The grilled cheese is probably most people’s favorite sandwich. On April 12th, it’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day and we get to celebrate the ooey-gooey goodness of the ultimate comfort food. The simple combination of cooked bread and cheese has been eaten since ancient times and is loved all around the world. The original grilled cheese that Americans ate was actually an open-faced sandwich made under the broiler.

If you think being dairy-free means no more grilled cheese, think again. With all the delicious, melty vegan cheeses out there, this favorite sandwich can be yours any time you crave it. Get easy, delicious recipes in 10 Homemade Vegan Cheeses to Add in Your Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwich and 20 Amazing Vegan Cheeses You Can Make at Home.

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Grilled cheese sandwiches take us back to childhood with its delicious simplicity but it can also be made very grown-up with specialty cheeses, artisanal bread, and more sophisticated ingredients. Use your imagination and let your creativity flow. Celebrate the day with these 12 stretchy, melty variations of the grilled cheese sandwich that are dairy-free and delicious.

1. Fancy Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese

Fancy Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese [Vegan]

This Fancy Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese is a grilled cheese sandwich for the ages. It’s got all the best textures and flavors going on – tart and sweet from the strawberries and balsamic vinegar, crunchy and toasty bread, fresh spinach, and ooey-gooey cheese. This is a lovely grown-up sandwich to serve at a fancy brunch.

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2. Southwestern Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Southwestern Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This Southwestern Grilled Cheese Sandwich is filled with bold and spicy flavors. Inside the toasty bread are salsa-infused mashed beans with grilled sweet potatoes and jalapeño garlic Havarti cheese. This sandwich is a perfect balance of flavors, taste, and health to keep you happy … and full!

3. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Sandwich

Grilled Chese

You can have soup with your grilled cheese sandwich or you can have your soup in your grilled cheese sandwich. This Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Sandwich is made with a thick, savory bean spread that tastes cheesy and tomato soup-y. You get the classic combo in one delicious sandwich.

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4. Maple Tempeh Sandwich With Caramelized Apples and Onions

Grilled Cheese

This Maple Tempeh Sandwich is made of tempeh sandwiched between two slices of sourdough bread then topped with a cashew cheese, caramelized apples, and onions. This sandwich is the perfect balance of sweet and savory and is truly delicious. Serve this sandwich with the perfect side: a bowl of creamy tomato soup.

5. Caramelized Shallot and Portobello Open-Faced Sandwich

Caramelized Shallot and Portobello Open-Faced Sandwich

The original grilled cheese sandwiches were open-faced and this Caramelized Shallot and Portobello Open-Faced Sandwich will make you a believer. Sweet caramelized shallots and meaty Portobello mushrooms top crusty whole grain bread. Then it’s topped with a creamy homemade cashew cream sauce that’s lemony and cheesy. This is a sandwich that you need to eat with a fork and knife and it’s best served with a bowl of your favorite soup.

6. Roasted Eggplant and Marinated Tomato Sandwich

Roasted Eggplant and Marinated Tomato Sandwich

Hummus stands in for the usual cheese in this Roasted Eggplant and Marinated Tomato Sandwich. Savory grilled eggplant, balsamic-marinated tomatoes, hummus, and Kalamata olives are pressed between two slices of toasted homemade bread. The hummus takes on a cheesy flavor in this sandwich that’s perfect for lunch or a quick dinner with a salad or bowl of soup.

7. Southern-Style Pulled Mushroom Sandwich

Southern-Style Pulled Mushroom Sandwich

As far as comfort foods go, loaded sandwiches are among the best of the best and this Southern-Style Pulled Mushroom Sandwich is fully loaded. In this take on a Southern classic, shredded, meaty mushrooms are coated in barbecue sauce, and sandwiched between two crusty slices of bread with crunchy coleslaw. Add the cheese of your choice for melty, stretchy goodness that will leave you giddy with joy.

8. Coconut Pistachio Cashew Cheese Panini with Cranberry Jam

Coconut Pistachio Cashew Cheese Panini With Cranberry Jam

The name of this Coconut Pistachio Cashew Cheese Panini with Cranberry Jam is a mouthful and you’ll want your mouth full of this warm, sweet, and savory sandwich. Some bites are more sweet from the cranberry jam while others are more savory and crunchy from the cashew cheese. Either way, you’re in for a treat you’ll never forget.

9. Swiss Cheese and Onion Patty Melt

Grilled Cheese

Patty melts are like grilled cheese sandwiches with meat inside. This Swiss Cheese and Onion Patty Melt is filled with savory beans and Swiss cheese homemade from cashews, miso, and tahini. This quick and easy sandwich is perfect for dinner when you’re tired but want something filling and delicious.

10. Green Goddess Griller

Green Goddess Griller

You’ll feel like a green goddess (or god) when you treat yourself to one of these amazing Green Goddess Griller sandwiches! Nutty pesto, creamy avocado, and melty vegan cheese come together between two pieces of bread to create the grilled sandwich of your dreams. It’s so easy being green, isn’t it?

It’s no wonder the grilled cheese sandwich is everyone’s favorite – stretchy, melty cheese and crispy bread is a classic combination that is always a hit. Whether you make it simple or elevated, grilled cheese sandwiches that are dairy-free and delicious are definitely something to celebrate.

Lead image source: Fancy Strawberry Balsamic Grilled Cheese