Southwestern Cheese PaniniI did a quick Google search for "grilled cheese" and the first recipe I saw called for "2 slices cheese, 2 slices white bread and 2 tablespoons butter." That's for one sandwich. A seemingly innocent sandwich like a plain old grilled cheese is apparently not so innocent anymore.
A quick analysis showed that traditional grilled cheese contains:
- 410 calories
- 29 grams fat
- 18 grams saturated fat
- 840 mg sodium
- 1 gram fiber
All right, so it's not going to break the bank. But, come on! Who needs 18 grams of saturated fat in a single sandwich? I laughed at the numbers.
EatingWell's Southwestern Cheese Panini shows how 6 easy tweaks can take grilled cheese from plain-Jane to gourmet, adding more flavor, vitamins and fiber and cutting fat, calories and sodium.
Our sandwich has about 25 percent fewer calories, 60 percent less fat, 70 percent less saturated fat and 38 percent less sodium. Plus we've upped the fiber from 1 gram to 5 grams and increased vitamins A and C as well as iron.
Here's how we do it:
Use whole-wheat bread instead of white bread
Use less cheese to reduce fat and saturated fat
Add shredded zucchini and carrots
Add chopped jalapenos and onion
- Omit the butter and use a panini press or our easy no-special-equipment-required panini technique
By Jessie Price
EatingWell food editor Jessie Price's professional background in food started when she worked in restaurant kitchens in the summers during college. She started out testing recipes for EatingWell and then joined the staff here full-time in 2004 when she moved to Vermont from San Francisco.
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Serve your sandwich with a side of spring Pea & New Potato Salad.
Find more healthy, flavor-packed makeovers for your favorite foods.
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