The Ultimate Vegan Grilled Cheese Recipe – Featuring Jackfruit And Hot Sauce

This vegan grilled cheese is sure to be your new favorite


2 Minutes Read

Vegan grilled cheese featuring jackfruit and nut-free vegan cheese sauce This grilled cheese is a dairy-free take on the traditional dish - Media Credit: Rainbow Plant Life

For many of us, grilled cheese was a childhood staple. There aren’t many dishes quite as comforting as a classic grilled cheese, and there’s absolutely no reason to miss out on this meal as a vegan.

Grilled cheese recipes are hugely varied, and many people will have their own special recipe that they swear by. If you fancy being a bit more adventurous than the usual plain cheese version, the below recipe features jackfruit, hot sauce, lots of spices, and a homemade vegan cheese sauce.

How to make vegan grilled cheese

A few years ago, the idea of vegan grilled cheese would have seemed a distant dream. In recent times, however, the dairy-free cheese market has skyrocketed. It’s been projected to reach USD $3.313.98 million in 2023, and grow to $8,064.01 million by 2033. While dairy-free cheese use to be confined to the back shelves of health food shops, there are now a wide variety available to buy in mainstream supermarkets across the world.

The below vegan grilled cheese recipe uses a home-made nut-free cheese sauce, rather than a store-bought version. You can find out details of how to make this below.

What is jackfruit?

Jackfruit refers to a tropical tree fruit that tends to be considerably large in size. It’s the largest tree-borne fruit in the world, and can reach up to 80 pounds in weight. When ripe, jackfruit tastes like a combination of banana, melon, and pineapple.

Unripened jackfruit, however, is a hugely popular meat alternative. This is because it possesses a tough, meat-like texture, and it’s increasingly popular in curries and other dishes all over the world. Jackfruit should be easy to find in tinned form in most supermarkets.

Jackfruit grilled cheese recipe

If you're craving a meaty grilled cheese but follow a plant-based diet, this jackfruit grilled cheese recipe is for you
Vegan grilled cheese featuring jackfruit and nut-free vegan cheese sauce
No ratings yet
Duration1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Prep Time20 mins


  • 1 (20-ounce) can jackfruit in brine or water
  • 1 tsp olive oil, or oil of choice (oil is not necessary to use if you have a good nonstick skillet)
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp vegan butter (can substitute refined coconut oil)
  • 4-5 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce, original cayenne or Xtra hot (depending on your spice preference – 5 tablespoons will be quite spicy)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 tsp maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Nut free vegan cheese sauce (please see below for the recipe)
  • 2-3 cups  baby spinach, blanched or sautéed
  • 8 slices multigrain bread, or use gluten-free bread for a gluten-free option
  • Olive oil or oil of choice for cooking the grilled cheese


Prepare the jackfruit

  • Drain the canned jackfruit and lightly rinse under water, shaking off excess water. Use your fingers to remove any thick cores and pull the pieces apart so that it resembles shredded meat.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the shredded jackfruit and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the jackfruit begins to brown around the edges.

Make the buffalo sauce

  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, add the vegan butter (or coconut oil). Once melted, add the hot sauce, garlic powder, smoked paprika, pinch of kosher salt,, and maple syrup (or agave). Whisk together to combine and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the buffalo sauce to the jackfruit in the skillet, along with the 1/4 cup water. Stir to incorporate the sauce into the jackfruit, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated. Wipe out the skillet.

Assemble the grilled cheese

  • Drizzle the 8 slices of bread from both sides with just a tiny bit of olive oil. Top four slices with about 2 tablespoons of the Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce (more if you like). Portion out ¼ of the jackfruit mixture onto each slice of bread, along with 1/4 of the spinach. Add another few tablespoons of the cheese sauce. Finally, top with the remaining slices of bread.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, cook each sandwich for 2 minutes, pressing down down on top with a spatula, or until golden brown on one side. Flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes, then remove from the heat.

Nut-free vegan cheese sauce recipe

You’ll never believe this Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce is, well, nut-free! It’s also soy-free, oil-free, and Paleo and has just 30 calories per 1/4 cup! It’s creamy and luxurious but made with nourishing, wholesome ingredients. Say hello to mac’n cheese, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, and nachos!
No ratings yet
Duration40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Prep Time20 mins


  • 4 heaped cups of cauliflower florets (about 1 medium head of cauliflower, ~400g)
  • 4 cups (about 18 ounces or ~500g) of butternut squash, chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 32 oz (~945ml) water (stovetop method only)
  • 32 oz (~945ml) vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water can substitute with 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (add more for a more pronounced cheesier flavor)
  • 3/4 cup (~195ml) canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp hot or sweet paprika
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper optional for a lightly spicy version optional for a lightly spicy version
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste


  • Add the cauliflower florets, chopped butternut squash, and 4 cups vegetable broth to your Instant Pot. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure and set the cook time to 4 minutes.
  • Once the 4-minute timer has completed and beeps, perform a quick pressure release by carefully switching the Pressure Release knob from Sealing to Venting.
  • Open the pot and transfer the vegetables to a blender. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking broth. Add 1 1/4 cups to the blender, leaving 1/4 cup to the side.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, heat the 1/4 cup water in a nonstick skillet over medium heat (alternatively, instead of the water, you can heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil). Once the water is simmering (or the oil is shimmering), add the minced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the water mostly evaporates and the mixture is fragrant.
  • Transfer the garlic mixture to the blender with the cooked vegetables and reserved cooking liquid. Add the nutritional yeast, coconut milk paprika, salt, and black pepper to taste. Blend until the sauce is smooth, thick, and creamy, adding the reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid as needed to thin out the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  • If you have leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Or you can freeze them in smaller portions for a longer period of time.

Stovetop method

  • Add the 4 cups of water and the 4 cups of vegetable broth in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the cauliflower florets and chopped butternut squash, cover the pan, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender.
  • Transfer the vegetables to a blender. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Add 1 1/4 cups to the blender, leaving 1/4 cup to the side.
  • Follow remaining steps 4 and 5, as outlined above.
  • If you have leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Or you can freeze them in smaller portions for a longer period of time.

This recipe was republished with permission from Rainbow Plant Life. You can see the original recipe here.

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