Serves a Crowd

Grilled Aged Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Pistachio Sage Pesto

October 24, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 Cup Pesto, 4 Sandwiches
Author Notes

I hate throwing away ingredients. Plain hate it. So when I had three bushels of sage and a large container of shelled pistachios in the pantry, I knew something delicious could be created. I put my husband to work de-shelling all the pistachios (the dirty work) and within minutes I had this delicious pesto. It was a cold November day and all we wanted was some comfort food, so we slathered some sourdough with the pesto and topped it with a sharp, aged cheddar. The perfect combination and definitely a nap worthy treat! —Emily Weinberger

What You'll Need
  • For the Pesto
  • i cups sage
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • For the Sandwiches
  • 8 slices of your favorite sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoon pistachio sage pesto
  • 2 teaspoons applesauce
  • 1/4 pound sharp, aged cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. For the Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first 4 ingredients. Pulse until well blended. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running. Season to your liking.
  2. For the Sandwich: 1. On one piece of bread, spread the pesto in an even layer using a knife or spoon. Spread the applesauce on top of the pesto. Lay the cheese on top on the spreads. Top with another slice of bread. Spread 1/2 tsp butter on the top slice of bread. Repeat this for the remaining three sandwiches.
  3. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and add the remaining butter to the pan. Once the butter is sizzling, place the non-butter side of the sandwich in the pan. You may need to do this two at a time. It is important to not over crowd the pan.
  4. Heat for 5-6 minutes on one side until golden brown and the cheese begins to melt. Using a spatula, flip the sandwich to the other side and press down with spatula. Heat for another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and the cheese has been completely melted.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LynnSomerstein
  • Cheryl
  • QueenSashy
  • eatwell
  • MarieH

19 Reviews

LynnSomerstein March 28, 2018
This is delicious, but clearly not for Passover. It doesn't belong in this collection. Please remove it.
Cheryl November 15, 2017
Delicious. I used GF Prarie Bread from Whole Foods, so I used one slice and made it openface and used vegan sliced provolone. I didn't have applesauce, so I put thinly sliced apples on top. The pesto makes it.
lacerise August 11, 2015
This is one of the best recipes I've found on Food52. Fabulous.
Victoria P. April 5, 2014
I selected Passover under holiday collections. This doesn't belong in that list!
Chef K. February 9, 2014
Perfect comfort food. Tip: to remove some of the resinous taste of fresh sage leaves try gently sautéing the leaves with a little extra virgin olive oil (about 2-3 minutes.) It really mellows out the harshness of the sage.
sleepylopy October 31, 2013
This was delicious! I used your recipe as a very loose guide because I wasn't sure that I wanted a strong sage flavor- I only used about 12 sage leaves instead of 1 cup. The sage flavor was mild but noticeable, though I might use more next time! I also used a mix of aged cheddar with a little gruyere. I left out the applesauce and instead served the sandwich with a salad of mixed greens, green apple ribbons, and onion ribbons, dressed with apple cider vinegar and olive oil. It was a perfect fall lunch!
QueenSashy October 10, 2013
Such a perfect fall pairing! I know what I'll be eating for dinner tonight...
eatwell March 12, 2013
Such a yummy combination! Try the sandwiches cut into small pieces and served as croutons in a bowl of tomato soup. My kids LOVED them on this cold, rainy New England night. Also, I didn't have pistachios so substituted raw cashews....fabulous!
Amy G. January 9, 2013
We loved these grilled cheese sandwiches, even our 17 year old son, the sage pesto was the best part-it is great on crackers or a baguette
MarieH December 5, 2012
I have only made the pesto so far since my sage will be finished soon. It is so delicious that it might not get to the sandwiches. Quick, get it in the freezer!
Georgetown-DC December 1, 2012
Made these tonight for friends after going to a Swedish Winterfest at The House of Sweden here in DC. I served them with homemade bread and butter pickles and a Russian Porter Beer. Sublime! Seriously the most amazing comfort food ever! The ooo's ahhh's coming from everyone told me that yes this just might be the best sandwich on the face of the earth! I knew I was in for a treat when I made the pesto yesterday. I will freeze remaining pesto for use at Christmas when my mom comes for a visit. These would be a perfect lunch after running around doing whatever we all do right before the holidays. I also think these would be amazing to serve if your husband's boss was coming for dinner. How unexpected! Just think how relaxed the mood would be. I added aged provolone and used unsweetened apple sauce. The only thing that I wish was different was that upon first bite it started to snow! Do not hesitate, just make these!
MaureenOnTheCape November 28, 2012
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a culinary underdog with so many combinations to make a very satisfying meal. This one looks delicious! I am on my way out to get the ingredients.
ryanbissoon November 28, 2012
I love the idea of sage pesto. Sage always goes bad in my fridge because I only use about 3 leaves out of the bunch every time I buy it. Do you know how long the pesto will keep?
Slimfender October 17, 2013
If you have remaining pesto, just freeze it. (If you want, use an extra ice cube tray and separate it out into cubes, freeze them, and then put them in a ziploc- back in the freezer. That way you have little cubes of pesto ready to thaw for a sandwich or two.) I imagine it would keep for maybe a month.
gingershelley November 28, 2012
I don't understand the amounts given; first, the pesto makes a generous cup, but you use only a Tbsp. divided by 4 for the sandwiches? And the applesauce - divided by 4 is only a 1/2 tsp. per sandwich? I would think this would not be enough to even taste it... wondering if there is some error here in the sandwich instructions....
Emily W. December 2, 2012
Hi GingerShelley,

A little goes a long way. If you want to add more to your sandwiches, I dont think it will harm them. If you have leftover pesto it will keep in your fridge for up to a month. You could toss it with pasta for a quick week night meal or eat it cold for lunch. You can also freeze the pesto for 3 months. Hope this helps!

Lorenza November 28, 2012
Greetings Jenny, Indeed it is the season for grilled sandwiches! I look forward to this one. We have been working through our turkey leftovers by way of turkey reubens. I have become very attached to my panini grill and I use it to toast all of the "grilled" sandwiches we enjoy. We call them "toasties". I can prepare four sandwiches at a time, no butter or oil necessary. But, the best benefit of all is that I have never burnt a sandwich prepared this way. Buon Appetito and keep those posts coming!
ExploreGalore November 27, 2012
What a great idea! This is delicious. I subbed out parmesan for cheddar cheese because that's what I had and added thinly sliced apples instead of applesauce. The flavors came together really well.
fineartdaily November 26, 2012
Sounds divine!