The Oozy, Greasy Grilled American Cheese Sandwich, Vegan Style

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Before becoming Vegan, I was never a really big cheese fan. I loved nice melty mozzarella, like on a pizza or in parmesan dishes, and parmesan topped onto dishes like stuffed bell peppers. I liked cottage cheese, and lasagna with these other cheeses and ricotta, but not too much else. Follow Your Heart American Cheese Style Cheese AlternativeAny stronger cheese, like jack, cheddar, feta, goat, blue etc., literally made me sick. But, what I liked most of all, was plain, bland to most, basically processed, American cheese, and I loved nothing more than a greasy, oozy, crisp on top and soft in the middle, Grilled American Cheese sandwich.

Vegan cheeses have been problematic for me. For my first few years, most I found possessing all of the bad elements of “real” cheese, and none of the good. But lately, Vegan cheeses have gotten much better, and there is a place near home that has really good Vegan “mozzarella” on their pizza, and Gardein has an excellent pepperoni pizza pocket with their version of mozzarella as well.

But, the very best I’ve found so far, is Follow Your Heart American Cheese Style Cheese Alternative, which looks and tastes EXACTLY like American cheese slices.

While preparing for a trip to Seattle to stay with my Vegan Daughter and Son-In-Law, my daughter asked me on the phone if I’d like an American Cheese grilled cheese sandwich while I was there, and should she buy the cheese. YES! Absolutely yes, if it’s any good. It was, she and my son-in-law assured me.

Well, while in Seattle, one day for lunch, she made us American Cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, and they were amazing! They tasted just like the real thing, and the sandwiches she made, using a contact grill, in fact a Cuisinart Griddler, were every bit as good as any I’d ever had, made from real cheese.

Upon returning home a few days later, I began my search for Follow Your Heart American Cheese Style Cheese Alternative, but I was stymied. I looked in the local markets that generally had the best selections of Vegan items, and could not find it. I went to the Follow Your HeartVegan Grilled American Cheese Sandwich website, and saw that the closest markets that they knew of that stocked it, were several miles away. But, this week, lo and behold, while perusing the small Vegan section at the local Von’s Market, a small Southern California chain that had been owned by Safeway, then by Hagen, and now by Albertson’s, I saw it! And today was the day to prepare for the first time in years, a grilled cheese sandwich.

I have a secret for making a great grilled cheese sandwich, in a fry pan and not with an electric contact grill, Griddler or otherwise, and that is (am I giving this up?) to “butter” both sides of each piece of bread. And of course by “butter” I do not mean “butter”, but rather the best Vegan butter substitute there is, Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread. The result is that the buttery spread seeps into the bread and merges with the cheese on the inside, and crisps up the outside that touches the hot pan. It worked wonderfully with real cheese years ago, but there was one problem, that was quickly solved, with Vegan cheese.

Vegan cheese, regardless of brand or quality, just does not seem to melt as quickly as real cheese. So, when the bread was getting browned, the cheese was yet to melt. So, before the bread got too well done, I took the sandwich out from the pan, and put in in the microwave for 30 seconds – just long enough to melt the cheese but not long enough to disrupt the texture or doneness of the bread. I then returned the sandwich to the hot pan, and finished the browning and grilling, to perfection.

Vegan Grilled American Cheese LunchMy sandwich was sensational, every bit as good as the one I remembered and longed for after enjoying it so much in Seattle. And I’ve got several more to look forward to in the next several days.

In true grilled cheese fashion, I had a cup of soup and potato chips along with my delicious, oozy, greasy grilled cheese sandwich.

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