This vegan smoked gouda grilled cheese is a sandwich lovers dream. Made with dairy-free gouda cheese that melts, a bright and herby pesto, crispy tofu, and a few sliced veggies to balance out the flavors. Pair with your favorite chips or a salad and enjoy!
Grilled cheese is a classic comfort food and this vegan gluten-free version is no different. We took it up a notch on the savory scale with the use of a hickory-smoked vegan gouda cheese and a crispy tofu. Paired with a light gluten-free bread (that actually tastes like a classic sandwich bread) and an herby pesto? Love at first bite, I promise.
Looking for other vegan lunch or dinner ideas? Here are a few of my favorites;
Vegan gluten-free grilled cheese FAQs
Most often you will see smoked gouda made from cows milk. However, vegan companies are starting to branch out and make more flavors of tasty vegan cheese. In this recipe, I used Follow Your Heart vegan smoked gouda slices.
In this recipe the cheese slice is melting as the bread toasts on both sides of the grilled cheese sandwich. The skillet should be on a medium-low heat setting. Alternatively, cheese slices can be melted by adding a splash of water to the pan and then covering it. The moisture combined with the heat will help melt the cheese.
Yes, but be sure to cook the grilled cheese on a medium-low heat setting to give the cheese time to melt. If the skillet is too warm, the bread will burn and the cheese will not get to that ooey-gooey texture that a grilled cheese needs.
Any vegan cheese that you love and that melts well. Follow Your Heart and Field Roast Chao slices are two that I've had great success with. For this recipe in particular we are using vegan smoked gouda from Follow Your Heart.
Carbonaut gluten-free seeded bread is my favorite. It's light, crisps well, and is just the right size for making a grilled cheese. It's my top pick for making grilled cheese because it tastes like what you would expect from a traditional sandwich bread. I also recently found a gluten-free sourdough by Simple Kneads at Whole Foods and think that would work well too!
Ingredients for vegan gluten-free grilled cheese
- Gluten-free bread (I used Carbonaut seeded, available at Whole Foods)
- Crispy pan-fried tofu (arrowroot, almond flour, avocado oil, garlic, salt, pepper)
- Vegan chao cheese
- Sliced tomato and red onion
- Vegan pesto (I used store-bought Seggiano's, available at Whole Foods)
How to make a vegan smoked gouda grilled cheese
- Prepare crispy tofu first
- For 1 grilled cheese; add a piece of gluten-free bread to a non-stick skillet and begin to layer the goodness on.
- Add vegan smoked gouda cheese, two slices of crispy tofu, sliced tomato and red onion as desired, and top with a piece of bread that has pesto on one side of it.
- Flip once the cheese has melted and the bread appears toasted. Allow the other side to cook until golden.
- Remove from heat and enjoy!
Tomatoes balance out the aromatic flavors of the smoked gouda and the pesto, but omit if you are not a tomato fan.
Red onion: swap for onion of choice, sliced shallots, or omit.
Vegan pesto: it removes the need to use butter or oil on the bread and adds a bright and herby flavor to the grilled cheese. Use your favorite vegan butter and butter the outside of each piece of bread or add mashed avocado to the sandwich instead.
Swap vegan gouda cheese for your favorite vegan cheese (with taste variation to be expected).
For an extra cheesy grilled cheese add an additional slice of cheese to the stack. Always place the cheese touching the bread to ensure it fully melts.
Want more veggies? Avocado, arugula, spinach, mushrooms, peppers and/or jalapeños, are all great options!
Skip the pesto and add Trader Joe's Bomba sauce for a spicy version, or add a teaspoon or so in addition to the pesto.
This vegan smoked gouda grilled cheese is best fresh from the pan, however it can be stored in the fridge (or lunchbox) for a few hours and reheated (or enjoyed cold, with slight taste variation). Store without tomatoes as they will cause the bread to become soggy.
Make sure the cheese fully melts, smoked gouda has a pungent taste eaten cold so really play the low and slow game while cooking in the skillet. Plus, what's a grilled cheese without gooey melted cheese?
Vegan Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese
- knife and cutting board
- griddle pan
- non-stick pan
Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu
- 4 extra-firm tofu slices, ¼ of an inch thick (2 pieces per sandwich)
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic granules or powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt of choice (iodized, kosher, Himalayan, etc.)
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon black pepper
- drizzle of avocado oil for the griddle pan
- 4 pieces of carbonaut seeded gluten-free bread
- 2 slices of vegan smoked gouda cheese (1 slice per sandwich)
- vegan pesto of choice (I used Seggiano's)
- beefsteak or campari tomato, thinly sliced
- red onion, thinly sliced
- First, press tofu for 5 minutes if necessary (if tofu is packaged in excess water, it will need to be pressed lightly just to release excess water, we still want the tofu to be just slightly damp to the touch). After pressing, cut the tofu block in half. Place one half on it's side and cut into equal fourths (possibly thirds if the tofu is pre-pressed and is on the smaller side). Save the other half for later, or double the tofu batter ingredients and prepare the whole block. * click the link in the notes section for the full crispy tofu recipe if needed
- Next, add arrowroot, almond flour, garlic, salt, and pepper to a shallow bowl and whisk until combined. Add a piece of tofu to the bowl and coat both sides with the flour and spice mix. Repeat until all pieces are coated.
- Warm a griddle on medium-low heat. Once warm add a splash of avocado oil to the pan. Place tofu slices onto the griddle and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip and repeat. Remove from the griddle and set aside.
- Warm a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat and add two pieces of bread (for two grilled cheeses, if making one, just add one piece of bread). Add a slice of gouda cheese to each, then top each with two pieces of crispy tofu. Next add tomato slices and red onion as desired. For the last layer, add about a tablespoon of pesto to two other pieces of bread and top the sandwiches with such.
- Flip once the cheese is melted and the bread is golden. Let the other side cook until golden, remove from heat, and enjoy!
- Follow Your Heart smoked gouda
- Violife smoked gouda round slices
- Seggiano's raw basil pesto (available at Whole Foods)
- Gotham Greens vegan pesto
- Trader Joe's vegan kale, cashew, and basil pesto
- Do Anything kale pesto and beet pesto (store locator here)