Sometimes inspiration strikes when I have a partially-used red onion in the refrigerator. The other day, I was getting ready to make grilled cheese for the family, before having afternoon company, when I remembered the onion. Then I wondered what else I might have on hand that would be good with it. A tub of kalamata olives and a few, still-beautiful cherry tomatoes, leftover from salad ingredients. Mmm-hmm! I caramelized the onion and sautéed the olives and tomatoes in the same pan with the grilled cheese. Therefore, these additions added little time or mess, but a lot of flavor to what would have otherwise been an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich.


Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion and Kalamata Olives

  • Yield: 2 Sandwiches
  • Time: 10–15 minutes


  • butter
  • ½ cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 kalamata olives, halved
  • sourdough bread
  • sharp white cheddar, in slices


  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan, over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and olives to the pan. Cook for another minute or two.
  3. Push the onions, tomatoes and olives aside in the pan to make room for the bread. Add butter, if needed.
  4. Heat the inside of the bread briefly first, to help melt the cheese. Turn the bread over and place the cheese slices on one side, then top with the other slice of bread. Stir the onions, seeing that they don’t burn. When the sandwich is golden on one side, flip and grill the other side.
  5. Once the cheese has melted and both sides are golden, remove the sandwich, open and scoop in the other ingredients. So. Good!

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