Broccoli and Cheddar were meant to be together and this Broccoli Grilled Cheese is the pinnacle of that pairing!
Of course, any time I’m working with broccoli, especially chopping it, you know I gotta pump Dana Carvey singing The Lady I Know (aka Choppin’ Broccoli). This skit used to be impossible to find on the Internet but now it’s pretty darn easy.
SNL has all of this stuff on their Youtube page now which is most excellent.
Anyway, watching that skit a dozen times in a row made me want to chop some broccoli and put it in a grilled cheese.
Roasting and Charring the Broccoli
For broccoli to work in a grilled cheese, it has to be babied a bit. You can’t just chop up some florets, stuff it in a sandwich, and call it a day. Having that sandwich is why people hate broccoli.
Doing it right means first roasting the broccoli at a blazing 450 degrees F. with a good drizzle of oil and salt and pepper. You want to really caramelize the vegetable.
I tossed in some spicy peppers for a little heat, but those are optional.
After about 15 minutes in a hot oven, you’ll have some really nice roasted veggies. The little crispy bits around the edges are where it’s at.
Now um… chop some broccoli!
Seriously. It’s best in a sandwich if it’s chopped pretty fine so get to it. Chop up the peppers also! This mix is sandwich-ready now.
Cheddar Cheese Tip
When it comes to cheese for grilled cheese there is an easy option: grating the cheese. Grated cheese melts the fastest and so you don’t run the risk of having unmelted cheese and burned toast.
But, if you have good grilled cheese skills and can control your cooking temperature, try this: Cube the cheese into small cubes.
It takes longer for the cheese to melt when it’s in cubes like this, but then you get these awesome pockets of gooey cheese in your sandwich. It’s a little bit more advanced, but worth the fuss!
Cooking the Broccoli Grilled Cheese
When it comes to cooking this sucker, I recommend using a sturdy piece of bread, like a sourdough. Brush the bread slices with a little butter and cook the sandwich over medium or medium-low heat. Pile on the filling and then top off the sandwich.
The nightmare scenario when cooking a grilled cheese is to blast the sandwich with heat and burn the bread, but still have a cold filling. So it’s really best to err on the side of low heat.
It’s okay to cook it for 5-6 minutes per side if your heat is low. That’s a much better option than 30 seconds per side in a blazing skillet.
Cooking it over lower heat will melt the cheese and give you that beautiful golden color crust.
Chop it in half and you are in broccoli grilled cheese business!
Variations on Broccoli Grilled Cheese
There’s lots of fun stuff you can add to this grilled cheese!
- Change the cheese with Gouda or Pepper jack.
- Instead of broccoli, try summer zucchini – charred and chopped.
- Use mayo instead of butter on the bread!
- Press it in a panini press!
Chop it. Eat it. Repeat.
Broccoli Cheddar Grilled Cheese
- 2 big stalks broccoli, chopped
- 2 spicy peppers, sliced thin
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese
- 8 slices sandwich or sourdough bread
- Unsalted butter, for cooking
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut florets off of broccoli stalks and spread out on a baking sheet with sliced Fresno peppers and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast veggies until they are charred on the edges, about 15 minutes.
- After veggies roast, roughly chop them and stir together with cheddar cheese. I prefer to cube my cheese into small cubes, but you could also grate it.
- Heat a sturdy skillet over medium heat and lightly butter your bread slices. Place the slices butter-side down on the skillet and pile on some of the broccoli mixture.
- Cover with a second piece of bread, butter-side up. Cook the sandwich until the bread is toasted and the cheese is very melted, about 5 minutes per side. Keep a close eye on the sandwiches to avoid burning the bread. Flip the sandwich if it is cooking too quickly.
- Serve sandwiches while warm and chop in half for easier eating.