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Grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect when you want a warm lunch, but not a lot of trouble. On drizzly days, it's my go-to with a bowl of homemade tomato soup or this roasted eggplant soup made with roasted tomatoes.
You can keep it simple with just cheese, or add some sliced tomatoes. If I have spicy pepper jam on hand, I slather some on one of the slices of bread. And if I have Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes on hand, they're perfect on an gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
But one of my favorite is this grilled cheese sandwich with tomatoes and harissa mayonnaise.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Harissa - either purchase it in the ethnic foods aisle of your grocery store, or make your own harissa. There's a big range of spiciness in harissa, and I like Mina Harissa as it's spicy, but not too much.
- Bread - use your favorite, whether it's whole grain bread with seeds or white bread.
- Cheddar cheese - or use a combination of cheeses. I like the combination of cheddar with either Monterey Jack cheese, Pepper Jack or Fontina cheese.
- Tomatoes - Plum tomatoes (Roma tomatoes) or larger tomatoes are perfect in this sandwich. I don't recommend cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Unsalted butter - for the pan.
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🔪 Recommended Equipment
Having the right equipment for recipes makes prepping soooo much easier. If you want more fuss-free prepping and cooking, check out my updated list of favorite kitchen tools and equipment.
👩🍳 Preparation Tips
- I recommend using two different cheeses together for a greater depth of flavor, but it's not absolutely necessary.
- Grating your own cheese means the cheese will melt better. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose to keep it from caking together. It also mutes the cheese flavor.
- The amount of cheese is dependent on the size of bread slices you're using. My rule of thumb is to have enough grated cheese to cover the bread to the approximate thickness of 3 slices of traditional American cheese.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- Roast the tomatoes, with or without balsamic vinegar.
- Experiment with the cheeses you use. Just make sure they're melty cheeses.
- If you want this sandwich spicier, swap out the harissa for chipotle peppers in adobo. If you want it less spicy, eliminate the harissa and use Pepper Jack cheese. Want it completely un-spicy? Eliminate the harissa and use mild cheeses.
📇 More Vegetarian Sandwiches You Might Like
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomatoes and Harissa Mayonnaise
- Chef's knife
- box grater
- Griddle or large skillet
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons harissa
- 4 slices sandwich bread
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 tomato slices
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Stir together the mayonnaise and harissa. Spread onto 4 slices of bread.
- Pile the grated cheese onto two of the slices of bread, and flatten. Be sure you have good coverage on the bread. Top with tomatoes slices. 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, and add additional butter if needed. Loosely cover the skillet, and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.
- Remove, slice in half and serve warm.