Ooey, gooey, and melt-y on the inside, and ever so pleasantly crisp on the outside, the grilled cheese sandwich is classic comfort food at its best. This April, we’re celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month with a savvy collection of grilled cheese recipes that kick the old-time standard sandwich up a few notches. Sure, nothing beats the traditional, but these alternatives involve some spicy, sophisticated and nutritious updates. With greens, beans and even pomegranate seeds, we’re toasting up seven innovative and exciting ways to revamp your favorite childhood sandwich. Say cheese and create your own unique skillet sandwich! Grilled Cheese with Pesto and Black Bean Spread Mix things up Tex-Mex style with this grilled cheese sandwich brought to us by the Lean Green Bean. Never thought lime and cilantro would work in anything but a taco? Think again! This spiced up classic marries the flavors of cumin, garlic, lime and cilantro in a zesty vegetarian sandwich topped with the added crunch of pumpkin seeds. Sure, you’ve got your cheese and bread staples, but this recipe also features black beans, which pump up your fiber and protein intake. This grilled cheese fiesta is the perfect healthy version of comfort food! Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese Let’s be real — who doesn’t love a warm and melty spinach artichoke dip? Well, what if that dip somehow made its way into the warm heart of a grilled sandwich? Here you have it, the spinach and artichoke grilled cheese by the Hungry Girl! To top it off, you can enjoy this lunchtime hit without feeling guilty since the recipe calls for low-calorie ingredients like skim mozzarella cheese and light whipped butter. And of course, spinach and artichoke add a healthy dose of your daily “greens.” Let’s call it a grilled cheese for the health nut’s soul. Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Onions This grilled cheese by Naturally Ella calls for one large red onion, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a dash of pure elegance. Sometimes, it takes just one simple touch to transform something from ordinary to decadently gourmet. In this tasteful option, balsamic glazed onions and a tangy dash of Dijon mustard do just the trick. Add these ingredients with gouda or manchego cheese between two slices of seedy bread, and you’ve got your frying pan’s next melted masterpiece. Hats off to the chef! Avocado Pomegranate Grilled Cheese Pomegranate seeds are like little bite-size bursts of health, full of powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. And now these sweet and tangy seeds are making their way out of the juice bottle and into your grilled cheese sandwich! Although this may seem eccentric, this recipe by Fit Foodie Finds is surely worth a try. Pomegranate adds a surprisingly flavorful punch, while rich and creamy avocado (packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats) makes this sandwich even smoother. Sauteed Chard and Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sometimes nothing is better than a gooey, warm sandwich surrounded by toasted bread, with a subtle yet satisfying crunch as you bite into it. This gruyere grilled cheese by the Sprouted Kitchen surely hits that sweet spot. The addition of sautéed shallots, Swiss chard, and crisp sweet apple slices lend this comfort food a unique freshness that balances perfectly with the classic grilled cheese ingredients. Now, the salad and the sandwich come together in perfect harmony. Here’s a grilled cheese sandwich fit for a real grown up (and yes, the kids will like it too)! Broccoli Melts Whoever said a grilled cheese sandwich requires two slices of bread? These broccoli melts by the Smitten Kitchen introduce a new “open-faced” spin on the childhood classic. Of course, you still have your crispy, toasty bread and your favorite gooey cheese, but this version also welcomes a new player to the team — broccoli! Full of vitamin K, vitamin C, and antioxidants, broccoli doesn’t skimp on its health protective qualities. Additionally, red pepper flakes, garlic, and lemon zest fire up the flavor on this sandwich. Get your skillet sizzling! The High Vibe Sandwich Makeover Bringing you the ultimate in gourmet grilled cheese goodness, meet My New Roots. This “High Vibe Sandwich Makeover” shakes up a classic French tartine sandwich, turning it into a delectable version of what we’d call a seriously mean grilled cheese. Homemade almond pesto and peppery arugula bring in some super fresh spring flavors. A dash of raw honey adds a welcome hint of sweetness, which pairs well with the creamy and tangy pecorino cheese. All hail “le fromage.” Both delicious and nutritious, here’s a grilled cheese with some serious competitive edge. Bon appétit! Want more? 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