I stand firm on my conviction that one grilled cheese is never enough.

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli I howsweeteats.com

One plain grilled cheese, made with regular bread (whatever the heck that may be) and a side of pickles always leaves me wanting more. Like more in the sense of an entire second grilled cheese. Or at least three fourths of one. I’ve pimped out this belief on the facebook, the twitter and the instagram for years now with pictures of my drippy, crunchy sandwiches. It’s just making it’s way here.

Sidebar: how grossed out are you right now that I not only dip my grilled cheese in ketchup, but also in residual pickle juice?

It’s fine. Go ahead. Judge me.

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli I howsweeteats.com


This is an example of how I make one grilled cheese be enough for my high maintenance appetite.

Stuff it full of things. All the things.

My parents have been legitimately obsessed with ordering fried zucchini since, like… the 90s. Maybe even earlier. No matter where we end up, it’s always an appetizer. Sometimes it’s completely delicious. Sometimes it’s disgusting and tastes like every other thing that’s been in the deep fryer since last Friday. It just depends. I’m over it.

The thing is that even though my family has funded zucchini farmers everywhere (that’s not even a little bit true, I know), my earliest memories of “fried” zucchini came from my mom making it in the summer with the garden-fresh green stuff. She never truly deep fried things, but instead just added a few tablespoons of oil to her cast iron skillet (which is maybe 60 years old now?) and cooked it until crispy. It was incredible… because my mom? She is quite heavy handed on the parmesan.

Now you know where I get it.

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli I howsweeteats.com

I really wanted to call this fried zucchini grilled cheese but I thought you might throw something at me. Fried stuff inside a grilled cheese? Whaaaaaaaat. How are we even friends.

But but but – you can BAKE the crispy zucchini (on a wire rack, just like how I did the chicken yesterday) and use whole wheat bread and well, there you have it folks: HEALTH FOOD.  

Whatever is easier – bake this or fry it in a little olive oil – just eat it. I’m still flipping out over all things aioli too, so… ugh.

What a freaking delicious nightmare.

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli I howsweeteats.com


Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli

Yield: makes 2 sandwiches

Total Time: 35 minutes


4 slices whole grain bread
1 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 large egg + 1 large egg white
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese
softened butter for spreading

1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
a pinch of salt + pepper


Prep the aioli first (recipe below).

In a bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white. In another bowl, whisk together the panko, breadcrumbs, flour, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Dip each zucchini slice in the egg mixture to coat, then dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place in the skillet and cook until golden - about 2 minutes per side. When finished, remove the slices with kitchen tongs and let drain on a paper towel.

Spread one side of each bread slice with softened butter. Heat a skillet (I used the same one, just wiped out) over medium heat and place bread buttered-side down, then top with a spoonful of aioli, a handful of grated cheese, a few zucchini slices, more cheese, more aioli, and the second slice of bread, this time buttered-side up. Cook until cheese is melted and both sides are golden brown - at least 5 minutes per side. Lower the heat if the bread gets too brown. Serve immediately and dip any extra zucchini slices in the leftover aioli!

Whisk together dijon mustard, egg yolk and lemon juice in a large bowl until combined. Slowly stream in olive oil while continuously whisking until the mixture emulsifies and comes together completely. Whisk in whole grain mustard and horseradish, then taste and season with a little salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.

[aioli slightly adapted martha]

Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli I howsweeteats.com

This work is worth it. Swear.

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87 Responses to “Crispy Zucchini Grilled Cheese with Dijon Horseradish Aioli.”

  1. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — June 20, 2013 @ 6:49 am

    I made a zucchini sandwich recently and it was out of this world, but I love the idea of making a crispy one! Plus the cheese you used, man looks delish!


  2. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 20, 2013 @ 6:50 am

    The Dijon Horseradish Aioli. I want that on everything. I need extra of the extra. Love those flavors.

    And the fried zucchini for as long as you can remember and a possibly 60-ish year old cast iron pan…I love stories like that.

    Now THIS is a grilled cheese. I’d love a bite!


  3. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — June 20, 2013 @ 6:55 am

    Ok… Maybe god exists. It’s the only way to explain the existence of such a beautiful sandwich.


  4. #
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat — June 20, 2013 @ 6:59 am

    Ok…wow, this looks amazing! Can I have one now please!?! ;-)


  5. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — June 20, 2013 @ 7:04 am

    Anyway to make a grilled cheese more delicious is obviouslt to add fried veggies! this is such a punchy flavour combo. got to try this on friday!


  6. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — June 20, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    Oh my gosh, grilled cheese sandwiches were a staple in my childhood. If I wasn’t eating Kraft Dinner, I was probably eating grilled cheese. For both of those options, I wanted them with nothing other than ketchup, and i mean DOUSED in ketchup, not just a little squirt. I’m a huge zucchini lover, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it crispy. On the to-do list! :)


  7. #
    Dannielle — June 20, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    this flavour combo looks like the best thing ever. Basically all the best stuff in one place. YUM!


  8. #
    Quinn Cooper — June 20, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    Wow, this sounds awesome. What a great twist on a classic grilled cheese.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style


  9. #
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries — June 20, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    Drooool. Looks amazing!


  10. #
    Tieghan — June 20, 2013 @ 7:44 am

    Seriously amazing!! I just fried zucchini last week, so good!! This sandwich though? Probably better, not gonna lie! YUM!


  11. #
    Carlene: Healthfully Ever After — June 20, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    Adding it to the ‘how to dispose of zucchini’ list! I’ve never seen this one before.


  12. #
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche — June 20, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    This is utter genius. Bread inside bread!


  13. #
    nancy k — June 20, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    I have been making fried zucchini ever since I first started growing the veggie and got sick of making zucchini bread. I have never tried it in a grilleded cheese but will now for sure. I think I might even add a slice ot two of freshly picked tomato. Fresh fried zucchini along with freshly piched tomato slices…to die for.


  14. #
    Maria — June 20, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    I’m coming over for lunch!


  15. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — June 20, 2013 @ 9:04 am

    This is one delicious-looking sandwich! :)


  16. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — June 20, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    HOLY YUM. Want want want.


  17. #
    Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies — June 20, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    Get this in my mouth, NOW! This sounds so good. And I’m totally with you on the ketchup and residual pickle juice. If judgemental people are watching, I just “accidentally” set my grilled cheese on top of my pickle. Mmmm.


  18. #
    Lauren @ The Highlands Life — June 20, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    I’m still not quite sure how my husband would feel about fried zucchini. Actually, I do. He would hate it. But that means more for me!!!


  19. #
    Alanna S — June 20, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    Grilled cheeses are my all time favourite food.

    All time. If I could eat one meal forever it would be a grilled cheese.

    Thank you for this. I didn’t know I needed this.


  20. #
    Jackie — June 20, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    OMG!!!! I’m with your parents and fried Zucchini!!! Hubby and I love it and get it every chance we get. These sandwiches look awesome and I can’t wait to try them. Unfortunately, I’m not with you on the ketchup or pickle juice dipping….not judging…just sayin’.


  21. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — June 20, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    I wonder if there is a way for me to have ALL of the mercies.


  22. #
    Kate — June 20, 2013 @ 9:52 am

    so my friends and I go in together for a CSA share every summer and we’ve been up to our ears in zucchini. we may be eating these sandwiches for the next three months and i’m totally okay with that.


  23. #
    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — June 20, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    I am drooling so hard right now. This looks fantastic.


  24. #
    Laurie E. — June 20, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    O………M……..G! That right there is the queen of grilled cheeses.


  25. #
    Marcie @ Flavor the Moments — June 20, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    This sandwich looks out of this world. I love grilled cheese, and that zucchini and aioli look so good!


  26. #
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots — June 20, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    I absolutely loveeee grilled cheese sandwiches. Its my favorite thing to order at a dinner. Grilled cheese with tomatoes!


  27. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — June 20, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    I’ll admit I was a little skeptical of the zucchini in the grilled cheese, but this I could get on board with. Love all things aioli too!


  28. #
    Abbe@This is How I Cook — June 20, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    I think your parents and i are friends. We help out the zucchini farmers, too. And this is one way to do it. Looks scrumptious!


  29. #
    Dan from Platter Talk — June 20, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    This is somee seriously good looking food. Beautiful photography and great post!


  30. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 20, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. AMAZING!!


  31. #
    Jackie @ The Beeroness — June 20, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

    I’m going to show up at your door one day and force you to make this for me. It’ll be a little awkward, but I’m OK with that.


  32. #
    Mahtab — June 20, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

    Your photography is amazing! As is your hilarious writing, and last but not least your delicious recipes. Can’t wait for your book!


  33. #
    Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar — June 20, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

    I am salivating like crazy looking at these pictures! The zucchini! The horseradish! The cheese! I need this now. Badly.


  34. #
    Larry — June 20, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    My mouth LITERALLY watered as I was looking at your photos. Did you happen to see my IG post about the Bacon Truck that I went to in Sacramento? It was on the Food Network… and it was ridiculously delicious. Grilled cheese stuffed with cheddar and bacon with cheese ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE BREAD, TOO.
    It’s good that I shared the sandwich because my (drunk) arteries might have hardened right on the spot.


  35. #
    Jennifer — June 20, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

    Sounds AMAZING!

    xo Jennifer



  36. #
    erin @hooleywithaz — June 20, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

    i approve 1000% of how you put those grilled cheeses together. cheese on both sides and the good stuff in the middle. also, i have and always will dip my grilled cheese in ketchup. amen.


  37. #
    Sophie @ life's philosophie — June 20, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

    oh my goodness. you are truly grilled cheese royalty. thank you.


  38. #
    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — June 20, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

    So many delicious layers of flavor. Love this!


  39. #
    Marlyn — June 20, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

    That looks so good!! I wonder if it would work with eggplant? I have a large one in my fridge right now, and I’m so tired of ratatouille.


  40. #
    AC — June 20, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

    One of my favorite sandwiches at one of my favorite restaurants is a “Garden Grill” which consists of a grilled cheese on sourdough surrounding grilled zucchini and onions and mushrooms with a generous amount of an artichoke spinach cheesy dip spread on the bread. Fried vegetables would undoubtedly be better, but this is already so rich I can’t usually finish it. But I make a hero’s effort. I can’t wait to try this sandwich- thanks for sharing!


  41. #
    Elizabeth — June 20, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    I’m completely overwhelmed with zucchini this summer. DH got a little too excited about the garden. For the heck of it, I’m going to see how long I can go serving zucchini every day. This is definitely on my list of ways to use it!


  42. #
    Annie @ What's Annie Making? — June 20, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

    I grew up on grilled cheeses with Kraft singles and Miracle Whip. Blech! Hot Miracle Whip! Once I figured out that grilled cheese didn’t have to taste like that I couldn’t get enough. Your version looks to die for! I’ll have to go pick up some zucchini asap!


  43. #
    Kelly M — June 20, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    Omg. It’s like two of my favorite things had a baby. A delicious, cheesy, crunchy baby. Grilled cheese? Check. Fried squash sandwich? Check. Perfection on a plate? Check check.


  44. #
    April — June 20, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    Ok, I saw this in the morning, said I would make it for lunch..and I FORGOT!! For shame! I’m doin’ it tomorrow!!! It never happens that I have all the ingredients in your recipes so this is happening. Can’t wait.


  45. #
    Molly — June 21, 2013 @ 12:11 am

    OMG Soooo with you on the pickle juice! Now, how about a fried (or crispy) pickle grilled cheese?!?!?!


  46. #
    Nicole — June 21, 2013 @ 12:19 am

    Hi there, just found your blog and this post is making me hungry!! Such a good sandwich idea that I will definitely be trying sometime soon! Oh and I love you website design too :)


  47. #
    Karen — June 21, 2013 @ 6:38 am

    How do you clean your cast iron skillet?


  48. #
    Amelia@SisterInTheKitchen — June 21, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    I love your recipes and pictures, the most delicious looking comfort food ever!


  49. #
    Sarah — June 21, 2013 @ 9:46 am

    THIS is amazing. I simply must make it, just to experience it. Thank you!!!


  50. #
    Dinah — June 21, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    OH MY GOSH! Got to have it! I am making this tonight for dinner.



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