Grilled Swiss and Roasted Fennel Sandwich

The grilled cheese sandwich is not some idle obsession or Pinterest fantasy. It plays a valuable role in my life.

The grilled cheese sandwich always delivers. There are foods, like soup or yogurt, that automatically lead to a craving for more: dessert, steak, whatever. Technically, the yogurt and the soup provide plenty of calories to satiate a sedentary blogger, but in reality, they’re somehow not enough.

My mom once gave me a piece of advice: only eat what you like. (I’ve written more about staying healthy as a food lover in this post.) That applies both to unhealthful food and healthful food: I avoid yogurt and donuts with the same passion. When I eat food I really like, I feel great, whether it’s ice cream or quinoa.

And so I gravitate towards this sandwich, a sandwich that may seem less healthful by The Pyramid’s standards, a sandwich I know some health-conscious people treat as a treat. But it’s a sandwich that leaves me satisfied. Every time.

Because grilled vegetables also fit my dietary requirement of being food that I like, Alex and I often roast or sauté a cornucopia of veggies early in the week. That way, even if things get rushed later, we have a source of vitamins and minerals to supplement the rest of our diet should it reduce down to bread, cheese, eggs, beans, and rice.

The roasted vegetables–here, roasted fennel–find their home in between nutty Jarslberg and salty Parmesan, and then in between two slices of crisped whole-grain bread.

I don’t stay all that up to date on foods of the month or the day, but it has been brought to my attention that April is Grilled Cheese Month, and so, hey, here you go.

From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,



Grilled Swiss and Roasted Fennel Sandwich
Serves 1

You can make the fennel up to a couple days in advance.

1 medium bulb fennel, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 slices whole grain bread (or your favorite bread)
4 teaspoons butter
2 ounces Jarlsberg cheese, grated
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the fennel bulb in half and use your knife to cut out the triangular core and discard. Slice each half into 4 to 6 wedges.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the fennel, olive oil, and salt. Spread the fennel on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 mintes, until browned and tender.

Lightly toast both slices of bread. Mix together the Jarlsberg and Parmesan in a small bowl. Pile half the shredded cheese on each side. Press about 5 slices of fennel down on top of one half (you may have a couple extra). Carefully top with the second cheese-covered slice.

Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Carefully place the sandwich in the pan and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula or a panini weight, until the cheese has started to melt and the bread is golden and crispy, 4-5 minutes. Lift the sandwich with the spatula and add the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter to the pan. Flip the sandwich and return it to the pan. Cook another 4-5 minutes, pressing down, until the cheese is gooey and the second side is golden.

Place on a plate, cut in half, and eat immediately.


  1. Hi Cara,

    This sounds fabulous! Love your tips for including more veggies in your menu (by roasting or grilling ahead of time…brilliant!). And the flavor profiles here are just divine. Thanks for including the Jarlsberg! I’ll be sure to share on our facebook page and via Twitter.


  2. Great combo, and thanks for the tip…roasting those veggies ensures no wilted or wasted ones at end of the week!

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