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hands holding tomato pesto grilled cheese sandwich

Quick & Easy Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Elevate your grilled cheese experience by adding homemade pesto and sliced tomato! These pesto tomato grilled cheese sandwiches are a delicious and satisfying weeknight meal which take just 15 minutes to prepare. Made with crusty sourdough bread, melty mozzarella cheese, and homemade parsley pesto, everyone will love these “fancy” grilled cheese sandwiches.



Parsley pesto

  • 2 packed cups fresh parsley (a combination of leaves and stems is fine)
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Grilled cheese sandwiches

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 45 slices of low moisture mozzarella cheese
  • 34 tbsp unsalted butter


  1. First, prepare the parsley pesto. Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor, besides the extra virgin olive oil.
    Pesto ingredients in a food processor before being blended
  2. Pulse the food processor 5-10 times, or until the ingredients are well combined but some texture remains.
    pesto ingredients blended up in a food processor
  3. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil. Be careful not to overblend – you still want some texture to the pesto.
    pesto in a food processor
  4. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
  5. Spread about 1 tbsp of butter on one side of each piece of bread.
    two pieces of buttered sourdough bread on wooden cutting board with a butterknife and pat of butter
  6. Place one piece of bread, buttered side down, into the preheated skillet. (You can either cook sandwiches one at a time, or at the same time, depending on if your bread fits).
  7. Smear a generous dollop of pesto on top the bread in the skillet. 
    Slice of bread with pesto on it in a white skillet
  8. Top the pesto with 1-2 pieces of mozzarella cheese.
    piece of bread with pesto and sliced cheese in a white skillet
  9. Top the mozzarella cheese with 2 slices of tomato.
    bread with pesto, cheese, and tomato in a white skillet
  10. Top the tomato slices with 1-2 more pieces of cheese.
    Piece of bread with pesto, tomato, and cheese in a white skillet
  11. Place top piece of bread on the cheese, buttered side up.
    Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato being cooked in a white skillet
  12. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom piece of bread is golden brown and crispy all over. Flip the sandwich, then cook for another 2-3 minutes to crisp up the other piece of bread.
    Grilled cheese sandwich in a white skillet
  13. Slice sandwiches in half and serve right away while hot and cheese is melty.


What to serve with grilled cheese sandwiches

If you’d like, you can pair this grilled cheese with something like a salad or soup. Some recipes that would pair well with grilled cheese: my Instagram favorite simple kale and romaine salad, creamy broccoli leek soup, crunchy kale slaw with apples, curry cauliflower squash soup, or vegetable farro soup.