Vegan Grilled Cheese
The Childhood Classic that we all know and love gets a Vegan Makeover!
I used to eat these by the handful as a kid. However, since going vegan, I admittedly haven't made them much. I think I was dismayed at how hard it was to get the vegan cheese to melt before burning the bread. One mistake I was making was putting the sandwich in a hot skillet. You actually want to start with a cold skillet and cook on medium low. I recommend grilling on each side for at least 5 minutes, and maybe even closer to 8 or so. It takes a little while, but it's totally worth it!
Other than that, this is pretty straight forward. This is more a blog post than a recipe since it's so simple and there's a lot of ways you can customize it. Below is a video and I'll break it down after that as well.
So I typically use white bread, Texas Toast or some kind of thick sliced bread works best. Sourdough is also a good choice. Really any bread you like will work! Most bread around me is vegan, just watch out for Brioche, Hawaiian, or anything with Honey or Butter in the name.
For the Cheese, I like Daiya American slices. I also experimented and made some vegan American slices by melting some shredded Violife with some water and some Sodium Citrate (as an emulsifier) and then added it to a square silicon mold. I didn't find that there was much difference between freezing it for 2 hours or overnight. If you freeze it for 2 hours, it'll be a thick spreadable cheese. If you let it go overnight, you can then let it soften for a bit, then slice on a mandolin. Either way, this was my favorite way to go for the cheese, the texture was so velvety and just perfect!
If you want to make the cheese spread / slices try this out (this makes a lot of cheese so adjust accordingly)
8 oz vegan cheese shreds
4 oz water
1/2 tsp Sodium Citrate
Add the water and sodium citrate to a pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then add in your vegan cheese. Whisk until fully melted.
To make it like Chef John, you can grill shredded cheese on the outside too! However I found this to be kinda greasy, I have a better option by using a vegan Cheeto style ingredient!
You want to let your butter come to room temperature so it spreads easily on your bread. If you don't have time for this, you can microwave it in 5-8 second increments. Just make sure you check it often as it will melt very quickly.
You want to spread a nice even layer of butter on your bread. Try to get total coverage, don't use too much, but don't use too little either!
I loved everything about the Chef John Grilled Cheese except how greasy it was. I crushed up some Dragon Puffs by Vegan Rob's, then covered the butter with them, and that came out PHENOMENAL! Easily my favorite Grilled Cheese ever! You get a cruncy, cheesy crust but no added grease!
If you're in the UK, there's a variety of Cheetos that are accidentally plant-based. Just look for the Flamin Hot Flavour Puffs. Check the back to be sure, but as of this writing they have no animal products in them.
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