Yano when you get in those moods where you’re just craving something really decadent and cheesy? Well, a Croque Monsieur is pretty much the definition of that & has got you covered! It’s essentially a very fancy French grilled cheese, layered with crusty sourdough bread, tangy dijon mustard, creamy bechamel, gooey cheese, and salty ham. Obviously this sandwich is normally not very vegan friendly, but it’s pretty easy to transform into a vegan dish. This was one of my favorite treats before I was vegan, and I haven’t really seen any recipes for a vegan version, so I thought I’d create my own for you guys! Follow Your Heart was kind enough to send us some goodies a couple weeks back & we’ve just been waiting to use them in the right recipe, but this one seemed so fitting. Their provolone cheese slices melt so well and are so gooey and perfect for this type of sandwich, both inside & out, and their parmesan cheese really gives the bechamel the extra kick it needs.
Let’s start off with the bechamel. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s essentially a creamy alfredo type sauce. I like to add a couple of secret, non traditional ingredients into mine though to really up the flavors. You’re going to need to start out by making a roux. Melt your vegan butter over medium heat, and then whisk in your all-purpose flour. Continue whisking for about 2-3 minutes, until it turns a pale blonde color. Once you’ve reached a blonde roux, add your garlic and stir for about a minute until fragrant. Then add your white wine to the pan to de-glaze it. Whisk this together and continue whisking for about thirty to forty seconds (the wine will get absorbed by the roux almost entirely). Next add in your regular unsweetened almond milk. It helps if your milk is slightly warm or room temperature, if it’s cold you might end up with a lumpy sauce. Whisk your milk in slowly and continue whisking for about a minute or two until its smooth and combined. You’ll want to turn the heat down to low unless you plan on whisking constantly, to make sure your sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Once your sauce is starting to thicken up, add your mustards, vegan parmesan cheese, thyme, black pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk until combined, and allow to cook over a low heat, whisking frequently, until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Once it’s ready, you can set it aside until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches.
For the rest of the sandwiches, everything is pretty easy. You’ll need some really crusty, fresh sourdough bread sliced relatively thin, vegan provolone cheese, vegan ham, and really good quality dijon mustard & whole grain mustard. For the ham, we used The Herbivorous Butcher vegan ham, which is so stupidly delicious you guys don’t even understand. They do sell products online, although not individually, a lot of their packages they do sell contain their ham! If you live in Los Angeles like we do though, you’re able to find Herbivorous Butcher products at the Follow Your Heart Market in Sherman Oaks! For the provolone cheese, we of course used the incredible Follow Your Heart vegan provolone cheese slices, they’re super creamy and melt really well which is why it works well for this recipe. The mustards we used were the Maille Old Style, & Dijon Originale mustards. I know having two types of mustards for this recipe seems kind of excessive, but the old style whole grain mustard gives such a nice crunch, and the dijon really brings that tangy flavor to the dish. You don’t necessarily need to use both mustards on the actual sandwich, I chose to only put the old style on the sandwich, but used both in the bechamel.Start by preheating your oven to 400F. Place your sourdough bread slices onto a baking tray (no need to grease or line the tray), and bake for about 5 minutes, flip, and bake for another 5 more. You don’t want the bread to really get a lot of color, just to toast up a bit to hold up to all the cheese and sauce you’re going to be piling on. Once your bread is toasted, smear some mustard on one side of the bread, and bechamel on the other. Then add your cheese slices and ham slices, and close your sandwich up! Top the sandwich with a nice thick layer of bechamel, and then another two slices of cheese. Place the cheese slices diagonally, allowing the corners to hang off so that they melt down around the sandwich. Place these guys back on the baking tray, and allow to bake for another 10 minutes so that the cheese inside gets nice and melty, then turn your oven to broil, and broil until the cheese on top is bubbling and browned. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool for about 4-5 minutes, as these will be lava hot when you first take them out of the oven. We like to top them with some fresh thyme, and serve with a side salad to cut the heaviness of the dish. For the salad, we mixed together some arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. These really are such an indulgent treat, and we truly hope you enjoy them as much as we did making them!
- 2 tbs vegan butter
- 3 tbs all-purpose flour
- 2 cups regular unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tbs black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbs dry white wine
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese
- Sourdough bread, sliced relatively thin
- Vegan ham slices
- Follow your heart provolone slices
- 4 tbs dijon mustard
- 3 tbs whole grain dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour, whisking for 2 minutes. Add your wine and whisk again for about a minute until reduced slightly. Slowly pour the milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Take off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, and the Parmesan and set aside.
- To toast the bread, place the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
- Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a few slices of ham to each, and then add a couple of slices of follow your heart provolone. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the béchamel sauce, top with another two slices of follow your heart cheese, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.