This healthier grilled cheese is a filling, cheesy, crispy sandwich chock-full of fiber and vitamins A and C that is a great go-to meal for busy weeknights!
This recipe was first published April 30,2013 and last updated September 11, 2020 with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change.
👩🏻🍳 Recipe Back Story
If you're a big fan of grilled cheese but you wish it could be a bit more nutritious, this recipe is for you! This healthy grilled cheese recipe retains the delicious creaminess of classic grilled cheese, but with the added benefit of extra nutrition and flavor.
The end result is a filling, cheesy, crispy sandwich chock-full of fiber and vitamins A and C. And with the arugula you also add a detoxifying, cancer-fighting superfood. Not bad for a dinner that you can prepare in 15-20 minutes!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- pure pumpkin - adds some extra nutrition and extra creaminess to the sandwiches' filling.
- cheddar cheese - if you like, use a cheese with a lower fat content for another way to up the health factor by reducing the fat content.
- salt - to balance out the pumpkin flavor.
- chili powder - for a little bit of heat.
- paprika - goes so well with the cheese and pumpkin flavors!
- white whole grain bread - using whole grain bread is another point in the healthy category.
- butter - just a smidge!
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, shredded cheese, salt, chili powder, and paprika.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread with the butter. Lay 4 of them on a baking sheet, buttered side down. Distribute about half of the pumpkin mixture among the 4 slices.
- Top each sandwich with a small handful of arugula.
- Distribute the rest of pumpkin mixture and spread over the arugula.
- Top each sandwich with another piece of bread, buttered side up.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, then flip your sandwiches and bake for another 6 minutes, or until they're golden brown and crispy.
It's probably best not to make these too far in advance, as grilled cheese is best enjoyed right out of the pan (or the oven, in this case). Luckily, this recipe will only take you 20 minutes from start to finish!
Absolutely! Because it has a mild flavor, it provides a hearty addition to the filling of the sandwiches so you don't have to load them up with cheese. These healthy grilled cheese sandwiches are especially good for the fall and winter months.
Feel free to substitute fresh spinach, or to leave out this ingredient entirely.
If you have leftovers, make sure the sandwiches come down to room temperature before storing them in the fridge. You can wrap them in foil or store in an airtight container.
There are a couple of options. If you need something fast, you could go with the microwave, but this won't result in a very good texture for your bread. If you don't mind a little bit of extra time, throwing them in a hot pan or back into the oven for 10 minutes or so. This will ensure that your bread gets crispy and your cheese gets melty again!
- You can always use whatever kind of cheese works best for you. Some pepper jack would add an extra kick to these healthy grilled cheese sandwiches, or mozzarella would make for a creamier, milder flavor.
- The bread is also totally customizable, and if you prefer something like a whole wheat, 12-grain, or even just regular white bread, those would taste just as good. Sourdough would be amazing!
- If you're looking to cut out as much fat as you can, pre-toast the bread. This way, you won't have to add very much buttery spread for the sandwiches to get crispy.
🥪 More Grilled Cheese Recipes
If this healthier grilled cheese recipe has you in the mood for more, check out these other great recipes! This Air Fryer Avocado Grilled Cheese is perfect, and there are so many other options as well!
Love pumpkin? For a unique yet totally tasty pumpkin option, try my Bacon and Pumpkin Pasta dish. It's really easy to make, too!
🥗 Suggested Side Dishes
Here are a few more more side dish ideas to pair with your healthy grilled cheese sandwiches!
Healthier Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe
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📋 Recipe Card
Cheddar Pumpkin Healthier Grilled Cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cheese wedges, pumpkin, shredded cheese, salt, chili powder, and paprika.1 cup 100% pure pumpkin, ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ½ teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Butter one side of each of the 8 slices of bread with the buttery spread.8 slices white whole grain bread, butter
- Lay 4 slices on a baking sheet, butter side down. Distribute about half of the pumpkin mixture among the 4 slices.
- Top with a small handful of arugula.2 cups arugula
- Distribute the remaining pumpkin mixture over the arugula.
- Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread, butter side up.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes, then flip sandwiches and bake for 6 more minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
- No arugula? You can use fresh spinach, or even skip it entirely.
- Use whatever bread you have on hand. Regular white, whole grain, or sourdough are great substitutions for white whole wheat!
- You can substitute whatever buttery spread you prefer for the the butter.
- Try mozzarella cheese or pepper jack to change this recipe up a bit.
- If desired, try adding a dash of cayenne pepper for some zing!
- Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The recommended method to reheat is either in a skillet or in the over (350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes).
Nutritional information is an estimate. The nutritional values for your final dish may vary based on measuring differences and products used.
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