Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

$3.40 recipe / $1.70 serving

Because I add spinach to everything.

No, but really, spinach is a natural with a grilled cheese. Plus, thanks to all of those Popeye cartoons when you were a kid, it makes you feel extra healthy while you chow down on ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. I added a little feta cheese for a tangy punch, a few spicy flakes of red pepper, and toasted it up on a ciabatta roll and and ended up with something truly spectacular. It only takes slightly longer than a regular grilled cheese, and it’s SO worth the extra effort. No joke, you’ll pay about $8 for something like this at your corner cafe, but not at home!

I used store bought ciabatta rolls, but this homemade focaccia would also be awesome and much less expensive (obvi). If you only make a couple of sandwiches, the extra rolls can be frozen and used later. Bread freezes really well and thaws quickly at room temperature. Cheese is super expensive these days, so I buy a large 8 cup bag, divide them into two cup portions, and then freeze them for later. I pretty much always have a bag of frozen spinach in my freezer. I like the kind that is frozen loose in a bag, as opposed to in a block, because I can use any amount I want and return the rest to the freezer. Have I mentioned how much I love my freezer? :)

I had some marinara on hand, which was awesome for dipping. If you want to kick this up a notch, you could even spread some marinara on the bread before building the sandwich. YUM. Oh, there are so many possibilities for add-ins here: olives, artichokes, red onion, parmesan cheese…

But here’s the basic version:

Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

5.0 from 22 reviews
Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $3.40
Cost Per Serving: $1.70
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil $0.08
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • ¼ lb. frozen cut spinach $0.38
  • Pinch of salt & pepper $0.05
  • 2 ciabatta rolls $1.33
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese $1.00
  • 1 oz. feta cheese $0.43
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional) $0.05
Instructions
  1. Mince the garlic and add it to a skillet with the olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the frozen spinach, turn the heat up to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through and most of the excess moisture has evaporated away. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the rolls in half. Add about ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella and ½ oz. of feta to the bottom half of each roll. Divide the cooked spinach between the two sandwiches, then top with a pinch of red pepper flakes, plus ¼ more shredded mozzarella on each.
  3. Place the top half of the ciabatta roll on the sandwiches and transfer them to a large non-stick skillet. Fill a large pot with a few inches of water to create weight, then place the pot on top of the sandwiches to press them down like a panini press. Turn the heat on to medium-low and cook until the sandwiches are crispy on the bottom. Carefully flip the sandwiches, place the weighted pot back on top, and cook until crispy on the other side and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

 

Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese

Step by Step Photos

Garlic and OilWe start by cooking the spinach a little. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and a minced clove of garlic to a small skillet. Cook the garlic for a minute or two over medium-low heat, or until it begins to soften.

Frozen SpinachI buy these bags of frozen spinach because it’s really easy to just use some and put the rest back in the freezer for later. I only made two sandwiches, so I used 1/4 of this one pound bag. Just eyeball it. No need to be super accurate.

Cook SpinachAdd the frozen spinach straight to the skillet, no need to thaw. Cook this over medium heat for a couple of minutes…

Cooked SpinachUntil it’s heated through and most of the extra moisture has evaporated away. Season it lightly with salt and pepper.

Ciabatta RollsMeanwhile, you can start building the sandwiches. I used these store bought ciabatta rolls. Despite being far more expensive than what I’d normally pay for bread ($3.99 for a pack of 6), the sandwiches were still insanely inexpensive compared to a deli. The extra rolls can be frozen for later.

CheeseI buy these big bags of shredded cheese then divide them up and freeze. It’s much less expensive than buying the 2 cup size bags. I buy an 8 oz. block of feta cheese and usually cut it into four pieces to easily measure out 2 oz. This time, I cut one of the squares in half once more, to make a one ounce square, which I then split between the two sandwiches.

Build SandwichMeasure out a half cup of the shredded cheese, then divide it between the two sandwiches. Take a one ounce cube of the feta and crumble it over both sandwiches.

Spinach Pepper CheeseDivide the cooked spinach between the two sandwiches and add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Measure out another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and add it to the tops of the sandwiches (I felt that one layer of feta was plenty, so I didn’t add more to the top).

Sandwiches in skilletAdd both sandwiches to the skillet and turn the heat on to medium-low. I find that medium-low works best for grilled cheeses because it heats them slowly so that the inside has time to warm up and melt the cheese before the outside browns too much.

Panini Press HackTo “press” the sandwiches like a panini, take a big pot and add a few inches of water for weight. Place the pot directly on top of the sandwiches and press down. The weight from the pot full of water will flatten the sandwiches like a panini press and help the heat transfer through faster. Or, you could just use a George Foreman Grill (sandwiches are one of my favorite things to make on my George Foreman!). Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the outside is crispy and the cheese is melted on the inside.

Cut SandwichesCut the sandwiches in two so that all of the goodies come squishing out to greet you…

Spinach Feta Grilled CheeseExcellent for dipping into marinara!

Spinach Feta Grilled CheeseI couldn’t stop. 

I’m always lookin’ for new ways to work on my night cheese.

Night Cheese

56 Comments

  1. Alisa says:

    I just tried this recipe this afternoon – soooo delicious! I didn’t have feta cheese so I just used mozzarella and parmesan/romano that I had around the house and mixed in some petite diced tomatoes as well. We also had Campbel’s tomato soup on the side. I’d definitely makes these again :)

  2. Drew says:

    great recipe … beth will you marry me

  3. Peter says:

    WHAT A TASTY SANDWICH. i HAD A QUESTION , DO YOU THINK I COULD AN ACTUAL PANINI GRILL? THANKS IN ADV

  4. Izzy says:

    Made this with mini ciabata rolls and ended up with 5 sandwiches instead of 2. Absolutely fantastic.

  5. Mangles says:

    Look for Greek feta, it’s made from sheep/goat milk, has a unique taste and comes in anywhere at about $6-$9 a pound in the US, depending on location and brand. You won’t need to use as much Greek feta, so no sense in getting a domestic feta that’s priced the same and made from cow milk, unless of course you really like the taste of the domestic feta you used.

  6. LaTrice says:

    This sandwich is so GOOD!!! I was able to find ciabiatta bread and feta cheese for $2.99 inside the deli section at the grocery store. Since I cooked too much spinach, I’m going to make this sandwich again for breakfast tomorrow. This is my first time making this recipe from Budgetbytes. Thank you Beth for this recipe. :-)

  7. Christine says:

    I made these tonight for 4, tripled the garlic, used 2bags of fresh spinach, so very good, used my bread master too

  8. Yum! I made this for dinner tonight along with a chunky homemade tomato soup and it’s just a grown-up comfort food. Loved it!

  9. Shekinah says:

    I don’t even like grilled cheese and I LOVE this. The weighted pan makes the roll so nice and crispy!

  10. Jeri Ann says:

    These are very good (isn’t all warm gooey cheese?), but my favorite part of this dish was Beth’s Thick and Rich Pizza Sauce I made for the dippin’ sauce. That is the best pizza sauce EVER!

  11. WendyW says:

    I used the homemade rolls and since I had some leftover roast lamb I added that. Delicious!! Love the flavors, a great change from regular grilled cheese :)

  12. angel says:

    This was amazing. I made the whole recipe not realizing it was for two but now I have another amazing sandwich waiting for me. Definitely is amazing with the marinara. Had leftover spaghetti sauce that I used and definitely complements the flavor. Such a great website to find!

  13. Marjolein says:

    Hi Beth,

    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    Since I’ve been eating waaay too much cheese lately I wanted to make it a bit ‘healthier’. So I decided to use cottage cheese instead of mozzarella. It’s more filling, lower on calories and where I live it’s also a lot cheaper!

    Thanks so much for the inspiration, they were delish!

  14. Almudena says:

    Loved it! Definitely a winner . Next time I’ll add artichoke to the spinach mix :)

  15. Liz A. says:

    Love the idea for this as an easy dinner when my classes run late! Think pita would work as well as ciabatta?

  16. Rachel says:

    I made a version of these but didn’t have any mozz so just used feta and fresh spinach because that was all I had. I used some hot sauce instead of the pepper flakes and it was extremely delicious. Thanks!

  17. June says:

    Shut the door! This is like those greek treats, but ciabatta bread instead of phyllo dough! Can’t wait to make this!! Thanks for sharing! (LOVE the panini hack – awesome!)

  18. Antonia says:

    I just made this and it is soooo good! Such a great idea. Love the panini hack idea, I always wanted to make them and now I know that I can without having to buy a panini press. Love this blog so much it’s my new favourite, thanks for all of the great recipes!

  19. Wow! Just made these along with your Vegan Lentil Soup for dinner tonight (Meatless Monday) and had to force myself to stop after one! Tastes like a Spanikopita Sandwich — yum! Two thumbs up from hubby too!

  20. Melanie K says:

    I made these for dinner tonight and OH MY GOD. Seriously so good. I ended up using my mini griddle which is basically a small panini press. Worked like a charm!

  21. Lindsay says:

    I made these last night and added sun dried tomatoes…so yummy, but one side of the bread got burnt and turned black…did I leave it on the stove too long? I used your focaccia recipe for the bread. Also, love the new book!!

    • Yes, you may have left it too long or just had the heat slightly too high. Grilled cheeses are one of those things that you just have to get a feel for. :) It will be different depending on the thickness of your skillet, too.

  22. I love this, Got to try it!!!!

  23. Caitilin says:

    These were delicious! All eight of us loved them–thanks for a great idea!

  24. Melissa says:

    I just made these with cheddar instead of mozzarella and used small pitas because that’s what I had.
    My press was an iron skillet which made them pretty flat and messy, but they were SO yummy.
    Thanks, Beth!

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