Posts tagged with Cheese

Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Grilled mozzarella sandwiches with tomato and basil tortellini soup

OK, fair warning: This probably isn't the healthiest Meatless Monday entry ever. We're sorry about that, but it is true that this weekly holiday isn't all salads and stir-fries.

In this case, it's a soup and sandwich affair, with both items heavily on the decadent side. Frozen cheese tortellini and prepared pesto punch up your basic tomato soup. Meanwhile, mozzarella and tomato slices make for a solid grilled sandwich.

Dip, if you like, but you can also eat them separately. We won't tell.

Grilled Mozzarella Sandwiches with Tomato and Basil Tortellini Soup

1 package (22 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini

2 cans (14.5 ounces) tomato soup

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

8 slices country style bread

8 mozzarella slices

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly

Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Heat soup in a large saucepan and add cooked tortellini, half-and-half and pesto. Simmer on low 5-10 minutes while you prepare sandwiches.

Spread butter on both sides of bread slices. Place two slices of mozzarella and a couple tomato slices on one slice of bread and top with another slice of bread. Place sandwich in a skillet over medium high heat and brown each side until golden and cheese in center has melted.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Roasted cauliflower and chickpea toss

How does an easy, cheesy, protein-packed dinner sound on this Meatless Monday?

Twist your arm, right? Right.

Tonight’s meatless recipe gets its heartiness from chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and extra nutrition from heady superpower cauliflower. Mix with spices, cheeses and cilantro (if it doesn’t taste soapy to you) and put it in to bake. Serve it over a grain or greens and you’ve got a fantastic, filling dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Toss

2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets (about 7 cups)

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cauliflower and garbanzo beans onto bottom of 15x10x1-inch pan. Sprinkle with garlic and crushed pepper; drizzle with oil. Bake 30 minutes.

Transfer to serving bowl. Add cheeses and cilantro; toss lightly.
Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Grilled Cheese with Cilantro Chipotle Pesto and Black Bean Spread

Organic Valley's Grilled Cheese with Cilantro Chipotle Pesto and Black Bean Spread (photo from

Organic Valley's Grilled Cheese with Cilantro Chipotle Pesto and Black Bean Spread (photo from by Sarah Henning

Yes, this is the third week in a row for a type of sandwich on the Meatless Monday blog. Truly, this is by design, because, honestly, when it's 100 degrees (or close to it) at dinnertime on a Monday, the idea of something complicated seems ridiculous.

Hopefully, these three sandwiches — Grilled Summer Squash and Brie Sandwiches and Open-Face Cucumber and Tahini Sandwiches and today's Grilled Cheese with Cilantro Chipotle Pesto and Black Bean Spread — are different enough that you don't mind.

What makes today's sandwich a bit different than the other two is that it happens to be a mishmash of summery flavors melted into a very traditional meatless meal — grilled cheese. It has a Latin kick and would work really well with a salad or grilled vegetables on the side.

Note: The pesto for this sandwich is cilantro-based, but if you happen to have a large influx of basil (I know I do), you can probably sub them out and play with what you have, though you might have to adjust the flavors a bit.

Grilled Cheese with Cilantro Chipotle Pesto and Black Bean Spread


1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle in adobe sauce

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch fresh cilantro (or 4-5 cups loosely packed)

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Black Bean Spread:

1 pint black beans (drained)

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

water as needed


2 organic sourdough bread slices

2-4 tablespoons pesto

2-4 tablespoons black bean spread

1-2 cheese slices

2 teaspoons butter

Pesto: In a food processor combine the pumpkin seeds, chipotle, parmesan, and garlic. Process for 15 seconds. Add the cilantro, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and honey. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is fully pureed. Remove pesto from food processor and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Black Bean Spread: In a food processor combine the black beans, lime juice, coriander, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Process until smooth. Slowly add water as needed to reach a spreadable consistency. Remove spread from food processor and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Sandwich: Spread pesto on the inside of one slice of bread and top with the cheese slice(s). Spread black bean spread on the inside of the other slice and place bean-side down on top of the other slice. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Grill sandwich in skillet until browned on both sides and cheese is melted. Cut and serve immediately.

— Recipe by Macon Luhning for

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Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Polenta and Pesto Sandwiches

I don't know about you, but my basil is already out of control. I've got two pots and they're just begging for use, even though we're barely into June.

If you have the same problem (and what a good problem to have!), you are probably already thinking about batches of pesto and caprese salad.

This Meatless Monday recipe is quick, easy and definitely takes care of your basil "problem." It's an ingenius melding of a bunch of ingredients that are just made for each other: filling polenta, summery basil pesto (try this recipe if you don't have a favorite recipe) and parmesan cheese.

Add a salad and you've got a simple, delicious Meatless Monday meal in no time flat.

Polenta and Pesto Sandwiches

1 tube organic polenta (16-18 ounces)

1/2 cup basil pesto

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Fresh basil leaves for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a baking pan, or line it with parchment paper.

  2. Slice the polenta (as you would a loaf of bread) into 1/3-inch slices. Make sandwiches by spreading pesto on the slices, sprinkling with parmesan on one slice and putting two slices together.

  3. Carefully transfer the sandwiches to the baking pan. Bake until hot, about 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Serving Suggestion: Substitute sun-dried tomato pesto or cilantro pesto for the basil pesto. Substitute thin wedges of provolone or other cheeses for the parmesan.

— Recipe by Terese Allen for


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Avocado Sandwich

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is easier to "cook" for dinner than a sandwich.

It takes little time to prepare, usually all the ingredients are easily accounted for, and the result is totally customizable for any special tastes in your family.

Today being Memorial Day, there are generally barbecues going on and other activities. Thus, there's a good chance that you aren't cooking at home tonight, and if you are, you've already got a set menu. Totally understandable. But if you are at home and looking for a Meatless Monday recipe — or want to plan ahead for next week's Meatless Monday — give this sandwich a try.

It's got cheese and avocado, layers of crisp vegetables, and the ease of, well, a sandwich. It would make a great lunch, too, because of course, Meatless Monday doesn't just mean meatless dinner.

Avocado Sandwich

4 slices pumpernickel, rye or whole wheat bread

1 ripe avocado (peeled, pitted and mashed)

2 slices Gruyère or Swiss cheese

1 ripe tomato (small size, thinly sliced)

1 cucumber (small size, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise)

1/4 red onion (small size, very thinly sliced)

Baby arugula (or sprouts)

Mayonnaise (to taste)

Arrange 4 slices of bread on a cutting board. Divide the avocado between two of the slices. Spread the remaining two pieces of bread with mayonnaise.

Working with the avocado bread slices, top each with a piece of cheese, followed by several slices of tomato and cucumber, then some of the onion. Arrange the arugula or sprouts on top.

Cover with the remaining bread and cut each sandwich in half. Serve immediately.

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Open-Face Veggie Melt with Herb Mustard Spread

April showers bring May flowers, right? If the storming this weekend has you feeling a little cold and damp on the last day of April, maybe it's time for a bit of comfort food.

A nice, warm, cheesy sandwich loaded with veggies and topped with a tangy mustard sauce probably sounds like it'll warm you right up, doesn't it?

This sucker also is perfect for using up stale bread and veggie leftovers, and if that weren't good enough, it's cheesy enough to trick kids into eating their veggies. All you have to do is make the sandwich base, whip up some sauce (only three ingredients) and top with the veggies and cheese of your choosing. The cheese hides the veggies from skeptical kids, while those who actually like veggies can chose their favorites to customize the sandwich.

Open-Face Veggie Melt with Herb Mustard Spread


Whole grain bread, sliced

Butter, softened Finely diced sweet onions (or chopped green onions)

2-3 vegetables, raw or blanched (*see below) Sliced chedder or or Muenster, Provolone, baby Swiss, or Monterey Jack

1/2 cup mustard (Dijon-style)

Mustard Spread 1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or tarragon, basil, or chives)

Heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Mix herb mustard spread ingredients in a bowl. For each serving, slather mustard sauce on two slices of bread. Cut one of the slices in half diagonally and lay the two halves atop the outer edges of the second slice, mustard side up, points facing outward.

Place on baking sheet and layer the veggies on the bread. Bake until veggies are heated, 12-15 minutes. Top with cheese slices and bake until cheese is melted and sandwich is hot, another 4-6 minutes. Serve immediately.


Blanched asparagus, chopped

Arugula leaves, cut into strips

Diced zucchini or yellow squash

Chopped broccoli florets

Thinly sliced mushrooms

Sliced or diced tomatoes

Diced cucumbers

Sliced avocado

Diced green, yellow, red or orange sweet peppers

Roasted sweet red peppers, cut into strips

Grilled eggplant, cut into strips

—Recipe by Terese Allen for


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Black Bean and Pineapple Quesadillas

Yes, kale was at the forefront of last week's Meatless Monday recipe. But, no, going meatless doesn't have to mean using food you don't normally buy or eat (I am well aware that kale is an acquired taste, even for grownups who like its nutritional profile).

It is completely possible for you (and your family) to have a meatless night without eating anything "weird." Case in point: these yummy quesadillas. Most every ingredient can be found in the average cupboard or fridge. And these envelopes of cheesy yumminess pair with just about anything — from a green salad to brown rice to chips and salsa.

Kid-friendly bonus: Save the pineapple juice from the can for any kiddos to drink as a pre-dinner pick-me-up. If your child wasn't excited about dinner before, he or she sure will be after a few sips of straight pineapple juice!

Black Bean and Pineapple Quesadillas

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed, drained

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

6 tablespoons prepared salsa

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Combine beans, crushed pineapple, salsa and cilantro in medium bowl.

Spread 1/2 cup bean mixture over 4 tortillas. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with another tortilla. Cook over medium-high heat, in nonstick skillet, 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until cheese melts.

Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges.

*— Recipe from*


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Simple Spinach Stuffed Shells

This Monday happens to be the warmest day of the week with the temperature topping out at 50 degrees.

As the temperature (inevitably) drops, you'll be happy you took advantage of Meatless Monday by using it to make something delicious that can be reheated all week. Thus, you'll be less inclined to give up and order pizza or another warming take-out option if you have these Simple Spinach Stuffed Shells leftover in the fridge.

Warm and comforting, this sophisticated take on a classic Italian dish includes all-star green spinach and adult ingredients like fennel seeds, garlic and basil. The result is something familiar yet different, indulgent yet a bit lighter.

Simple Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 1/4 pounds spinach (2 10-oz bags frozen, or 1 big bunch fresh)

18 ounces low-fat cottage cheese

1 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for shells plus 1/2 cup for topping)

2 tablespoons washed and chopped fresh basil (or use 2 teaspoons dried basil)

1 tablespoon washed, dried and minced fresh parsley

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

4 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Sea salt & pepper to taste

3 1/2 cups pasta sauce

16 ounces pasta shells (about 32 shells)

If working with dried pasta, cook shells as directed, wash and drain. Prepare spinach (wash, dry and chop fine if fresh; thaw if frozen) and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add cottage cheese, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, fresh basil, parsley, fennel seeds and minced garlic. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend to desired consistency. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if needed. Note: Go easy on the sea salt, as cottage cheese is a bit saltier than the classic version of stuffed shells that call for ricotta cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce to coat the bottom of the dish and to prevent sticking. You may also add a dash of extra virgin olive oil if desired.

Using a serving spoon and clean hands, fill each pasta shell with the spinach mixture. Carefully transfer stuffed shells, filling side up, to the prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining shredded Parmesan cheese.

Cover the baking dish loosely with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Allow the shells to settle for 10 minutes before serving (or else they may be juicy).

— Recipe from


Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Raw Kale and Feta Salad

Dreading the mounds of food tempting you later this week? If you want to make sure you're taking care of yourself and not just adding to the misery, this salad is for you.

Kick this week of gluttony off right with kale, olive oil, onion, avocado and a bit of feta cheese. You'll inhale a bunch of nutrients, good fats and the feeling of doing something good for your body.

Raw Kale and Feta Salad

1 bunch kale

1 small lemon, juiced

4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pinch course salt

Ground black pepper to taste

1/2 small red onion, slivered

1 ripe avocado, diced

2 small, or one large, ripe tomato (or 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes)

1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled or cut into small cubes)

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or walnuts (optional)

Strip the kale from its tough center stem, slice crosswise into narrow, ribbon-y strips, and place it in a medium bowl.

Add the red onion, avocado, and tomato.

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, and salt. Add a generous grind of coarse black pepper. Pour half of the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss well to coat. Eyeball the salad and add more vinaigrette as needed. Sprinkle with the feta cheese, and top with the optional toasted seeds or nuts if using.

— Recipe from


Meatless Moday recipe of the week: Three-Bean Salad with Gouda

Whole Foods' Three-Bean Salad with Gouda

Whole Foods' Three-Bean Salad with Gouda by Sarah Henning

It'll be 90 degrees this Meatless Monday — perfect for this salad. It gives you a sense of the summer that's coming to a close, while still celebrating the season. Plus, it's cooling, perfect on this last hot day.

Three-Bean Salad with Gouda

2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups steamed, cooled and chopped green beans (about 6 ounces raw)

1 large tomato, seeded and diced

1 cup diced Gouda cheese (about 5 ounces)

1/2 red onion, diced

In a large bowl, whisk together agave nectar, mustard, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Add black beans, kidney beans, green beans, tomato, Gouda and onion and toss. Refrigerate and allow flavors to blend for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day; taste just before serving and adjust seasoning if necessary.

— Recipe from