This Vegan Chipotle Grilled Cheez with Balsamic Caramelized Onions recipe is an exclusive from Megan Sadd’s cookbook 30-Minute Vegan Dinners: 75 Fast Plant-Based Meals You’re Going To Crave! Click here to find out where you can purchase a copy of the book.
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Megan Sadd is the recipe developer and photographer behind Carrots & Flowers, a vegan food blog and one of the top plant-based video channels on Facebook. Formerly a TV and development producer, she launched Carrots & Flowers in 2015 to help transitioning vegans make the switch. She loves creating fast, easy vegan meals that strike the perfect balance of nourishing and comforting. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and three rescue cats, where she’s probably sitting in traffic, admiring cloud formations, and thinking about vegan cheese.
Can a grilled cheez really be complete without caramelized onions? I think not! Quick-caramelized onions add a mega-dose of tang and flavor that cuts through the richness of the cheez—in this case, a deliciously spicy chipotle cheddar. Keep this meal simple and fast with a side of kettle chips and a sliced pickle.
Balsamic Caramelized Onions
- 2 sweet onions
- 1 tbsp (15 g) vegan butter, plus more to grill sandwiches
- Dash of baking soda (no more than ⅛ tsp)
- ½ tbsp (6 g) brown sugar
- 1 tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
Smoky Chipotle Cheddar
- ⅔ cup (100 g) pre-soaked cashews
- 1½ cups (350 ml) water
- ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca flour
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp (45 g) nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To Build the Sandwiches
- 1 large tomato
- Sourdough bread
- Kettle chips (optional)
- Dill pickles (optional)
- Put a large pan over medium heat.
- Slice the onions into very thin strips—the thinner the better so they caramelize faster!
- Melt 1 tablespoon (15 g) of vegan butter in the pan then add the onions. Sprinkle them with a dash of baking soda and stir. This raises the pH level of the onions, which makes the sugars caramelize faster. Do not use more than ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda or your onions will turn to mush. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Make the cheddar cheez. Add the cashews, water, tapioca flour, chipotles, garlic, yeast, agave, vinegar, salt, chili powder and red pepper flakes to the blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar to the onions. Cook until softened and brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the balsamic and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for another 2 minutes, moving the larger pieces to the center of the pan. Taste and then add a tiny dash of salt, pepper and more balsamic if needed.
- Put a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Pour the cheez sauce from the blender to the hot pan. Stir the cheez, scraping the sides and bottom of pan, until the lumps are gone and the cheez forms a gooey mass in the center of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the caramelized onions to a bowl. Place the pan back over medium heat. Thinly slice the tomato.
- Build the sandwiches with 3 tablespoons (45 g) of chipotle cheez, 1 to 2 tomato slices and a large spoonful of onions. Spread vegan butter on the outsides of the sandwich.
- Cook until golden brown and slightly crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve with kettle chips and a pickle!
The cheese will firm up slightly as it cools, but will remain spreadable, similar to burrata.
Use sunflower seeds for the cashews for a nut-free option.
Use just one chipotle in adobo sauce to dial back the heat or omit the red pepper flakes.