Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese

March 2, 2023 / by
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This Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese will completely transform your go-to grilled cheese recipe. Made with golden brown, locally-made sourdough bread, provolone cheese, and fresh garden tomatoes, you are going to fall in love, one bite at a time.

Few things beat the classic flavors of a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo, but a fresh, elevated non-greasy grilled cheese might just take the cake. This Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese sandwich is our new go-to lunch over here and I swear, it does not get better than this.

The flavors playing in this quick and easy recipe take the classic to a whole new level!

Ways to Make this Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese Your Own

With just a few, simple ingredients you can get as creative as your heart desires with this recipe. It’s so flexible that you can switch up the pesto, the tomato, the bread, and/or the cheese and make this grilled cheese entirely your own. 

Here are some ways to experiment with each ingredient:


Of course, you can never go wrong with a classic, basil pesto. Rich with flavors of pine nuts, grated parmesan, garlic, and olive oil, basil pesto brings a beautiful flavor to the classic grilled cheese recipe.

However, there are so many other types of pesto that you can play around with, either for flavor or dietary restrictions:

  • Nut-free pesto
  • Kale pesto
  • Spinach pesto
  • Red pepper pesto
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto


I am partial to garden-fresh tomatoes because my husband and I have a beautiful garden we love to utilize when our produce is in season. Tomatoes are in season from May through October; however, if you find yourself wanting this Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese any other month (and I can’t blame you!), there are plenty of other options out there.

Oven-roasting your tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes are great alternatives to fresh tomatoes in this recipe. You can also experiment with cherry tomatoes if you enjoy a touch of tartness to your grilled cheese.


For some, this may seem obvious, but the better quality cheese you use, the better your sandwich is going to taste. I love to use provolone in this recipe, which you can find along with other sliced cheeses at any grocery store.

You can also explore the more gourmet cheese options near the deli cuts section of a grocery store. Mild gouda or even gruyère are also great alternatives to a classic cheddar or provolone.


You can use store-bought, bakery-fresh, or homemade sourdough bread. I love the texture sourdough brings to grilled cheese, and I also think it cooks beautifully together with the other ingredients. 

You can also whole wheat, rye, or Italian sandwich bread. Really, any type of bread is fair game here! The key is to cook your grilled cheese exactly right to get a nice golden brown toast on it.


How to Make the Best Grilled Cheese Ever

There are two important things about making a grilled cheese sandwich that many people overlook. These two things will completely change the experience of your Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese – so let’s go over them. 

First is the mayonnaise. Now, don’t knock it ‘til you try it but mayo is a fabulous way to get an amazing cook on your grilled cheese. This is because mayonnaise has a higher smoke point than butter and therefore allows you to get an even cook on your bread and melt on your cheese, without burning everything.

You can even mix your mayo with some garlic powder and herbs before spreading it on the outer layer of your bread of choice. 

If you’re really repealed by mayo, use softened butter instead of cold butter! Softened butter adds flavor and enhances the ability of bread to crisp up when grilled. Cold butter, on the other hand, may rip the bread and give you an uneven cook.

The second thing that will up-level your Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese is what you cook it in! You don’t want to have a grilled cheese that’s perfectly toasted on the outside but has unmelted cheese on the inside or one that has ooey-gooey cheese with burnt bread.

So, the key is to use a lid! If your pan doesn’t have a lid, you can use a bowl as well. Covering the sandwich seals in the heat helps ensure that your cheese is not cooking slower than your bread. 

After cooking one side for about two minutes, flip it, reduce the heat, and cover again, cooking for another few minutes.

I love to use the Our Place Always Pan for my grilled cheese. What I like best about this pan is that it replaces eight traditional pieces of cookware, and yet is super lightweight. It has a ceramic coating and is made without toxins, which makes it durable and a practical addition to any kitchen.

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Pesto & Tomato Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Garianne Gagliardi
  • Total Time: 10 mins





Provolone Cheese

Salt + pepper

  • Category: Lunch


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Hi, I’m Garianne

A content creator, food lover, and mom. I’m so glad you’re here! This is where you can find all my healthy recipes and kitchen products I love.

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