Ever gone to a restaurant and fallen instantly in love? Well that was my experience at Ecliptic Brewing here in Portland. Not only do they have craft beer (an instant winner in my book), they have several veggie options and play really cool oldies music. They even have a Spock Dry-Hopped beer in honor of Leonard Nimoy. Definitely a fall-in-love kind of place.
But the best part wasn’t even the beer, or the music, or the cool atmosphere. It was this incredibly gooey-melty, crunchy, creamy, delicious beet melt they had on the menu. Not vegan (the cheese was definitely real) but I knew instantly that I had to give it a try for all of you. I’ve never seen a beet melt before, which seems odd because it’s a perfect idea for a veggie melt. Roasted beets have such an earthy and deep flavor that it’s a great substitute for the meat. (I speak from inexperience here – I’ve never actually had a real patty melt sandwich. I think I may have had a tuna melt with poor results back in middle school but I can’t be sure.) Take it from me though, this sandwich is amazing.
- 4 slices whole grain bread
- 1 beet, washed and peeled
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- dash salt and pepper
- 1/2 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1-2 Tbs grainy mustard
- 4 slices vegan swiss or provolone (try Daiya slices)
- 2-3 Tbs vegan buttery spread (try Earth Balance)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a baking pan lined with foil, toss halved beet with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap with foil and bake until tender, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then cut into 1/4 inch slices.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbs of the buttery spread. Spread the remaining 1-2 Tbs over the outsides of the bread slices. Spread grainy mustard on the inner side of one slice of each sandwich, then layer on sliced roasted beet, apple slices, and vegan cheese slices, dividing evenly between sandwiches.
Once sandwiches are assembled, cook them in the prepared skillet over medium-low heat until the bread is evenly browned and the vegan cheese is melty, flipping the sandwiches halfway through. (You may need to do them one at a time depending on the size of your skillet – don’t overcrowd!) Serve hot.
Almost immediately after I made these, I read that the perfect grilled cheese comes from griddling both sides of the bread. I know these aren’t technically grilled cheese sandwiches, but I think there’s definitely something to that; it would give more flavor to the sandwiches and warm the insides of the sandwich to speed up melting of the vegan cheese. Mmm! So I’ll be trying that next time and if you decide to try that technique please let me know how it goes.
What’s Your Favorite Vegan Grilled Sandwich?
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