The Number 48

A great vegetarian grilled cheese sandwich!


The Number 48

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This whole week I’m posting five recipes from long ago that are my wife’s favorite recipe requests. These recipes got buried in the archives so I’m taking this week to bring them back to life! 

The never-ending quest for the perfect grilled cheese continues in this post. Given that it is National Grilled Cheese month, it only makes sense for me to post a damn fine sandwich.

There is a small market on the ground floor of my office building. You might miss it if you walked by quickly. They only accept cash and their hours are 7AM-3PM. They have amazing sandwiches for dirt cheap – almost all of which are meat packed.

Recently, I’ve been opting recently for the only vegetarian sandwich on the menu which also happens to be delicious.

There are 48 sandwiches on the menu. This is #48.

The Number 48 Sandwich

2 sandwiches
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A great vegetarian grilled cheese sandwich!


1/2 onion, sliced
3 - 4 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 poblano, sliced
4-6 ounces pepper jack or your cheese of choice and adjust amount depending on your love of cheese
1 tomato sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
Bean sprouts
2 pitas ( I like the long ones, they allow for maximum filling.)
Olive or vegetable oil
Kosher salt


1) Prepare all of your ingredients. Slice your veggies, avocado, tomato, and cheese.

2) Add a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil to a griddle or pan and add your onions, shrooms and peppers. Cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat until they are softened. Season with a pinch of salt.

3) Split them into to even piles and put your cheese on top of them. Turn heat down to low.

4) Slice pita in half and add it to your griddle cut-side down to it can toast lightly. Once toasted, flip and top one side of the pita with the avocado and tomato.

5) When your cheese is melted over the veggies, add the whole stack to the pita.

6) Top with sprouts and slice and serve.

Grilled cheese purists are probably not down with this sandwich. Some may say that it does not actually qualify as a grilled cheese because 1) it is on pita and 2) it has more “other stuff” than cheese.

I’ve opted to include it in the running though because it is original and unique and if I pile on enough cheese than I can still count it.

So let’s make them!

This is one of those recipes where it helps to get everything ready before you start cooking as it goes pretty fast. So slice up your veggies.

These are the base of the sandwich.
These are the base of the sandwich.

Slice your pitas in half. Also slice your tomatoes, avocados, and cheese separately since those don’t go on the grill right away. No need to chop the sprouts unless you just really like chopping things.

Plus get these ready.
Plus get these ready.

Put a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil on your griddle or pan and throw your onions, shrooms, and peppers down. Get them all mixed up and happy together.

Get these guys cooking.
Get these guys cooking.

After just a few minutes, they will be cooked down. Split them into to even piles and put your cheese on top of them. I put my heat on low at this point to make sure I don’t burn the veggies under the cheese.

If you don’t have a big griddle like this, you can use a large saute pan. I actually made this sandwich again using a pan just to make sure you could (and because Betsy loved it so much that she requested it two nights in a row.)

See how the pita is down in the background? You want to do that. You can toast them open-faced in the oven also. Either way you do it, oil them slightly so they get a bit crispy.

Divided up for the sandwiches.
Divided up for the sandwiches.

As your cheese melts, add your tomato and avocado to the inside of the pita. You want them to heat up slightly.

Avocado makes for good sandwiches.
Avocado makes for good sandwiches.

Add your veggie and cheese mix on top of the avocado and tomato, top with a good layer of sprouts, cut the bad boy in half and enjoy.


I have to toot my own horn here a bit and say that my version may have been better than the original #48. It is a bit spicy, has some crunch, and lots of different textures and flavors. Betsy proclaimed it better than the current leading grilled cheese. I’m not sure that I’m quite ready to make it the leader, but it is a damn tasty sandwich.

The ratings!

Cheesiness: 8. The cheese melts nicely because it is exposed more directly to the heat. Also, if you use pepper jack like I did then it is spicy also which is awesome.
Bread: 8. The pita has a nice texture, but it can be a bit flimsy and tough to work with.
Fillings: 10. There are a lot of fillings but they work really well together. It’s a great blend.
Overall: 9. I think this tied the pesto sandwich. I think this is an interesting sandwich, but the pesto and brie is such a pure, awesome grilled cheese, I couldn’t rank this over that one.

No doubt though, #48 is a very solid sandwich.

13 Responses to “The Number 48” Leave a comment

  1. you know I was at crate & barrel yesterday and I almost bought a large griddle. and now seeing this makes me want to cringe because I should have gotten it.
    this looks soooooooo damn good!

  2. Interesting, I eat a sandwich very similar to this all the time (except on a bagel) at home. The pita thing brings in a whole other dimension.

    Next time you are in the mood for this I’ll give you some of the pita dough in my freezer to bake some fresh, they are amazing. (see Sara’s Pie Dough Fail post for a picture of 1 that “looks like it is having an allergic reaction to seafood” and 1 baking perfectly).

  3. Yes, I would have to agree that at first glance, one would not think this was just “another” grilled cheese sammich.
    Ahh Haa!, but it’s not… it’s more.
    So. Much. More.

    Anyhoot… I love grilled cheese, and appreciate your post :)

  4. now i’m sad i had such a big breakfast, or i would have the diner around the corner bring me a grilled cheese sandwich and onion rings.

    as far as the best grilled cheese sandwich, i must submit the ugly american. unorthodox, perhaps. disgusting-sounding, maybe. but ridiculously delicious.

  5. Thanks for the good details on how to make this treat. I recently purchased a sandwich grill and have been keeping it busy thanks to your great site.

  6. My favorite grilled cheese sandwich is peanut butter, bacon, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese and then grill it. I had a friend whose wife had to be the worst cook in the world bar none. This is the only thing she could cook that was edible and it was delicious. Make sure you use good tomatoes in season.

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