Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Olive Tapenade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Masala French Fries

Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe is heaven for vegans. This primarily online store is owned and operated by vegans, and caters to a vegans every need! They have a small store here in Marietta, close to where we live, and I badgered my husband till, recently, he caved and took me there. Even before I has fully set foot in the store, I had a few items already in my shopping cart! By the time we got out of the store, I had a brighter smile on my face, and my husband had a considerably lighter wallet. Kidding aside, if you are on the lookout for vegan anythings, you should definitely browse their online store, and if you live somewhere in Atlanta, you can actually visit their store. 

One of my buys that day was the Tofurky Cheese Pizza made with Daiya cheese. The second we walked though the door, I ran over to the oven, preheated it, and went on to bake the pizza as directed on the box it came in. Once it was ready, I hungrily sank my teeth into it. I could not believe that was not real cheese. I mean, it had not only melted perfectly (unlike several other brands I have bought in the past that touted they melted, but always disappointed), it actually LOOKED and TASTED like cheese! I was hooked!

Ever since, I have gone through several bags of both the mozzarella- and cheddar-style Daiya cheese shreds. I have topped baked enchiladas with it, made home made Margarita pizzas with it, topped baked potatoes with it, and most recently, I used it to make grilled cheese sandwiches. You see, I was watching Rules of Engagement playing on TV the other day, and as with most sitcoms, the characters regularly meet up at a diner. This time they were shown eating fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. As I watched them make their way through those fries and sandwiches, I knew that was exactly what I wanted for dinner.

What I could have only dreamed about since becoming vegan, was a delicious reality, thanks to Daiya. And as I shamelessly munched away at my third sandwich, I once again found myself wondering if the name Daiya has an Indian behind it, considering Daya is the Sanskrit/Hindi word for compassion.

I would have made these plain grilled cheese sandwiches, had I not seen the recipe using Olive Tapenade. This addition made for an beautiful twist to a classic.

Olive Tapenade Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
(quantities and procedure to make one sandwich - add or multiply as per your requirement!)

  • Sliced Bread of your choice       -  2 slices
  • Vegan mayo                              -  2 tsp.
    Vegan Butter
  • Daiya Cheese Shreds                -   2 tbsp. or as much as you like
  • Olive Tapenade (see notes)       -  1 tbsp.
  1. Heat up grill, panini press or regular frying pan.
  2. Spread the olive tapenade on one of the slices of bread and keep aside.
  3. Spread half of the vegan mayo or vegan butter on one side of the other slice of bread, and place the side with the mayo/butter on to the grill/panini press/pan.
  4. Top with as much vegan cheese as you want, and close the sandwich pressing the other slice with the olive tapenade onto the cheese.
  5. Spread some vegan mayo/vegan butter onto the top of the sandwich, and turn over.
  6. Use a flat spatula to press down on the sandwich.
  7. Once the cheese has melted, and both sides of the sandwich are nicely (but not too much) browned, take off the pan/panini press/grill.
  8. Cut diagonally or half it, and enjoy hot!
  1. The above recipe is adapted from and inspired by Kathy's Black and White Panini. Thanx so much Kathy for the awesome recipe and great tips!! :0)
  2. I used whole wheat bread. If you see the original recipe, Kathy, the author of the blog, has several other useful suggestions (link above).
  3. It helps to keep all the ingredients ready. If you are going to be looking for stuff, chances are you will over cook the sandwich, since you need to assemble it as it cooks.
  4. I used Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade Spread. It has a blend of olives, and was really good.
  5. I used Nayonaise instead of butter, and the results were spectacular. I definitely recommend using this instead of butter, since the butter will cook/burn faster and may not allow the cheese to melt as long.
  6. I used a mix of both mozzarella- and cheddar-style of Daiya cheese shreds.

Masala French Fries
(enough for one person - add or multiply as per your requirement!)

  • Store bought or home-made prepared French Fries    -  1 portion
  • Salt                                                                        -  a pinch
  • Chaat Masala                                                           -  a pinch
  • Red Chili powder                                                    -  a pinch
  1. Add the masalas and salt (see notes) to the fries, and toss well.
  2. Serve, and watch as they rapidly disappear!
  1. I know this isn't really a recipe, per se, but you'd be surprised at how many people have not tried this supremely delish way of eating fries!
  2. Chaat Masala is a spice blend widely used in India. It is usually not used while cooking, and simply used to flavor cooked food items, including fruits. It is easily available at all Indian grocery stores.
  3. Since it was at the end of a long day, I used store bought french fries. But beware - some store brands already have added salt. So, check the label and omit the salt in the recipe if they are already salted.
  4. You can serve this with ketchup, but the masala makes them yummy to eat even on their own!


  1. Wow!! Never knew that vegan cheese exists!! Envy u for getting all that and so much more:-((. I wouldn't mind a bit sinking my teeth into the sandwich;-)

    Store bought stuff given a twist and yummified kind of ideas are life savers!! Yummy yumm!!

  2. Ya, it sure does, Suma!! :0)

    I know, Madhuri was saying the same thing, and I can totally empathize considering I was on that side of the world just a little while ago. I promised here, and now I am promising you, that if I use an ingredient and know where you can source it from in Bangalore, I will definitely mention it in the post!! How's that?! :0)

    Especially when you have a toddle who moves around non-stop, and needs perennial attention, store bought something's the only out!! :0D


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