Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese: Eat Your Greens, Kids!

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[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

I've said this a time or two before, but when sugary carbs are your full-time job, salty vegetables become far more than a craving: They're an antidote to the tooth-aching sweetness involved in making and tasting dessert all day. Lately, the cold and dreary weather has put me in a grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup sort of mood, but that still leaves me hankering for a bit of something green.

Oh, sure, I could opt for a salad, but then how would I justify shoving scoops of spinach and artichoke dip between two slices of cheesy griddled bread? Like I said, for me, this is beyond a craving—it's a way of life.

You may already have a favorite recipe for spinach and artichoke dip, but my method's pretty easy. Sauté an onion until it's soft and translucent; add a bag of frozen spinach; cook the water off; then mix in a can of artichoke hearts, along with some garlic, cayenne, and kosher salt. When everything's nice and tender, I let it cool off heat for a few minutes before stirring in a batch of my Egg White Mayo.

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For me, the choice is strictly a matter of convenience; a way to whittle down the near-infinite supply of whites left over from all my test batches of butterscotch pudding. In your kitchen, whole-egg mayo may be the better choice, in which case I recommend Kenji's Two-Minute Mayo. But truth be told, it hardly matters which you choose: With all the onions, spinach, and artichokes involved, the yolky flavor gets lost in the mix.

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Since I happened to be making sandwiches for everyone at Serious Eats, I simplified the process by putting them together on an electric griddle. But if you're making only one or two sandwiches, you may prefer Kenji's method, which calls for crisping the bread on either side.

In any event, the method of assembly is the same: Butter the bread and place it on a griddle or in a skillet, then top with shredded cheese. I'm low-key-obsessed with Drunken Goat, which turns soft and stretchy as it melts. Its creamy tang offsets the earthy flavor of spinach, but without the sharpness of fresh chèvre. If that doesn't strike your fancy, try a Havarti or Fontina instead.

Top half of the bread with scoops of warm spinach and artichoke dip while the bread griddles to a nice golden brown.

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I made my spinach and artichoke dip just for this recipe, so it was warm already. If you make the dip in advance, you'll want to zap it in the microwave a few times to make sure it's piping-hot; with this method of griddling, it won't really warm up on its own.

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I'm the sort of monster who likes to griddle her sandwiches far beyond a delicate gold, but, again, that's something you can customize for yourself. However you go about it, the result is a crunchy, cheesy, super-vegetable-y sandwich that's hearty enough for dinner on those occasions when you don't intend to save room for dessert.