I'm really not much of a sandwich girl. Maybe it's because my university years were wrought with far too many squished tuna sammies eaten out of my backpack. But then I came up with this Mediterranean Monte Cristo recipe and everything changed! If you love Greek food, you'll be all over this sandwich....
In one of my first jobs after university graduation, I worked with a lady that ate the same peanut butter and banana sandwich every day.
She said she needed routine; it gave her comfort. But she was always positive. I guess it didn't take much to make her happy. And if she wasn't such a positive person, I would have found it depressing to even sit with her at lunch. A lousy lunch everyday (especially in the form of a cold sandwich) is a downer, even if it's not your own lunch.
But HOT sandwiches, now that's a game changer!
This is, by far, the best Monte Cristo sandwich (in my humble opinion)! This gourmet sandwich is a Mediterranean take on the Monte Cristo and is perfect when you are craving Greek flavors like Kalamata black olive and feta. Ham, grape leaves, a lemony, garlic aioli and melty cheese bring it together to make the best Monte Cristo you've ever had!
📖 Variations & Substitutions:
Grape leaves: substitute Swiss chard
Pepperoncini: ( I use Mezzetta brand) you could substitute any hot pepper/tamed or regular jalapenos
Kalamata black olives - you can substitute regular black olives
Bread: you can use any bread, but white bread is best for monte cristos
Make it WW friendly: use light feta cheese, light swiss cheese, non-fat ham, light mayonnaise and WW friendly bread
💭 Top tip
Grape Leaves: The leaves of grape vines are used most commonly in Greek cooking for "dolmas" as well as in some other Mediterranean dishes. It's important that you cover grape leaves with boiling water and let them sit 5 minutes, then drain, pat dry and set aside (do the same if using chard leaves) *NOTE: I buy grape leaves in a jar at a Superstore in Calgary or at a Mediterranean market
You can make this sandwich ahead, but it's best fresh. You can also store it for 1 day (tops) in the fridge and reheat it for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave. Do NOT freeze it!
I love that paninis are still all trendy-like. And because every corner coffee shop now has a press (and so do I!), I only have to eat a cold sandwich out of pure desperation. However, you don't even need a panini press for this sandwich - I use a frying pan. But it still qualifies as a gourmet sandwich.
I have a job that requires I eat lunch on my lap in my van pretty regularly. So, in order to avoid eating a cold sandwich, I will go to great lengths. Before leaving my office, I will heat it up the sandwich, put it in one of the Tupperware sandwich holders, wrap it in tin foil and house it in my insulated lunch bag until after my meeting when I can finally eat. Trust me, it's worth the effort. This gourmet sandwich recipe is also worth the effort, although it's pretty easy to make.
I created this sandwich because I love Greek food and I like my food HOT! So... if you like your sandwiches hot, and are looking for unique Monte Cristo Sandwiches, or gourmet sandwich ideas, then give this Mediterranean Monte a try! You won't be disappointed.
And here's another couple awesome HOT sammies for you to try!
Leftover Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Panini-Bonus - it uses up your leftover turkey!
Did you make this recipe? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
🥪Mediterranean Monte Sandwich Recipe
- 2 slices sliced ham
- 8 California grape leaves (chard leaves can be substituted
- 2 tablespoon pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoon roasted red bell peppers from jar (I use Mezzetta), drained and patted dry
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 4 slices white bread (you can use any bread, but these hold up best)
- ½ teaspoon minced or pureed garlic * I use garlic from a jar
- 3 teaspoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 2 teaspoon honey mustard
- 4 slices swiss cheese
- 4 tablespoon feta cheese , very finely crumbled
- 2 tablespoon deli-sliced Golden Greek pepperoncini ( I use Mezzetta) you could substitute any hot pepper/tamed or regular jalapenos
- Place grape leaves in large bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit 5 minutes. When done, drain, pat dry and set aside (do the same if using Chard leaves)
- Meanwhile, blend black olives and red peppers in food processor and mix until very finely chopped (Not pureed but just before reaching that stage)
- Transfer pepper/olive mix to wide, shallow bowl and add egg, milk and oregano. Mix until egg is broken up and fully incorporated.
- Spray frying pan with non- stick spray and heat element to medium on stovetop. Using your hands, place all 4 pieces of bread in the egg mixture (one at a time) and coat bread with egg mixture, then flip to coat other side.
- Immediately transfer to preheated frying pan and cook all 4 pieces of bread in frying pan until lightly browned and no longer soggy , on both sides (about 5 minutes on each side). Transfer to work surface (eg. cutting board)
- Mix mayonnaise with crushed garlic and lemon rind in small bowl.
- Spread inside of 2 pieces of bread with the mayo mixture and the other pieces with honey mustard. Add ham and Swiss cheese on the mustard side, dividing between both sandwiches.
- Next lay 4 grape leaves on top of each Swiss cheese on each sandwich, then sprinkle on feta cheese. Top with peperoncini, divided between both sandwiches, again. Cover with other piece of bread (mayo side down).
- Return to frying pan and cook on low (covered) until inside is melted and outside is crunchy (about 3-5 minutes). (You may have to flip a couple of times).
- Serve HOT, of course!