Kimchi Grilled Cheese.
Kimchi Grilled Cheese…the slightly grown-up version of everyone’s favorite childhood sandwich. Spicy kimchi, sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh basil, all sandwiched together between two slices of sesame (garlic) buttered sourdough bread. Pan cooked and finished off with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt and fresh chives. It might seem like an odd grilled cheese, but trust me, everything about this sandwich is SO GOOD. Think spicy veggies + melted cheese + buttery sourdough bread. Easy to make for lunch or dinner any day of the week.
Welcome back and hello to summertime, right?
Ahh, kind of, but not really…
After a long weekend with a mix of sun and clouds, but not a lot of warmth, I’m really hoping for sunnier skies. Looks like I will have to wait until at least the end of the week, as there is still snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Not going to lie, if the weather continues on the way it is, I may need to book an impromptu trip outta town. OMG, if it does not warm up around here I just may lose it. At least I will have some fun days back in the kitchen this week.
Fun question for you, if I high tail it out of Colorado this week, where is the BEST place to go this time year?
Anyway, I’ve had this sandwich in the back of my head for months now. After hesitating for so long, I finally worked up the courage to share it. Lately I’ve been second guessing every single move I make, and over thinking absolutely everything. It’s been driving me slightly insane and making my brain hurt. So this weekend I gave up and decided to give myself a break. I’m kicking off the week with a new mindset, “go with your first thought and don’t think twice”.
We shall see how long this new mindset lasts for me. But the bottom line is that I really want to share this grilled cheese, and I felt like today is the perfect day. We’re coming off a long holiday weekend, probably feeling a little tired, and looking for an easy lunch or dinner. Am I right?
Grilled cheese is the ultimate easy meal. This kimchi grilled cheese is really just the grown-up version of the grilled cheese sandwich we ate as kids. And while I will not say it’s better, because a classic grilled cheese is also so GOOD. I will say that it’s incredibly delicious, and definitely what you need to be making today.
As you can imagine, this is the easiest recipe to create. It takes maybe 15-20 minutes total, requires little to no chopping, and uses just one skillet. Hey, it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, we’re not getting too fancy here, just keeping things good.
Of course, I added some flavor, texture, and color. I mean, it’s me, I hope you would expect nothing less.
First up, let’s talk about this bread. You should use a nice crusty sourdough. No flimsy white bread here, use something good with a nice flavor. Then slather the bread with some garlicky sesame butter. Aka salty butter with a touch of garlic and raw sesame seeds. If you don’t like garlic, no worries, leave it out. But keep the sesame seeds, they toast up as the sandwich cooks in the skillet, and my gosh, they’re delicious.
Now, layer in some cheese. I like a mix of cheddar and fontina. Cheddar is sharp and has good flavor, while fontina is mellow and melts beautifully.
Onto the kimchi. I love Mother in Law’s Kimichi (which I get from Whole Foods). It’s the best I’ve come across, AND this is coming from someone who does not love kimichi. Wait, what? Yes, I don’t really enjoy kimichi…at least not on its own. I can find it to be a bit too intense to enjoy as is. But when sandwiched between cheese and bread…
Very much my preferred way to enjoy kimichi!
Finally, pan cook each sandwich and finish with flaky sea salt and chives. SO EASY. SO GOOD. It’s a touchy spicy, cheesy, loaded with vegetables, fresh basil, and has just the tiniest hints of garlic and salt.
I’m telling you, something about this time of year just makes me want to recreate all the foods of my childhood, but in a grown-up way. So far this year I’ve done chicken fingers, quesadillas, pizza, pasta salad, doughnuts, and peanut butter cup bars. All the foods I loved growing up, especially during the summertime.
And I realize that some of you may find this grilled cheese odd, but if you think about it, it’s just vegetables, cheese, and bread. So nothing that crazy or out of the norm, right? Yes, very normal, very good, and the best part? It’s incredibly easy. Meaning this grilled cheese should be lunch or dinner today.
It’s the obvious choice for the Tuesday following a long weekend. Grilled cheese makes life better!
If you make this kimchi grilled cheese, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Sesame Butter Kimchi Grilled Cheese
The slightly grown-up version of everyone's favorite childhood sandwich. Spicy kimchi, sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh basil, all sandwiched together between two slices of sesame (garlic) buttered sourdough bread.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 4 slices thick cut sourdough bread
- 1 cup kimchi, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup Havarti or fontina cheese, shredded
- fresh chives, for serving
- honey, for serving
1. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, sesame seeds, and garlic.
2. Spread the outside of each slice of bread with sesame garlic butter. On the inside of half of the slices of bread, spread with Gochujang, then evenly layer the cheeses, kimchi, and basil. Add the top piece of bread, buttered side facing up.
3. Place the sandwiches, one at a time, in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Serve topped with chives, honey, and sea salt.
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