Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese with Basil Pesto

Parmesan Grilled Cheese

This is the best grilled cheese ever!   I have to give total credit to Mr. Mother Thyme for coming up with this.  It is so good and perfect for these warm spring days we have been having that coming in from being outside and whipping up a quick and light dinner is great.  

When is the last time you had a grilled cheese panini or sandwich?  It has been awhile for me but definitely worth the wait.  

This is not just your ordinary grilled cheese.  Yes, it is so simple, just your basic grilled cheese ingredients but its the cheese, the topping on the bread and the basil dipping sauce that take this basic grilled cheese even better.  

We like to use a butter spray that has no calories or fat like Olivio to spray the bread for this that will make the grated Parmesan, salt and pepper ahere nicely to the toasted bread.  If you prefer you could use regular butter or brush the bread lightly with olive oil.  The cheese I like to use for is provolone which is a nice mild and creamy cheese.  Sliced mozzarella or even a white cheddar would be good too.  

If you don’t have a panini maker you can easily make this in a skillet on the stove.  Let me tell you a story about my panini maker.  I used to have an expensive name brand one.  I loved using it but cleanup on it was always a hassle.  It finally decided to stop working so I went without my beloved panini maker for some time.  Over the holidays I picked one up at Macy’s.  I grabbed their Bella brand panini maker for about nineteen dollars.  Let me tell you this little panini maker is great.  I love it more than the name brand one that I used to have.  It cooks evenly and wipes clean so easy.  For under twenty dollars I’m sold.  So if you have been looking at panini makers check that one out.  Snag a deal at some point on it and you’ll be happy.

If you are looking to change up your grilled cheese routine, you need to give this a try.  Serve with a side of sliced tomatoes for a simple and light lunch or dinner.   

Looking for more Pesto recipes?  Check out these.

Parmesan Grilled Cheese


Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese with Basil Pesto

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches


  • Butter spray (like Olivio or if you prefer spread bread lightly with regular butter or brush with extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 slices fresh bakery Italian bread
  • 4 slices provolone cheese (or if you prefer mozzarella or cheddar)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basil pesto (recipe follows)

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 12 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Spray non-stick cooking spray on panini maker or non-stick skillet and preheat over medium heat.
  2. Lay out bread slices on a large platter, cutting board or plate. Spray, butter or brush each side of the bread. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and a dash of salt and pepper on each slice. Place two slices of cheese and place on one slice of prepared bread. Top with remaining slice.
  3. Place on preheated panini or skillet and cook until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
  4. Sprinkle top with a little more Parmesan cheese. Serve warm with a side of basil pesto.

Basil Pesto

  1. Combine the basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts in your food processor. Stream in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Process to desired consistency. Add more extra virgin olive oil if pesto is thick.

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Parmesan Grilled Cheese

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