Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese and Grilled Cheese Academy’s Recipe Showdown

by heidi on April 5, 2013

If you hadn’t noticed, I sort of have a thing for cheese, especially grilled cheese. Yes, I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to the grilling of the cheese.

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese | foodiecrush.com

I think it stems from some of my first cooking experiences as a kid, when one of my standy-by lunchtime masterpieces was a melted cheese sandwich, forever inking the taste of melty cheddar cheese and white bread into my tastebud memory bank. And it’s now become a favorite of my Smudge too. How could it not?

Last year I celebrated Grilled Cheese month by creating a new grilled cheese recipe to share each week during the month of April. With so much melted goodness to be had they’re still some of my favorite posts.

Grilled Cheese Month | foodiecrush.com

[ 1 ]  Turkey and White Cheddar with Caramelized Onion and Grape Grilled Cheese  [ 2 ] Honey Smoked Ham with Fig Spread Grilled Cheese  [ 3 ]  Sweet Pear and Rosemary Honey with Havarti Grilled Cheese  [ 4 ] Truffled Mushroom with Prosciutto and Tallegio Grilled Cheese

I hope you like them too because it’s time to break out the cheese grater and warm up the sandwich flipper because we’re doing it again this year. My mind just can’t quit thinking of some of my favorite ingredients to melt together.

And here’s a reason yours should get churning too.

My friends at Wisconsin Cheese and I are announcing Grilled Cheese Academy’s 2013 Recipe Showdown, where aspiring cheese heads can put their creative talents to the test to compete for the title to be crowned the queen—or king—of the grilled cheese sandwich for an entire year.

And lucky me, I will be one of the contest judges stuffing my face with amazing creations. Is there a crown? Possibly. A sash? I’ll make you one. But I do know there will definitely be prizes ($5,000 in value to the grand prize winner plus more!) bragging rights and some serious cheese cred.

All you have to do is create and enter your best grilled cheese sensation. Oh, TWIST MY ARM! Oh wait, I can’t enter since I’m a judge. Well then people, don’t let me down and please cook me a sandwich to make me and your mama proud.

Now about those prizes…


Last year’s Gold Prize Winner, Ally Phillips, created The Bewitching (shown above), a melted griller featuring Wisconsin Gouda and Provolone with fresh blackberries, peppery greens and bacon. I think you can compete with that.

The contest runs now through May 12, 2013, giving you one month to conceive your new winning cheese baby and enter it at the Grilled Cheese Academy website.

Here’s what you could win when you do:

Gold Skillet Award will go to 1 Winner

  • $4,000 Gourmet Kitchenware including:
    • 10-piece Copper Core Cookware Set
    • 7-piece Knife Block Set
    • 10-piece Cast Iron Cookware Set
  • $1,000 MasterCard Gift Card
  • Wisconsin Cheese Basket
  • Inclusion in the 2013 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Book

Silver Spatula Award will go 2 Winners

  • $500 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card
  • Wisconsin Cheese Basket
  • Inclusion in the 2013 Grilled Cheese Academy Recipe Book

Bronze Butter Knife Award will go to 8 Winners

  • $100 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card
  • Wisconsin Cheese Basket

A few tips to help you along the way:

The first step is to conceive a recipe that is mouth watering and unique. A layer of cheddar between two slices of white bread is great when you’re an 8 year old cook (like I was) and will always be a classic but won’t win you any grand prizes. Dream up something wild, something new, give it a unique name to match its creative ingredients and you’re well on your way to wow.

The second step is creating unique and complimentary flavor combinations—sweet, savory, spicy, whatever your imagination conjures up—using Wisconsin Cheese made from cow milk. You’ll be judged on how well Wisconsin Cheese was incorporated in the sandwich so save the goat cheese for another day. 

While the flavor will be of utmost importance, the last step to influence the judging is the look of your sandwich. A decent photo and nice presentation always helps and I know you can take that step to the bank too.

For a the complete list of rules, types of cheeses as well as tips and sample sandwich flavor combos, visit the Grilled Cheese Academy.

And now, how about the recipe for this Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese?

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese | foodiecrush.com

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese | foodiecrush.com


The inspiration for this recipe came from the flavor combination I always choose for pizza night, when I sometimes stray from the flat disk to create a stuffed calzone instead.

I loooove the multiple cheeses—ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan—and the sautéed, garlicky spinach with artichoke hearts (my favorite!) and when sandwiched between 2 slices of crispy sourdough, it’s almost enough for me to give up pizza dough all together. Well, maybe. I think I’ll keep them both in my back pocket for now.

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwich


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped roughly
4-6 canned artichoke hearts in water, drained and sliced
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces mozzarella fresca (fresh mozzarella), grated
4 slices sourdough bread
4 tablespoons butter


  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat then add 1 clove of the sliced garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, lowering the heat so the garlic doesn’t burn but just steeps in the garlic oil and becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl mix the ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese and mix. Add the cooled garlic olive oil and mix in.
  3. Sauté the remaining garlic slices in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil for 1 minute over medium high heat. Add the chopped spinach and artichoke hearts, season with kosher salt and cook for about 4 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.
  4. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread, then stack the two buttered sides together and repeat with the other 2 slices. Sprinkle the bread with a handful of the grated fresh mozzarella, then a layer of the spinach and artichoke hearts and half of the sun dried tomatoes. Add half of the ricotta cheese mixture and top with additional mozzarella cheese.
  5. Place bread, buttered side down, in a non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat. Cover with lid and let cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and flip sandwich to the other side and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bread is toasty golden and the cheese has melted. The second side will cook faster than the first so watch carefully. Slice in half and enjoy hot.

Next week I’ll be back to regularly formatted Friday Faves with another grand grilled cheese. Have a fantastic weekend!

Thanks for reading and please keep in touch by subscribing to FoodieCrush and follow me on TwitterFacebookPinterestThis site includes affiliate shopping links of which I receive a small percentage of sales to allow me to create new and special content like this for my readers, so thank you for your support. All opinions are my own.



Posted in: entrees,friday faves,recipes,sandwiches,vegetables and fruits

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 5, 2013 at 5:29 am

This sandwich is serious cheese heaven!


Cassie | Bake Your Day April 5, 2013 at 7:00 am

This is heavenly, Heidi. I’m a FOOL for a good mouthwatering grilled cheese!


Tieghan April 5, 2013 at 7:34 am

This looks so good Hedi! Want to make this for lunch!


carrian April 5, 2013 at 7:57 am

This looks scrumptious and what a fun thing to judge, you lucky stinking duck!!


heidi April 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm

I hope you’ll be entering Carrian :) lots of awesome prizes


Gerry @ Foodness Gracious April 5, 2013 at 7:58 am

This is awesome, I’m developing a grilled cheese as we speak (or type) and I’m pretty excited about it! Yours looks sooo good and how the heck did you get to have the best judging job on the planet??


heidi April 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Oh great Gerry! We’re going to need some malehood represented, would love to crown a king. I’m not sure how I scored the gig, but I do know I’m going to have to take my drawstring pants.


Ali | Gimme Some Oven April 5, 2013 at 8:02 am

Every single one of your recipes looks HEAVENLY! Love all of these ideas, and will definitely check out the contest. That should make for tasty judging!


Barbara @ Barbara Bakes April 5, 2013 at 8:17 am

I had to pin this one. What a fantastic combination.


Angie @ Big Bear's Wife April 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

my my my, that looks amazing. I love all of those flavors together!


Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom April 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

Last night I was dreaming of a Broccoli Rabe grilled cheese and then the one in Smitten Kitchen with the caramelized onions. . OMG, Heidi! Yours looks amazing! guess what I’ll be making today for lunch? Love this!


Adri {Food-N-Thought} April 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

Yum! I love me some grilled cheese of all kinds too, not as much as to have a Pinterest board, but as much as to make at least once a week. Between your delish creations and that awesome contest looks like I’ll be trying out some new ones soon!


Giulia April 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Love grilled cheese – the classic and the crazy ones. I assume this contest is for US residents only? I couldn’t really see it from the site. Have a great weekend!


Michelle April 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I literally just finished lunch and am now ready to eat again. Heaven on bread!


erin April 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Please tell me this means you get to sit around all day and eat grilled cheese sandwiches? (if so, where do I sign up!?!?)


heidi April 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Follow my lead, I’ll take you there.


Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Absolutely drooling over this grilled cheese, love the spinach and artichoke combo!


Emily April 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Okay, I’m not sure I can be as creative as you (and I know my photography is not even half as great), but I think I’m going to give this a shot! :)


heidi April 5, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Oh seriously. You have far more going on than you’ll admit!


Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking April 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I gotta get my brainstorm on…. After I give this beautiful grilled cheese a whirl!


heidi April 5, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out April 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I could easily eat grilled cheese every day and be totally content. Don’t know if I have the creative chops to keep up with some of those awesome sandwiches you created, but that won’t keep me from dreaming things up!


Denise | TLT April 7, 2013 at 3:13 am

It’s 11 AM, I just had a big breakfast and guess what? Now I’m craving a grilled cheese sandwich! Mouthwatering pictures Heidi…!


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 7, 2013 at 11:51 am

I’ll take one of each. Sooo many lovely sandwiches!


Sonja April 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm

There is nothing better than grilled cheese. So cool that you get to be a judge! As always, love your beautiful photos, Heidi.


marla April 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm

hey now…..i want ‘em all!


Jessica l Food Wine Fashion April 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm


This grilled cheese looks amazing! I, like you, am obsessed. I think its fate that I crossed your blog on the day you announced this contest. I’ve even actually held homegrown Top Chef Quickfire challenges around grilled cheese. Now just to dig through my archived recipes, taste, taste, taste and come up with something great!

xxoo – jessica


Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen April 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I wish I was eating this right now! I love how far the grilled cheese has come. Basically any grilled sandwich with cheese on it can be considered a grilled cheese. There are so many possibilities!


mary horn March 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hubby and I just had this for supper with homemade tomato soup. A delish sandwich and a definite keeper for us.


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