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Italian Grilled Cheese

March 11, 2019 by Nicole Collins

Are happy accidents the best, or what?

Seriously. Don’t you just love it when something fantastic comes from something totally unplanned? Like when you find a $20 bill in your coat pocket from last winter. Or, when you make the Walmart trip you’ve been dreading and end up bumping into an old friend.

That’s some of the purest joy right there, if you ask me.

Today’s recipe is 100% an example of a happy accident.

Here’s the story…I was actually working on testing another recipe when I accidentally created today’s sammie. I was trying to make a better version of a sandwich I had at a leadership retreat (and I’ll tell you all about that sandwich and experience soon). I was trying to recall some of the ingredients that were listed on the label of this sandwich that I wanted to copycat. I remembered seeing some kind of basil mayo on the sammie, though I definitely didn’t remember tasting it. Basil is one of those flavors that stands out; but even though I knew I didn’t remember it from the sandwich, I decided to whip up a super quick basil mayo anyway for my version of the sandwich.

Well, I liked my sammie better without it. So, here I was with a bowl of basil mayo and nothing to do with it.

Until the lightbulb went off!

I remembered some of the recipes I’d seen that used mayo to toast the bread of a grilled cheese instead of butter. I LOVE mayonnaise. Probably more than anyone should. But, for some reason I’ve always been a little hesitant to try this trick. So, I thought about some of the other ingredients I had in the fridge, decided to give this method a try, and that brings us to today’s recipe.

Today, we’re making Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

First of all, can we just take a second to admire the cheesepull? I mean really. That’s some cheesy goodness right there.

So, this sandwich is super simple to make. We start with some shredded mozzarella cheese. You know I’m an advocate for shredding your own cheese, but pre-shredded store bought cheese works perfectly for this. Pile it on a slice of bread, top it with some minced sun dried tomatoes, and we’re almost done with prep.

Now let’s talk about the basil mayo. That’s really all it is…fresh minced basil, mayonnaise, and pinch of garlic powder. The basil mayo gets schmeared on the outside of the sandwich just like you’d spread butter on the outsides of a grilled cheese. In the words of the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, “crust to crust is a must.” The mayo allows the bread to get crispy and golden while the little flecks of toasted basil add a fresh herbaceous quality to the sandwich. If I was ever unsure about toasting bread in mayo, I’m a total believer now!

These flavors are so classically Italian but so simple at the same time. For just 6 ingredients, you get a total explosion of flavor and comfort in your mouth all at the same time. And, you don’t need any more than 10 mins total to have an incredible sandwich on your hands. It doesn’t get much better than that.

See this accidental basil mayo just made everyone super happy! And hungry…

Alright guys, that’s all I’ve got for today. I think we’re going to stick with the Italian theme this week and have some more Italian flavored bread later in the week. Italian…carbs…cheese…you guys ok with that?

‘Til then…Ciao! And, let’s eat!


Italian Grilled Cheese

Serves: 2 Print


  • 4 slices white or wheat sandwich bread

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

  • 2 sun dried tomatoes, minced

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise

  • 2 tsp fresh basil, minced

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


  1. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, basil, and garlic powder. Mix, and set aside.

  2. Take once piece of bread, and top with ½ cup mozzarella and 1 chopped sun dried tomato. Top with another slice of bread. Spread about ½ tbsp mayonnaise mix crust to crust on both sides of the outside of the sandwich. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

  3. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Arrange sandwiches in the pan. Cook for 5-6 mins until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip, and cook for another 2-3 mins until the bottoms are golden brown. During the last minute, cover the skillet to completely melt the cheese. Remove from pan, and serve!

Recipe notes:

*You can make the basil mayonnaise in advance, and prepare the sandwiches as you're ready to eat them.

*It's ok if some of the shredded mozzarella slips out of the sandwich and into the skillet. The cheese will get nice and crispy as it attaches to the bottom of the bread. Mmmm...

*Using mayo in place of butter in a grilled cheese is It gets so crispy! But, if the idea weirds you out, feel free to swap out softened butter for the mayonnaise.

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