Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Harissa Mayonnaise

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Grilled cheese sandwich with roasted tomatoes and harissa mayonnaise, vegetarian, omnivore option, kid-friendly

Another way to use those Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes I made last week!

Most days, I eat reasonably healthy; but some days, you know, I just don’t want to. It may be the mood I’m in; other times it’s all about the weather, making me crave something gooey and soft, full of flavors and textures from my childhood. Yesterday we had a drizzle that lasted all day. I tucked myself under our big table umbrella on the patio for this grilled cheese lunch, listened to raindrops softly kiss the Japanese maple leaves around me, and watched luscious yellow roses droop and then collapse with a silent poof! as large, soft petals drifted to the patio. It was so peaceful, and slightly cool, making this melty sandwich the perfect counterbalance to the day.

A Few Cooking Notes:

Use your favorite cheese, but I recommend two cheeses for same reason I always use two different kinds of apples when I make apple pies. Two different cheeses offer different melting characteristics, and a greater depth of flavor. I find this particularly important on this sandwich as the roasting of the tomatoes really amps up the tomato in the sandwich, and needs balanced.

If you don’t like things too spicy, adjust the harissa content in the mayonnaise down, or just use mayonnaise. Another option is my Avocado Cream. I’ve used it on this sandwich with great success. If you like things a little spicier, you can add more harissa (obviously), or add chipotle peppers in adobo to the mayo instead of the harissa.

You can purchase harissa in the condiments section of many grocery stores, or the International section. Or, you can just make your own.

The amount of cheese is somewhat approximate, since it largely depends on the size of the bread you’re using. Rule of thumb with this sandwich is to ensure good coverage of the bread, and the same thickness grated as three slices of traditional American cheese. Otherwise, the roasted tomatoes will overwhelm the flavor of the cheese.

Turf ‘n Turf: Cooking for the Vegetarian – Omnivore Table

Add two slices of crispy bacon per sandwich. To. Die. For. per the resolute omnivore in my home.

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Harissa Mayonnaise

     by Susan Pridmore

     Makes 2 sandwiches

       Prep Time: 5 minutes (if tomatoes are already roasted)

       Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 2/3 cup grated your favorite cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and fontina)
  • 4 roasted tomato halves thickly sliced
  • 2 slices of bacon (for the omnivore’s sandwich)
  • butter


Stir together the mayonnaise and harissa. Spread onto the bread.

Pile the grated cheese onto two of the slices of bread, and add the sliced tomatoes. Add the bacon for the omnivore’s sandwich, and top with the remaining two bread slices.

Melt a little butter in a heated skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and loosely cover. Cook for five minutes. Flip, using a spatula, loosely cover, and cook for another five minutes.

Remove and slice in half.

I served mine with a large green salad with avocado slices, dressed with oil, vinegar and mustard.


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  1. says

    Roasted balsamic tomatoes! I love balsamic anything – gotta try this! The picture is gorgeous. I thought there was a fig inside at first. Maybe I’ll try that too 🙂

  2. Juls says

    So what brand of cheese do you use that is vegetarian? I haven’t found any vegan that taste very good and those that do not use rennet on the “list” are pricey as all get out???

    • says

      Good question Juls. All cheese is vegetarian, but not necessarily vegan. The difference is that straight- up vegetarian (versus ovo-vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian) only eliminates animals from the diet. Vegan broadens it to include all animal products like dairy and even honey. Some of my dishes are vegan, but I eat cheese and eggs. I haven’t tried any of the cheese alternatives. Like you say they are super expensive !! Sorry I can’t help you on this !!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Harissa MayonnaiseMy Profile

      • Juls says

        Actually, it depends on your definition of vegetarian. Most commercial cheese is made with rennet, the mucus lining of animals, normally unborn, to help the fermentation process. This adds a level other than lactose to the mix that can make most cheese not vegetarian. Personally, once I found out that was the process I really haven’t been able to stomach it even though I really love cheese and have no issue with milk or eggs. My conversion to vegetarian is not one of principle but driven by health needs. However, I am leaning to the side of NOT eating cheese unless it’s made with plant enzymes rather than animal.

        • says

          Really good information Juls ! I’m mostly vegetarian, but not completely (I frequently have fish when I eat out, and thus the wimpy vegetarian moniker), but rarely have meat or fish at home. My decision to go this direction is a combination of health issues, environmental concerns, and principle, and it’s been more of an evolutional process than revolutional decision, if that makes sense, and it’s still in progress. I really appreciate you sharing the information on the rennet. I knew it was an animal product, but not much more than that, and was just operating from one of the (many) definitions of vegetarian that includes all dairy, eggs, and honey. I’m not going to quit eating cheese today, to be honest, but I am going to join your investigation into cheeses made with plant enzymes so I can identify ones I like that I can switch to. And it’s time to start to decrease my cheese intake, which my cholesterol will undoubtedly be grateful for as well. Thank you !!
          The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Harissa MayonnaiseMy Profile

  3. says

    Until I started experimenting with this dish, I hadn’t had a grilled cheese sandwich in years. Not so great for my cholesterol, I’m sure. But this sandwich has been in my head for months now. And making it reminded me how much I LOVE these sandwiches. I seems to me that every once in awhile I should be able to splurge on this treat 🙂
    The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Harissa MayonnaiseMy Profile

  4. says

    This sandwich looks incredible, Susan. I was craving a section when I saw it on FB the other day. And the suggestion to add bacon is perfect for those that love a little crunchy bacon flavor;)

    • says

      Thanks so much Lora !! I’m in the middle of two moves right now, but am thinking of rolls I might want to link into your Twelve Loaves this week. I’m throwing a going party for our house this weekend, so it’s the perfect time!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Roasted StrawberriesMy Profile

  5. says

    Oh my gosh!!! This sandwich looks absolutely amazing! I love harissa. I’ve become a little addicted to it in recent months, especially added to thick Greek yoghurt as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish or roasted potatoes. I’ll definitely try this sandwich. Grilled cheese is such a comforting, delicious option for any meal (even breakfast, I reckon!)
    laurasmess recently posted..Curing Olives (and an Introduction to Hippy Vic)My Profile

    • says

      I love, love, love harissa. I make it now, since I’m using so much on so many things. Love the idea of adding it to yogurt and tossing with roasted potatoes. I’ve got some of these little guys in the refrigerator from a party that this would be perfect for. And the sandwich? Killer. If you like grilled cheese, and you like harissa and roasted tomatoes, this is right up your alley! Just subscribed to your blog too 🙂 Love it!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Berry-Pineapple Salad with Ginger Poppyseed Dressing #TheSaladBarMy Profile

  6. says

    Oh this looks FABULOUS! Sometimes comfort food is exactly what you need on a rainy summer day, and there’s no comfort food quite like a cheesy, delicious sandwich!

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