The other day I began to crave a grilled cheese sandwich for some weird reason! I never ate them that often and when I stopped eating cheese, well, there went that food option as I am not fond of vegan cheeses that use gums and emulsifiers to achieve their creamy cheese-like consistency. But now there are some vegan cheese options that are getting better so when I saw a package of Chao at the store on sale I decided to try it! Where I live, a cattle ranching area, I can’t imagine vegan cheese is a big seller so I was excited to see it locally. It’s made from fermented chao tofu which I have ever heard of, but I love trying new foods. It also uses coconut oil instead of gums/emulsifiers and I’m a big fan of coconut oil so it was worth a try.
I bought the Tomato Cayenne flavor and it is pretty darn good. I sautéed up some mushrooms and piled on a spring salad mix and enjoyed my first vegan grilled cheese sandwich 😀. Avocado would have made it perfect but, sadly, I didn’t have one. I am certain that would have taken it to the next level of yumminess. If you are doing gluten- free, too, there are some decent breads now so use whatever bread you like. I used Earth Balance vegan spread instead of butter to brown the bread and it worked beautifully.
RECIPE for VEGAN GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH
- 2 slices bread of your choice
- 1 slice Chao brand vegan cheese (Tomato Cayenne works great here)
- 1 TBSP vegan spread ( like Earth Balance)
- large handful of spring salad greens or arugula
- 6-8 fresh mushrooms
- 1/2 avocado (optional)
- Heat about 1 tsp of spread ( or olive oil) in small sauté pan & add sliced mushrooms. Sauté until browned & juicy. Remove from pan & set aside. Or you can sauté them while your first side is also cooking like I did.
- Pour off any juices from mushrooms & wipe out the pan. Heat rest of vegan spread & add 1 of the bread slices to the pan. Keep heat at medium low.
- Put the Chao slice on top of the cooking bread & top with the cooked mushrooms & 1/2 of the greens. Cover with second slice of bread.
- When bottom is nice and toasty brown carefully lift it out of the pan, add a bit more vegan spread to the pan & put it back in the pan with the uncooked side down.
- Toast for a few more minutes & when this side is also nicely brown remove sandwich to a plate, take off top slice of bread & add avocado, if using, & the rest of the uncooked greens, then replace the top bread slice.