grilled cheddar cheese on whole grain bread

Whole Grain Grilled Cheese with Dill Pickles and Caramelized Onions

Give your grilled cheese an upgrade

This whole grain grilled cheese is my attempt to give a healthy twist to a classic sandwich. Like any red-blooded American, I love a grilled cheese on white bread. (A soft, Italian loaf works particularly well.) But I also appreciate the depth of flavor you can get from grilled cheese on a whole grain bread. The choice of a hearty, seeded whole grain loaf brings things like fiber and vitamin E to your sandwich. But it also enhances the flavor and texture. The flavor of whole grains give balance to the direct, salty, tangy flavor of the cheese. And unlike a white bread, which can go mushy if you’re not careful, whole grain gives your sandwich a chewy, filling texture. And I’m a firm believer that the shock of multiple textures to the tongue can help make a dish more sexy. 

Of course, I love a dish with balance and I think the sweetness of caramelized onions plus the sharp tang of dill pickles help to turn grilled cheese from a comfort food to a sensational flavor experience.

Make grilled cheese night an event and serve it with wine

To enhance your grilled cheese experience, I recommend trying a new wine from my Wine of the Week column. Which one would I recommend? I think you’ll find quite a few gems there that will bring your taste buds joy. But, although it might surprise you to hear it, I enjoy a crisp Champagne like this one when I make this sandwich.

5 from 2 votes
grilled cheddar cheese on whole grain bread
whole grain grilled cheese with dill pickles and caramelized onions
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

This recipe gives grilled cheese an upgrade by combining it with the crunch of dill pickles and the sweetness of caramelized onions, all served on a great, seedy loaf. 

Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grilled Cheese
Dish Type: sandwich
Seasonal: autumn, Father's Day, Halloween, winter
Ingredient: cheese
Servings: 2
Created by: Annette Tomei
For the Panini filling:
  • 4 slices your favorite whole grain bread with seeds
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c grated cheddar (for the more adventurous palate Cotswald makes a nice twist on the flavor)
  • 1/4 c caramelized onions see recipe below
  • 8 slices sandwichdill pickle or bread and butter pickles to cover bread
For the caramelized onions:
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • salt
For the Panini:
  1. Preheat Panini press or heat pan on stove top to medium heat.
  2. Butter the outside of each bread slice. Top 2 unbuttered slices with onion mixture and pickles. Divide cheese between the two sandwiches. Top with remaining bread.
  3. If using a saute pan, cook on the first side for 2-3 minutes and 1-2 minutes on second side or until both sides are golden and cheese is melted. In a Panini press, cook until grill marks are achieved on both sides.
For the caramelized onions:
  1. Heat saute pan over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onions.
  2. Salt lightly to begin the caramelization process.
  3. Sweat onions for 5 minutes then add a smoked salt (I use Chef's Salt Bacon BBQ).
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

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Whole Grain Grilled Cheese with Dill Pickles and Caramelized Onions


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