Mini Grilled Cheeses

Mini grilled cheese sandwiches make a fun snack or appetizer. Topped with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, fresh mozzarella, and sautéed mushrooms. Vegetarian.

Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches // Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches //

I finally caved… here’s my contribution for this silly thing called National Grilled Cheese month. Grilled cheese is probably Jack’s favorite food, so it was pretty mean of me to keep this “holiday” a secret until this close to the end. Now that I spilled the beans, it’s likely we might see a special contribution from him before the end of April. (although maybe don’t hold your breath for it).

The ingredient list below seems really long, but it all comes together pretty quickly. Feel free to skip any of the components you don’t feel like making. And if you’re vegan, you can leave out the cheese entirely and just make a mushroom & pesto grilled sandwich.

I’ve been seeing a lot of variations of pesto lately using miso paste, so I was interested to try that out. I’m not sure I could actually taste it in there, so feel free to just use salt if you don’t have miso paste on hand. This pesto is half arugula because I’m waiting for my basil plant to fully come back to life, so I was short the 3 full cups of basil. Feel free to use all basil or another herb or leafy green you might have on hand.

mini grilled cheeses

for the sandwiches:
  • mini ciabatta rolls (slightly trim off the "roll" top), or another bread of your choice
  • fresh mozzarella slices (1 big slice per mini-sandwich)
  • a few sundried tomatoes, chopped
basil & arugula pesto:
  • 1.5 packed cups basil
  • 1.5 packed cups arugula
  • ⅓ c. toasted walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon miso (if you don't have miso, just use salt, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or agave)
  • pepper to taste
caramelized onions:
  • sliced yellow onion
  • splash of olive oil
  • splash of balsamic
  • splash of honey or agave
  • pinches of salt
balsamic mushrooms:
  • splash of olive oil
  • splash of balsamic
  • pinches of salt
  1. for the pesto: In a food processor, blend all pesto ingredients together except the olive oil. After everything is combined, drizzle in olive oil while the food processor is running. Taste and adjust. If its bland, add some salt and pepper. If it's too tangy, add more honey or sweetener, if it's not tangy enough add more vinegar or lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. For the caramelized onions: In a medium sized skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and salt and saute until translucent. Add balsamic and honey (or agave) and saute until they cook down and are brown and caramelized (about 4 more minutes). Set aside.
  3. For the balsamic mushrooms: In a separate medium sized skillet (or wipe out the one from the onions), heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and cook down for 5 minutes or so, careful to not burn them to the bottom of the pan. Add a splash of balsamic to deglaze. If mushrooms are sticking, add a little more oil, or a few splashes of water to loosen them up. Cook until they're browned and wilted down. Set aside.
  4. Assemble the sandwiches: I actually grilled these open faced - the side with the cheese longer (so the cheese could sufficiently melt), the side with the pesto, not as long (so the pesto wouldn't dry out or become bitter), and then put the 2 sides together, pressing down gently to get them to stick.


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  1. cassie from

    I adore this! I am planning to post a grilled cheese on Wednesday, barely making it into “the month” but it was well worth the wait, as is this one. I love the flavor combo!

  2. Shannalee from

    You make grilled cheese look so good!

  3. ileana from

    I’ve never seen grilled cheese look so cute. Is it the mini-ness of it? Anyway, looks tasty!

    • jeanine

      I love everything mini 🙂

  4. Maria from

    Love the minis and you can’t go wrong with mushrooms and pesto! Yum!

  5. Such fantastic flavour combinations! So many delicious things in that sandwich. I don’t think I could handle it. *hehe* Thanks for sharing!

  6. Carolyn from

    I caved to Grilled Cheese Month back in 2009 I think, and it’s still a very popular post — so hopefully you’ll be richly rewarded for your decision.

    These little umami bombs look so good I want to make them this second (even though…or maybe because?…it’s 12:30 a.m. here in London).

    Your site is so beautifully designed, too. I feel like I just made a trip to Balthazar without leaving my desk, and there’s isn’t much better than that in the world.

  7. Kasey from

    I love how you used miso in the pesto! Definitely something I’m going to need to try. Also, love love love the layout of the sandwiches. Clever, cute and sleek, all at the same time.

  8. I usually scoff at the idea of national food days or months but grilled cheese month… I’m into that. Grilled cheese sandwiches are really the only sandwiches I love! This one looks fantastic, beautifully done.

  9. erin from

    So, mushrooms and I don’t get along but seriously, this looks amazing. Like so amazing that I’d probably give mushrooms another try!

  10. Absolutely stunning- They look almost too cute to eat!! But seriously, I would eat them ALL.


  11. Uh, yum. This is like an elevated grilled cheese. And they’re also adorable! Mini anything wins.

  12. adrienne from

    I agree with Melissa, nice photos + typography! Now I’m in the mood for a grilled cheese…

  13. rheanna

    oh my goodness! i finally got around to trying this recipe tonight and it is the most deliciousest grilled cheese ever! yum and many thanks!!

  14. Angela

    Hi – sorry to be a pain but the amount of mushrooms is missing from the ingredients list. I’m quite happy to eyeball it but it’d be nice to know what sort of ratio of balsamic to mushroom you had going on as I always end up not tasting the vinegar or swamped in stickiness!

    • jeanine

      oops! Thanks for noticing that one :). I used one 8 oz. carton of sliced mushrooms (equivalent to about 1.5 cups). The “splash” of balsamic I use is probably between 1/2 – 1 tablespoon. I don’t cook the balsamic long enough to become syrup-ey – just a few minutes until the mushrooms are done.

      • Angela

        Brilliant – thank you!

  15. Shayne from

    I adore this recipe. Simple and uber yummy. Keep it up. I love most of ur recipe. Besos

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A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.