We’ve got nothing against regular grilled cheese, but this asparagus and cheese sandwich elevates the childhood classic to a grown-up, crave-worthy meal. After trying this version made with roasted asparagus, mozzarella, Gruyère, and a healthy dollop of Romesco sauce, you’ll wonder why you haven’t always stuffed vegetables into your grilled cheese sandwiches.
Low and slow is the name of our grilled cheese game. Whatever you do, don’t try to rush yours. It cannot be done without compromising the perfectly golden crunch of this toasty meal. Much like the use of Gruyère and fancy bread, the addition of asparagus is because we’re grown-ups now, and dare we say it improves the gooey goodness of a cheese sandwich by adding a little more interest and a hint of vegetable bite that cuts through all that dairy fat. Nutty and smoky, with a nice acidic bite, Romesco sauce is likewise a perfect foil for all of the richness at play here. We suggest serving the extra sauce alongside the sandwich for dipping.–Holly Erickson and Natalie Mortimer
Asparagus and Cheese Sandwich FAQs
What’s the best way to trim asparagus spears?
Although it’s quick and easy to just bend and snap the asparagus, you could be wasting valuable produce by using this method. To make the most of your asparagus, use a knife to trim the stalk just where the color changes from whitish to green. This will take off only the woody ends.
Can I substitute other types of cheese in this asparagus grilled cheese sandwich?
Yes. Any good melting cheese will work well here, such as Cheddar or Monterey Jack.
Asparagus and Cheese Sandwich
- 1/2 pound pencil-thin asparagus ends trimmed, cut into 4-inch (10-cm) pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 tablespoons (2 oz) salted butter at room temperature
- 8 slices ciabatta or other rustic bread sliced 1/2- to 3/4-inch (12- to 18-mm) thick
- 1 3/4 cups Romesco sauce
- 6 ounces grated Gruyère cheese at room temperature
- 6 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the center position.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, combine the asparagus, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine, then spread out the asparagus in a single layer. Bake until tender and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and butter. Spread the mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the Romesco on the other side of each of 4 pieces of the bread, then layer on the Gruyère, asparagus, and mozzarella, dividing evenly between the four slices of bread. Finish the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side facing out.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over low heat. Add two sandwiches at a time and cook, watching closely, until golden brown on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Flip and toast on the other side. Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches.
- Transfer the sandwiches to plates and serve with the remaining Romesco alongside for dipping.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Always chasing the perfect grilled cheese sandwich? It seems that there are grilled cheese sandwich recipes everywhere you look. This asparagus and cheese combination is a pretty great one. The mixture of mellow yet spicy Romesco sauce with melted nutty Gruyère was delicious. Next time I may skip the mozzarella and just go all in with the Gruyère, and add another spoonful of Romesco.
I used my favorite local sourdough for the bread and roasting is my favorite method to cook asparagus so another plus, although next time I will add some garlic to the asparagus while roasting.
I didn’t love the mayo/butter combo for spreading on the bread, it was a little soggy. Next time I will just use my EVOO, which always gives me a delicious crusty toasty sandwich. Overall this sandwich was a big hit for panini night at my table.
There is a lot to like in this asparagus and cheese sandwich, a reminder that the humble grilled cheese can take on many different forms and still be comforting and satisfying, and always goes well with tomato soup.
Every part would be a great singular addition to a grilled cheese but combined, the flavors and textures bring this sandwich to another level. The asparagus adds a fresh crispness, the Gruyère and mozzarella blend together beautifully, and the butter and mayonnaise combo will feel like you just learned the secret to perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Do yourself a favor and make your own Romesco sauce, and maybe double the recipe. You’re going to want a lot of leftovers to use it on other things!
Rustic sourdough bread, stuffed with cheese and asparagus and grilled to perfection! How can you pass this one up? This asparagus and cheese sandwich recipe was a wonderful change to the classic grilled cheese sandwich. The Romesco sauce added a nutty tomato taste that paired nicely with the Gruyère cheese. Adding roasted asparagus gave the sandwich a salty crunch…a much healthier option than potato chips! Complete this asparagus grilled cheese sandwich with a side salad and you have a scrumptious summer evening meal.
Originally published May 16, 2022