the pan.
  • A heavy cast iron pan will help brown the outside of your grilled cheese more evenly and ensure a rich golden color and crunch!
a variety of Roth cheese packages

FAQs

What’s the secret to the best grilled cheese?

Butter and salt! Of course we butter the bread, but to take your grilled cheese from good to GREAT, you should also add some butter to the pan and heat it before adding your sandwich. You’ll also see in the recipe that you should salt the outside of your sandwich before cooking and that makes it extra yummy too. 

What kind of cheese is best for grilled cheese?

The best cheeses for optimum melting are Havarti, gouda, cheddar, mozzarella, and gruyère.

Is mayo or butter better for grilled cheese?

Either is fine, but I prefer butter for the flavor. You could even get fancy and do a mixture of both!

Elizabeth outside on a blanket with rascal, wine, and a cheese board

Grilled Cheese Variations

As evidenced by today’s delicious addition of pesto, grilled cheese doesn’t have to stop with the cheese! Add whatever you think sounds good. Here are a few of my favorite ideas!

  • Add avocado for a more creamy texture.
  • Include the protein of your choice. You could do bacon, prosciutto, turkey, etc.
  • Sandwich some fresh greens in there! I think spinach would be perfect. 
  • Use a garlic aioli to give your sandwich some extra fattiness and seasoning.
  • Use a variety of cheeses – after all, the more cheese the better!
  • Add kimchi for a fermented surprise.
  • Slather on your favorite jam or fruit compote for a salty/sweet flavor!

More Cheesy Recipes You’ll Love

If you make this Pesto Grilled Cheese, be sure to tag me on Pinterest and Instagram!

I seriously love seeing what you guys are making and sharing your creations with the College Housewife community!

Print
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a stack of sliced grilled cheese with pesto

Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Elizabeth Van Lierde
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Get ready for this extremely melty Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese to capture your heart! The Havarti cheese is grated for optimal melting and the dollop of pesto will add a fresh herbal flavor perfect for the summer season. Plus, check out my grilled cheese tips that’ll result in the most delicious crispy sandwich of your dreams!


Ingredients

Scale

4 Slices of thick, sourdough bread

2 Cups of shredded Roth Havarti Cheese

Unsalted butter

4 Tablespoons pesto, divided (homemade recipe here)

Salt


Instructions

  1. On a large cutting board, spread an evenly layer of unsalted butter on outer sides of sourdough bread. Sprinkle on shredded Havarti cheese onto both sides. Add half of pesto to two slices and squish slices together. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  2. In a medium cast iron pan add in a tablespoon of butter on medium heat. Add in sandwiches and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Notes

Note: A heavy cast iron pan will help brown the outside of your grilled cheese more evenly and ensure a rich golden color and crunch!

Keywords: pesto grilled cheese, grilled cheese with pesto, garden grilled cheese

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