Bacon and Jalapeno Pesto Grilled Cheese

When you want something spicy, cheesy, toasty, and naughty, this HITS THE SPOT.

The pesto recipe yields approximately 1 cup. Lucky for you, you’ll have leftovers. The pesto is fantastic drizzled on pizzas, scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos, and generally anything else that needs a spicy kick.

Makes one grilled cheese.


For the roasted jalapeno pesto:

  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup fresh italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 green onions, ends and tops trimmed
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the grilled cheese:

  • Two slices sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or softened butter
  • One slice american cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked crisp
  • Handful of pickled banana peppers
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno pesto


For the roasted jalapeno pesto:

  1. Roast the jalapenos on the stovetop or in the oven.
    1. For the stovetop: roast the jalapenos over a gas burner on medium heat, turning occasionally, until the skin is evenly charred/blackened.
    2. For the oven: preheat the broiler. Slice the stems off the jalapenos and slice them horizontally in half. Line a baking sheet with foil and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven, a few inches under the broiler. Let the peppers roast until the skins are charred and blackened, approx 3 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 10 minutes (this makes the skin much easier to peel off). Remove the stem and peel the charred skin from the peppers. To peel the peppers, I use my knife in a gentle scraping motion to remove the blackened skins. Discard the skins.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the jalapenos, parsley, garlic, green onions, arugula, and water. Pulse until everything is combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Add water in additional 1 tsp increments to thin as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the grilled cheese:

  1. Heat a pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes.
  2. Spread the mayonnaise or butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice of bread, mayonnaise or butter-side-down, in the pan. Layer the sliced cheese, shredded cheese, bacon (break the strips in half), and banana peppers on top of the slice of bread in the pan. Spread the jalapeno pesto on the other slice of bread (on the unbuttered side), and place the slice pesto-side-down on top of the sandwich.
  3. Once the cheese is starting to melt, use a spatula to flip the sandwich over. Cook until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Enjoy immediately.