Sometimes I find myself with too much of something and have to be really creative in order to not burn out on whatever food item that happens to be. Summer yields a ton of tomatoes, so accordingly I have all sorts of tomatoes in all shapes and sizes waiting to be consumed. And while tomatoes are great for all sorts of salads, I thought I would attempt a bruschetta of sorts.

Tomatoes pack a ton of health benefits. They are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are also naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. They also contain quite a bit of water which makes them very filling. Tomatoes are great for your skin. They contain beta-carotene which helps protect against sun damage. Their lycopene content also makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, a leading cause of fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention, tomatoes are just plain delicious and are at the peak of their season during the summer months.

Bruschetta is an Italian antipasto dish involving grilled white bread most often topped with some sort of tomato salad. That may have been the inspiration, but I took it a few steps further in order to turn it into a meal. Now a grilled cheese sandwich is by no means something I would normally consume since we’re talking a ton of simple carbohydrates and dairy! But I definitely tweaked the traditional grilled cheese  sandwich in order to make it more healthy, but just as hearty and satisfying. The healthy substitutions made were: whole wheat bread instead of white, all ‘white cheeses’ (i.e. monterey jack and string cheese), no use of butter (only olive oil), and the amazing addition of so many tomatoes! And since we’re talking ‘open-face’ that’s half the amount of bread used!

Ingredients:

{Bruschetta}

one large handful {quartered} sunburst tomatoes

1 string cheese {chopped into tiny squares}

½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in bowl and set aside.

{Grilled Cheese Sandwich}

extra virgin olive oil

2 large slices of one large heirloom tomato

¾ cup finely shredded romaine lettuce

2 slices of whole wheat bread

4 slices of monterey jack cheese

Directions:

Brush both sides of one slice of bread with olive oil. Place bread in stove-top skillet on high to brown. Place 2 slices of monterey jack cheese atop and melt. Remove from stove-top and transfer to plate. Top with one large slice of the heirloom tomato. Top with shredded romaine lettuce. Spoon cheese / sunburst- tomato mixture ‘bruschetta’ atop and serve while still warm. Repeat with the other slice of bread.

Makes two open-face grilled cheese bruschetta sandwiches.