Healthy Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Avocado & Spinach

by Alena
Oct 27, 2020

What’s better than some sad and boring toast for lunch? A healthy vegan grilled cheese sandwich with avocado, spinach and cashew mayo!

Yes, this is another delicious classic gone whole food plant-based vegan — no animal products or processed ingredients in this ooey gooey green goddess sandwiches.

It’s probably safe to say that you cannot go wrong with this family-friendly recipe and now, you can make it secretly vegan for everyone to enjoy.

There are a lot of ways to recreate cheesy flavor on a fully plant-based diet; just see our dairy-free lasagna, mac and cheese or 7-layer dip with low-fat nacho cheese.

But this vegan cheese sauce recipe is different from all the other ones we’ve shared due to a special ingredient that makes it stretchy and able to melt!

Perfect for anyone on a healthy weight loss journey or for those wanting to enjoy more veggie-rich plant-based meals, our ultimate healthy vegan grilled cheese sandwich with spinach, avocado and sprouts offers something for everyone.

Layered with different textures and flavors, it’s highly customizable (delicious vegan filling ideas listed below!) and completely made from scratch — if you want. Otherwise, grab your favorite vegan cheese slices and skip one or two steps in the preparation process.

If you’ve been in need of a delicious vegan lunch idea or kid-friendly recipe, this is it. And if you’re short on time, you can just toast your sandwich, add some raw veggies, smoked tofu and homemade cheese sauce and you’re done!

Now, let’s see why we think this is the best vegan grilled cheese sandwich and take a look at some basic information on how to build a healthy vegan grilled cheese from scratch (hello, customization!) as well as all the exact steps you need to follow.

The Best Healthy Vegan Grilled Cheese With Avocado

Every mouthful is just pure bliss with all of these textures and flavors coming together! You can spice up your cheese sauce by adding some smoked paprika, herbs or soy sauce.

We love our veg grilled cheese sandwiches on their own, with tomato or veggie soup, potato salad, sweet potato fries or oil-free tortilla chips.

How to Build a Super Healthy Grilled Cheese

Let’s see what to include and exclude when building a delicious and healthy grilled cheese sandwich — because things can easily go one way or the other.

First of all, we want this to be a vegan, cholesterol-free grilled cheese. This means skipping the butter and cow’s milk cheese slices. No worries though, this will still result in a fantastic and flavorful healthy grilled cheese!

We’ll also omit the buttery spread on the sandwich and cooking oil in the pan to reduce the refined and higher saturated fat components. You can do that by using a non-stick skillet or pan — but a spritz of avocado oil for cooking is ok, too.

Now, let’s make sure to fill this beautiful grilled cheese sandwich with tons of vegetables! Choose your favorite types if you like but our recipe calls for avocado, spinach, green onion and microgreens. Pure green goddess goodness! (say this three times in a row)

You also want to pay attention to the bread itself, of course. From fluffy white and sugar-laden to grainy, brown and heavy, there are too many types you could use!

The closer to a whole food vegan bread you can get, the better. Shoot for whole grain, no added sugar and a reasonable sodium content. We also love sprouted or sourdough breads as well as homemade gluten-free buckwheat bread which is sturdy and nutty.

In any case, use a medium-thick slice (about ½ inch) so it doesn’t get super dry or burn when cooked.

Finally, we personally like to bump up the protein content and add more flavor and texture to our sandwiches by adding some sliced tofu or tempeh!

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ingredients

Remember, many of these components can be swapped if you’re not into such a veggie-forward grilled cheese or want your favorite go-to bread.

If you haven’t been keen on tofu yet, maybe this slice of deliciously smoked tofu in your sandwich could sway you!

Dairy-Free Beginner’s Guide

How to Make Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Avocado

Once you’ve gathered all of the ingredients you want to use for your healthy vegan grilled cheese, it’s time to get started!

Now, you can use whatever veggies and fillings you like — however, we usually like to keep things simple. Just follow our lead or choose from the extensive list of delicious vegan sandwich fillings below.

Get a skillet and put the sliced zucchini together with the tofu on it, heat thoroughly for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes.

Move on to making your easy meltable vegan cheese sauce by whisking all of the ingredients listed below together in a saucepan, bring it to a boil and then whisk until the mixture thickens.

If you want to skip that step, you can use any vegan cheese slices or shreds you already have at home!

Now, assemble your healthy vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, starting with your cashew mayo, followed by the sliced zucchini and tofu. Drizzle with some vegan cheese sauce, then top everything with fresh spinach, green onion and microgreens or sprouts.

Add some avocado slices and a final serving of cheese sauce, then close the sandwiches with a slice of bread each.

Make sure to cover the entire slices with enough cashew mayo and cheese sauce, including all of the edges so each bite will be full of flavor. Depending on the size of your slices, you may need a larger quantity than what we’ve used.

Take your cast-iron or non-stick skillet from earlier, heat it up over medium and once it’s nice and warm, add your sandwiches. No oil or vegan butter needed to make this work!

Press the grilled cheese sandwiches down with a spatula, then cover your skillet with a lid and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes. Our recipe doesn’t require as much cooking time compared to cheese slices because we use some already melted cheese sauce!

When this time has elapsed, flip your sandwiches and repeat until a golden crust is visible on both sides.

By the way, you can also use a toastie grill to get some deep lines on your grilled cheese sandwich!

Healthy Low-Fat Cheese Sauce

Tips Around This Recipe

Now, when making the best vegan grilled cheese sandwich, there are a few things to keep in mind. Let’s go over them so you can enjoy your perfect sandwich in a heartbeat!

First of all, you want to let your pan or skillet heat up before adding your sandwich to allow the fillings to thoroughly warm without your bread starting to burn.

At the same time, don’t turn up the heat too much and be sure to add a lid on top to help the cheese melt.

Vegan Sandwich Fillings

Plant-based sandwiches never have to get boring! Just because there are no animal products doesn’t mean that you’ll miss out on flavorful, colorful and scrumptious fillings. Check out these!

Please note that we almost always make our vegan grilled cheese with homemade cheese sauce and don’t use any store-bought vegan cheese slices or shreds.

But if you personally like to pick some up at the store, recommended brands include Follow Your Heart, Daiya, Simply V, Violife, Miyoko’s Kitchen, 365 Plant-Based and Field Roast.

More Tasty Vegan Lunch Ideas

We all need some more ideas for plant-based goodness we can make once the midday munchies kick in! How about trying these scrumptious whole food vegan recipes next:

Have you tried our healthy vegan grilled cheese sandwiches? Share with us in the comments below and rate our recipe! You can also Pin it here or tag us on Instagram if you’ve made it — we’d love to see your creations.

Healthy Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yield: 3 sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Scrumptious green goddess vegan grilled cheese sandwich with avocado, spinach and sprouts layered between cashew mayo and a healthy homemade cheese sauce! Completely dairy-free, oil-free and gluten-free, these are the perfect crowd-pleasing and secretly vegan sandwiches to start eating more veggies in the form of a delicious and versatile lunch.

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bread (whole grain or gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, cut into slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ½ inch thick lengthwise slices
  • ½ cup fresh spinach
  • 4 oz smoked tofu, sliced (about 100 g)
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 3 tbsp cashew mayo
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Microgreens or sprouts

Homemade Cheese Sauce*

  • ⅔ cup (about 150 ml) full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place the zucchini and tofu slices on a heated grill skillet, cook for 3 minutes then flip over and cook for 3 more minutes. Transfer on a plate.

Make the Cheese Sauce

  1. Whisk all the ingredients for the melting cheese in a saucepan, then heat it over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for a minute until the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and start putting your sandwiches together.

Assemble the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  1. Lay your slices of bread side by side and spread one tablespoon of cashew mayo onto each of the three bottom slices.
  2. Continue layering the folded grilled zucchini and tofu slices, then drizzle with about 2 tsp of the melting cheese sauce.
  3. Top with fresh spinach, green onion and sprouts, then add one more tablespoon of cheese sauce and the sliced avocado.
  4. Close with a slice of bread and repeat until you have created three loaded green cheese sandwiches.
  5. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the sandwiches once it is warm. We usually do this without any oil but you can add some avocado oil or vegan butter here.
  6. Press your vegan cheese sandwiches with a spatula for a couple of seconds, then cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes until a golden crust has formed.
  7. Flip the cheese sandwiches and repeat the process, then remove them from the skillet, slice and serve warm.

Notes

  • *You don’t need that whole cup of homemade vegan cheese sauce for the 3 sandwiches, so store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When you want to reheat it, add some more plant-based milk.
  • Use your favorite medium-thick sliced bread for this sandwich and choose from the plethora of delicious vegan sandwich fillings we listed in the article above.
  • Feel free to just make it an open-faced green goddess sandwich with drizzled cheese sauce!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 967mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 11gSugar: 6gProtein: 19g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

Did you make this recipe?

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Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

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2 thoughts on “Healthy Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Avocado & Spinach”

    • they are usually next to any other tofu at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or even Asian Markets :) we’re located in Germany so I cannot tell you anything very specific, unfortunately.

      Reply

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