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Vegan Grilled Cheese with Shiitake Bacon and Tomato



for the cheese

for the shiitake bacon

to finish

  • your favorite bread, for toasting (I used focaccia)
  • olive oil, for the bread
  • fresh tomato slices, for serving


  1. Place the roasted red pepper into a small food processor and puree well. Leave it in the processor and set aside.
  2. Place the coconut milk, vinegar, agar and salt into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until a small boil is achieved, whisking continuously the entire time. Remove from the heat and whisk in the tapioca/water mixture, nooch and lecithin. Now, pour a bit of the mixture into the food processor with the roasted red pepper, then puree again until combined. Then, scrape all of the contents back into the pan, and stir again to combine. Transfer to a container, cover, then place in the refrigerator to slightly gel overnight.
  3. When you are ready to make the sandwiches, toss the sliced shiitake in the oils and liquid smoke, and allow to marinate for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Heat a flat skillet over medium heat. Place the shiitake into the pan, making sure all shiitakes make contact with the bottom of the pan with no overlapping. Allow to slightly brown for about 2 minutes, flip, then allow to brown on the other side for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel, to slightly drain and crisp up.
  5. Return to your pan. Apply a little olive oil to your bread, then place oil side down. If you are using thin sandwich bread, slice the cheese thinly, then place onto the bread. If you are using thicker bread like focaccia, you can just melt some of the cheese separately in the microwave or small pan, then pour onto the bread once it is browned and removed from the pan.
  6. Arrange the shiitake bacon and sliced tomato onto the sandwich. Serve immediately.


This recipe will make enough cheese for 3 sandwiches with some leftover for other applications later.

  • Cook Time: 30 minutes