Traditionally, a croque monsieur is a ham and cheese sandwich that is topped with creamy, melty, cheesy bechamel sauce and baked in the oven. I made two vegetarian versions of this, replacing the traditional ham with Yves meatless ham slices and sauteed mushrooms.
Speaking of the meatless meat, I think it is a great way to still enjoy familiar or popular dishes from around the world without actually consuming meat. It has arguably made becoming a vegetarian easier, for some. Now, on the flipside, having been vegetarian for pretty much my whole life, I must admit, it was very strange to try these soy and gluten products for the first time. Many lifelong vegetarians I know won’t touch the stuff, for the same reason that many other vegetarians do – it too closely resembles real meat. Its all very personal, which is why I made two versions of this sandwich. Both are equally delicious.
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Recipe makes approx. 2 sandwiches
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter + extra for buttering bread
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup grated gruyere + 4 extra slices
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used mixture of button and shiitake) (substitute: meatless ham slices)
- 2 shallots, minced (for mushroom filling)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (for mushroom filling)
- 4 slices of rustic white bread
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cheese bechamel sauce: In a pot, melt 1 tbsp butter on medium high heat. Add flour and stir together to make a roux/paste. Add milk, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk together. Slowly, whisk in parmesan and grated gruyere. Set aside.
- Mushroom filling: In a pan on medium high heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter, add shallots, garlic, mushrooms and salt. Saute until golden brown. Set aside.
- Butter each side of your bread slices. Toast them on a pan until golden on each side.
- Assemble your sandwiches with either the mushroom and/or the veggie ham slices and 2 slices of gruyere per sandwich.
- Place in cast iron skillet or baking tray and top each sandwich with the cheese bechamel sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place pan on the top rack of your oven and broil for approx. 7 minutes, or until the tops of the sandwich are browned and bubbling. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and enjoy 🙂