Quick pickled red onions takes this easy broccoli melt recipe to the next level. When cooking feels like too much, this vegetable grilled cheese recipe comes in clutch for a snack, lunch, or light dinner.
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This healthy-ish humble melt comes together fast for when the pantry is bare or the desire to cook is low. Slightly spicy, garlicky broccoli with melted cheese goes on top of crunchy bread with punchy onions.
Steamed or roasted broccoli with cheese is a classic combo- the ultimate trick to get vegetable adversant people to take a bite. Once upon a time before I used to eat everything, I was a very picky eater as a kid (sorry Mom and Dad). Luckily I grew out of it, but that used to be the only way I would eat broccoli.
So consider this broccoli melt recipe the grown up version to pre-shredded cheese placed on top of broccoli. We’re adulting it by quick pickling red onion and putting it on our favorite crusty bread. Think of it as an open faced veggie grilled cheese.
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Broiling the broccoli melts means minimal cooking time. Enjoy this broccoli sandwich with a salad, a side to a main dish, or by itself.
Broccoli Melt Recipe Ingredients
- Bread: A good melt starts with a good slice of bread. A bread that can get a nice crust on the outside but still have some airiness on the inside is a good choice for this recipe. We use baguette, but a nice Italian or French loaf would also be a great option.
- Cheese: Sharp cheddar provides a nice bite, but you could use a milder cheese too.
- Pickled onions: Make the onions first so they have a good 10 – 15 minutes to soak up some of that vinegar while you prep everything else. Personally, this broccoli melt wouldn’t be nearly as good without that punch of acid, so don’t skip this. All you need is red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper.
- Broccoli: Use fresh broccoli instead of frozen. Frozen has too much water in it and it would be too soggy for this. Also, don’t throw out the stems! Cut them small so they cook all the way through. They offer a delicious crunch.
- Mayo: Give each slice of bread a good smear of your mayo of choice. (Duke’s FTW).
- Seasonings: A hefty dose of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes is all you need. Adjust the pepper flakes to your preferred level of heat.
How To Make Broccoli Melt Recipe
These melts are so easy to put together and make a great last minute meal or snack. You’re only a few steps away from biting into this cheesy goodness.
- Pickle the onions. Thinly slice red onion and place into a bowl. Add a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper, and a few good glugs of red wine vinegar, and mix together. No need to drown the onions in vinegar. You need just enough so there’s a little extra liquid at the bottom.
- Cook the broccoli. After you’ve cut the broccoli into small bite sized pieces, add to a pan on medium high heat with olive. Add your seasonings, stir, and allow the broccoli to brown, about 3 – 5 minutes.
Add a little water to the pan, reduce the heat, and cover for a couple of minutes to soften the broccoli. Uncover and check for doneness.
- Assemble. With your oven on broil, lightly toast the bread slices for about a minute. Remove and smear on some mayo. Top with the red onions and broccoli. Really load those slices up!
Pro move: take a few spoonfuls of the vinegar mixture and drizzle on top. Then top with cheese.
- Melt. Pop those in the oven and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Carefully watch the toasts so they don’t burn. Remove when they look bubbly and slightly brown. You could also give this process an extra kick of flavor by using this garlic butter.
Broccoli Melt Recipe
- ½ baguette, sliced lengthwise and cut in half or your favorite loaf of bread
- 1 small broccoli crown
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ large red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tb red wine vinegar
- salt and black pepper
- pinch of sugar
- 2 tb olive oil
- 2 tb mayo
- 4 – 6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- Combine red onion, sugar, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Preheat broiler. Finely chop broccoli stem and cut florets into bite size pieces. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes and garlic powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, allowing it to brown slightly. Reduce heat to medium low, add ¼ cup of water, and cover. Reduce heat to low and uncover. Cook until broccoli is tender.
- Broil bread until slightly toasted, about a minute. Remove from oven and spread mayo onto bread. Add pickled red onions to each slice. Top with as much broccoli as you can. Take a couple spoonfuls of vinegar mixture and pour over the slices. Add cheese to cover the broccoli.
- Broil until bubbling and brown watching closely, about 2 – 3 minutes depending on your broiler.