Delicious and comforting, grilled cheese sandwiches have always been one of our go-to options for a quick and easy meal. And if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll be thrilled to know that this recipe has got you covered!
In this article, I will share with you my recipe for a Vegetarian Croque Monsieur, which is essentially a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with tofu ham – perfect for those who want to indulge in a classic French dish while still maintaining a plant-based diet.
As someone who loves taking classic dishes and creating healthier versions of them, I knew I had to tackle the challenge of making a vegan Croque Monsieur. Not only did I want it to taste just as good, but I also wanted it to be simple enough to make without having to run around town looking for hard-to-find ingredients. So, let’s dive in!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re a fan of classic French cuisine, you’re going to absolutely adore our vegetarian croque monsieur recipe. This gourmet grilled cheese is made with a deliciously salty and savory tofu ham, which is then smothered in a creamy bechamel sauce and topped with gooey, melted cheese.
But what exactly makes this recipe so irresistible? For starters, it’s incredibly easy to make. All you need to do is fry up the tofu ham and whip up the bechamel sauce before layering everything together and grilling it to crispy golden perfection.
But even more important than its ease of preparation is the sheer indulgence that comes with every bite. The combination of rich, cheesy goodness with savory bits of tofu “ham” creates a flavor profile that’s both sophisticated and utterly satisfying. And with options like using vegan cheese and butter substitutes, this recipe can be enjoyed by anyone looking for a cruelty-free alternative to the classic French sandwich.
If you’re a die-hard grilled cheese fan, or you simply love experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, this vegetarian croque monsieur is absolutely one dish you won’t want to miss. Trust us– your taste buds (and your stomach) will thank you!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious Vegetarian Croque Monsieur recipe:
- Tofu Ham: 8 thin slices
- Gruyere Cheese– shredded (2 cups)
- Vegan Butter: 3 tbsp
- Slices bread: 4 slices
- Mustard (Dijon): 1 tablespoon
- Bechamel sauce: 1 cup
- Smoky eggplant: 2 tablespoons
- Vegan Cheese: 2 cups
You may also want to pair your vegan croque monsieur with a side salad or soup.
The Recipe How-To
Now, it’s time to get cooking! This Vegetarian Croque Monsieur recipe is quite easy to make, and with a little bit of love and attention, you’ll have a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich in no time.
Here’s what you need for the recipe:
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 cups shredded vegan Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 slices of bread
- 4 slices of vegan ham (try using smoky eggplant or vegan cheese as a substitution)
- Extra vegan butter for frying
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the vegan butter.
- Add the Dijon mustard and whisk them together.
- In a separate bowl, mix the shredded Gruyere/Swiss cheese with the all-purpose flour.
- Gradually add the unsweetened almond milk to the saucepan with the melted butter mixture, stirring constantly until well combined.
- Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Turn off the heat and let it cool down slightly.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Spread some vegan butter evenly on one side of each bread slice.
- On four slices of bread, add equal amounts of shredded ham or ham substituent and top with a generous portion of your Gruyere/Swiss cheese bechamel sauce.
- Cover each sandwich with another slice of bread, spread-buttered side facing up.
- Place two sandwiches onto your preheated non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Cook sandwiches for about two minutes on each side until golden brown or until cheese has melted completely.
- Repeat step #11 and #12 with the remaining two sandwiches.
- Once all four sandwiches are cooked entirely and hot out of the pan, they are ready to be served.
Now that your cheesy vegetarian croque monsieur masterpiece is complete, try serving it with a delicious green salad or maybe even some homemade potato chips on the side!
Substitutions and Variations
Are you feeling experimental or want to switch things up a bit? The Vegetarian Croque Monsieur recipe is quite versatile and easily customizable. Here are some substitutions and variations that will add some variety to your classic French dish:
– Vegan options: For a completely vegan-friendly version of this classic sandwich, you can substitute the Gruyere cheese with any good-quality vegan cheese such as the Follow Your Heart or Best Foods brand. You can also replace the ham with thinly sliced smoky eggplant or vegan ham. Instead of regular butter, use vegan butter for grilling your sandwich.
– Cheeses: If you’re not a fan of Gruyere cheese, other options include Swiss cheese, Cheddar cheese, or even Brie cheese for an added touch of decadence. You can also mix and match cheeses to find a combination that perfectly suits your taste buds.
– Sauces: If you prefer a tangier taste, swap out the Dijon mustard for whole-grain mustard, spicy brown mustard or even honey mustard sauce. Or skip the mustard entirely and opt for a creamy cheese sauce or horseradish sauce instead.
– Bread: While white bread is traditional, feel free to try other bread types like sourdough, rye bread or even French baguettes to create your masterpiece sandwich.
– Croque Madame : Want to take things up a notch? Top your Vegetarian Croque Monsieur with a fried egg – voila! You now have croque madame.
Remember, experimentation is key when it comes to cooking. Don’t be afraid to mix and match ingredients and make this amazing vegetarian croque monsieur recipe your own!
Serving and Pairing
Now that your vegetarian croque monsieur is ready, it’s time to enjoy its heavenly taste! This gourmet grilled cheese with tofu ham goes well with many sides and drinks.
– Soup: A classic tomato soup or French onion soup would complement this sandwich beautifully.
– Salad: A side salad consisting of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light dressing would work perfectly as an accompanying dish.
– Drinks: Crisp white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio go well with the light flavors of this sandwich. Alternatively, if you prefer non-alcoholic beverages, a cold glass of lemonade or iced tea would be refreshing.
– Slice it in half and place on a plate garnished with fresh herbs such as thyme or basil.
– Cut it into smaller pieces and serve as bite-sized appetizers for an elegant gathering.
– Accompany the sandwich with some kettle chips or fresh vegetable sticks on the side for an elevated lunch or snack.
Indulge in this fantastic vegetarian croque monsieur recipe, and you won’t regret experimenting outside the box of the regular grilled cheese sandwich. With some creativity in pairing and serving options, you can make this a dish for any occasion.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about this vegetarian croque monsieur recipe is its versatility. It can be made ahead of time and stored for later enjoyment, as well as reheated easily without losing its flavor or texture.
To make ahead, assemble the sandwich completely but don’t grill it yet. Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking. This makes it an excellent option for meal prep or entertaining guests.
If you have leftovers, storing the sandwich is simple. Wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also freeze the sandwich if you want to keep it even longer.
Reheating the vegetarian croque monsieur is easy and can be done in various ways based on your preference. For a crispy crust, preheat your oven at 350°F (175°C), place the sandwich on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy and heated through.
If you prefer a faster method to reheat your sandwich, you can use a toaster oven. Simply place the sandwich in the toaster oven and heat for about five minutes or until hot and crispy.
You can also use a microwave by wrapping your sandwich in damp paper towels to preserve its moisture while reheating it for one minute at medium power.
Whatever technique you choose to reheat your vegetarian croque monsieur, keep an eye on it to ensure that it doesn’t overcook or get soggy. With just a little bit of planning, storage, and reheating ideas, you can enjoy this delicious sandwich anytime with minimal effort.
Tips for Perfect Results
To make sure that you get the tastiest and most accurate results, I compiled some tips that you should follow for the perfect Vegetarian Croque Monsieur.
Firstly, I recommend grating your cheese instead of slicing it. Grated cheese melts more easily and uniformly, making for a better cheesy experience in every bite. It also allows the cheese to distribute evenly with the bechamel sauce.
Secondly, when making the bechamel sauce, take care not to let it burn. Use low heat and whisk constantly until it’s thickened, then remove it from the heat quietly to prevent overcooking. A burned bechamel sauce can ruin the sandwich.
Thirdly, if you want a vegan cheese version, choose a high-quality vegan cheese brand such as Follow Your Heart or Best Foods. Vegan cheese tends to require more time to melt than their dairy counterpart; therefore, you should give them extra time on the stove or oven.
Fourthly, always serve these sandwiches freshly made, so they are hot and crispy with creamy interior goodness. Keep them covered, so they don’t get cold when taking them out of the oven or grill.
Lastly, make extra croque monsieurs since they freeze well, which means you’ll have delicious hot sandwiches ready even on your busiest days.
Now, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about this vegetarian croque monsieur recipe that may arise during the cooking and serving process. From ingredient substitutions to cooking techniques, these FAQs will help ensure that your gourmet grilled cheese turns out perfectly every time.
What is the difference between croque monsieur and grilled cheese?
Corque monsier is a classic French sandwich that has a distinct combination of Emmental and Gruyère cheeses. Even though it is difficult to find outside French bakeries, you can still make it using sourdough bread. Unlike regular grilled cheese, corque monsier uses an inside-out method. This means that the extra cheese is added on the top of the sandwich after being grilled.
What’s the difference between a crock monsieur and croque madame?
Croque Monsieur is a classic French snack consisting of a heated sandwich made of buttered bread, ham, and cheese that is pressed and browned until the cheese is melted. Croque Madame is similar, but with a lovely, sunny side-up egg on top.
Is a grilled cheese with ham still a grilled cheese?
It is accurate to say that a grilled cheese sandwich and a cheese toastie are essentially the same type of sandwich. However, if one adds ham to a grilled cheese sandwich, it can also be referred to as a ham and cheese toastie.
What cheese is traditionally used in a croque monsieur reddit?
Croque monsieur, a classic French dish, typically features Gruyère cheese, although Comté or Emmental varieties may also be used. Depending on the brasserie, the dish may also feature béchamel sauce. The dish can be prepared in either the baked or fried method, which allows the cheese topping to melt and become crispy.
In conclusion, this vegetarian croque monsieur recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves a classic French sandwich with a vegan twist. With its delicious blend of Gruyere and Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard, and tofu ham, this grilled cheese sandwich is perfect for lunch or dinner. And with the added smoky eggplant and vegan cheese toppings, you get all the flavor without any of the guilt.
So why not give this recipe a try today? Whether you’re a vegetarian or simply looking for a healthier alternative to the classic croque monsieur, this dish will surely satisfy your cravings. Plus, with plenty of tips and substitutions provided in the article, you can easily make this recipe your own.
So go ahead and indulge in a little bit of luxury with this vegetarian croque monsieur recipe. It’s sure to become one of your favorite go-to meals in no time at all!
Vegetarian Croque Monsieur (Gourmet Grilled Cheese W/ Tofu Ham) Recipe
- 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (this is just a guess)
- 2 large slice white bread (you need to have thick and wide country-style slices, like Rudy's Organic Canadian White or your own)
- 6 slices ham (INPUT ERROR, IT'S REALLY FAKE HAM! I use Smart Deli brand ham-flavored tofu, which is not in the 'Za)
- 2 slices swiss cheese
- 2 slices yogurt cheese (I use plain but herbed yogurt cheese would be yummy in this)
- 2 slices gruyere cheese
- 3 tablespoons shredded gruyere cheese (shredded Swiss is good, so is shredded yogurt cheese, or a mix of the 3)
- Lightly cook the ham (whether it's real or not) in a frying pan on low heat so the edges are nice and crispy and it can help melt the cheeses from the inside. Note that tofu "ham" has natural moisture so you don't have to use cooking spray like you would with real ham. It tastes good a little smoky but try not to burn it.
- Using a pastry or BBQ brush, brush one side of each slice with the melted butter. 1 tbsp should do it.
- Spread the mustard on the other sides of the bread: 2 tbsp was just a guess; spread the mustard as thin or thick as you'd like.
- Layer the ham and cheese on the bread however you'd like. Sometimes I like to just alternate the cheeses and put the ham in the center, other times I like to arrange it differently.
- Cook it on medium-low heat in the frying pan so all the cheeses melt but not too hot or else the bread will burn. Flip it every 30 seconds or so and use a little extra butter in the pan if you have to.
- Cook it until one side is totally done and the other side still hasn't completely browned yet.
- On the un-browned side, pour on the shredded cheese. Cook it face down on the frying pan on low heat until singed.
- Cut in half and serve with pomme frites or a nice endive salad and enjoy.
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.