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Cheddar Jalapeño Gourmet Grilled Cheese with King Oscar Sardines

This spicy Cheddar Jalapeño Gourmet Grilled Cheese with King Oscar Sardines is melty, messy, and delicious. It’s packed with veggies, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids! Forget the tuna melt…

This recipe is sponsored by King Oscar | Thanks for supporting the brands I love and trust.


As I roll into my third trimester of pregnancy, I’m trying really hard to put healthier spins on unhealthy cravings. There isn’t anything healthy about a messy, melty grilled cheese sandwich. But if you add in some lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and veggies, you can feel a little more balanced! (And a little less guilty… )

Ingredients for gourmet grilled cheese laid out.

A hearty tuna melt was always a favorite indulgence of mine. But since being introduced to canned sardines—which are a healthy and sustainable choice—canned tuna doesn’t cross my mind. Ever. Except of course while pregnant, because pregnancy is weird and random and fickle like that. Luckily oily fish like mackerel, kipper, and sardines are great for a baby’s brain and eye development. And! I was able to stomach sardines all throughout my first trimester, gobbling up plenty of sardine omelettes to help little dude’s eyes and brain. Based on the amount of sardines I’ve consumed over the last few months, I’m thinking he should be a smarty pants and get a sweet scholarship one day ;)

King Oscar’s Sardines.

King Oscar’s Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers are perfect for turning your ordinary tuna melt into something more. Fished from Norway’s fjords and coastal waters, these lightly smoked gems pack a big punch of nutrition and flavor. They’re hand-packed in extra virgin olive oil along with big slices of jalapeño peppers. If you like adding a kick to your grilled cheese sandwiches, this is the way to do it. However, if your palate or belly isn’t keen on spice, swap the brisling sardines with jalapeño peppers for King Oscar’s Brisling Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and trade the peppers for chopped up pickles.

Opened can of King Oscar sardines with slices of jalapenos.

Bowl of filling ingredients.

Close up of Cheddar Jalapeño Gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches stacked on top of one another in a melted mess.

Cheddar Jalapeño Gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches stacked on top of one another in a melted mess.

Want more ways to use King Oscar’s sardines? This healthy Greek Pita makes for a perfect lunch! You can also incorporate them into a delicious Instant Pot Spanish Rice with Sardines in Tomato Sauce for an easy weeknight dinner.

Here are some other great ways to use sardines…

If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you.

Also, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme and be featured in our newsletter.

Cheddar Jalapeño Gourmet Grilled Cheese with King Oscar Sardines

This spicy Cheddar Jalapeño Gourmet Grilled Cheese with King Oscar Sardines is melty, messy, and delicious. It's packed with veggies, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids!
Course Lunch
Cuisine Pescetarian, Seafood
Keyword Grilled Cheese, lunch, Pescatarian, pescetarian, Sardines
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 3.75 oz can of King Oscar's Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers, oil drained *See notes for adaptation
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1 TBSP freshly chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices good quality cheddar cheese (I used a smokehouse cheddar)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Butter one side of each bread slice and place the slices onto a baking sheet, buttered side down. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Drain the oil from the sardines, then dump the sardines and slices of jalapeños from the can to the mayo mixture. With a fork, break down the sardines and jalapeños, stirring them into the mixture.
  • Add the celery, pickled jalapeños, red onion, tomatoes, and parsley to the mixture. Stir to combine until everything is thoroughly mixed; season with salt and pepper.
  • Place one slice of cheddar on top of each bread slice (remember to make sure they're all buttered side down on the baking sheet at this point). Transfer half of the mixture onto one slice of bread, spreading it out evenly. Do the same thing with the rest of the mixture on another slice of bread. Then, close the sandwiches with the other two slices of cheese and bread.
  • Bake until the cheese is melted and bread is golden brown, about 7-10 minutes. Carefully flip the sandwiches halfway through if you need to. (This depends on how the heat distributes throughout your oven.)

Notes

If spicy isn't your thing, you can swap the Brisling Sardines with Hot Jalapeño Peppers with another variety, like King Oscar's Brisling Sardines in Olive Oil or Zesty Tomato Sauce. Then, simply replace the TBSP of finely chopped pickled jalapeños with 2 TBSP of finely chopped dill pickles.

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