Happy New Year! For my first recipe of the year, I really wanted to take it back to something simple and comforting because 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. So what is better than a simple grilled cheese and tomato soup? I put my own twist on this recipe by making it a kimchi grilled cheese. I have always loved how kimchi can cut through heavy flavors like cheddar, so I thought it would work perfectly to dress up a plain ole grilled cheese. Even my mom loved it and she was skeptical at first.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise helps create that crispy crust on the outside of the bread. You can also use butter.
- White bread – You can use any kind of bread for this grilled cheese.
- Cheddar cheese – You can use any kind of cheese for this recipe, but I would recommend a strong cheese to balance out the strong flavor of the kimchi like sharp cheddar.
- Kimchi – I used green cabbage kimchi for this recipe. You can probably get away with other veggie kimchi for this recipe, but just make sure they are thinly cut before adding them to the sandwich.
Using mayonnaise vs butter
A lot of grilled cheese recipes out there use butter for the crust, but I read that mayonnaise actually makes a better crust, so I decided to try it. After testing both, I concluded the mayo people have it right; mayo creates for a browner, crispier crust. However, I will say butter has a better flavor even though the crust is not as crispy. If I had to give a recommendation, I would say use mayo if you have it but butter works just as well.
Making my kimchi grilled cheese
First smear mayo on 1 side of each slice of bread. Heat a little bit of oil in a pan over medium low heat. Add 1 slice of bread mayo side down. Top with both slices of cheese. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes until a golden brown crust forms. Top with the kimchi and then the second slice of bread mayo side on top. Flip the sandwich and cook for another 1-2 minutes until a golden brown crust forms on the second side. Slice in half and serve with a bowl of tomato soup (recipe below).
My simple tomato soup recipe
You cannot have a grilled cheese without tomato soup, so I whipped up a simple batch with 4 ingredients: olive oil, 1 shallot, 6 tomatoes, and 1 can of chicken broth. First cut the tomatoes into 4 pieces and roughly chop the shallots. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a soup pot with the shallots. Cook for ~30 seconds until the shallots are soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes soften a bit. Add the can of chicken broth (use veggie broth to make it vegetarian). Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Simmer for 40 minutes. Pour into a blender and pulse until a smooth consistency. If the soup is not thick enough for you, put it back in the pot and reduce until it is the consistency you desire. Serve with a side of grilled cheese!
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Kimchi Grilled Cheese
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 slices white bread
- 2 slices cheddar cheese
- kimchi to taste ~7 pieces
- Spread an even layer of mayonnaise on 1 side of each slice of bread.
- Heat a little bit of oil in a pan over medium low heat. Add 1 slice of bread mayo side down. Top with both slices of cheese. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes until a golden brown crust forms.
- Top with the kimchi and then the second slice of bread mayo side on top. Flip the sandwich and cook for another 1-2 minutes until a golden brown crust forms on the second side.
- Slice in half and serve with a bowl of tomato soup (recipe above).