Classic-Toastie-Winter-Version: Ham & Cheese with Kale Pesto

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon

Classic-Toastie-Winter-Version: Ham & Cheese with Kale Pesto

  • Author: Toastie Lab
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7-8 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 minute
  • Yield: 2 1x


It’s snowy, it’s cold, it’s white outside and it’s kale season! This wintery toastie is hearty and heavy with flavor. It gives you that real winter glow that’s so typical for winter foods. Similar to the classic toasted sandwich, but totally winter-perfect! 



  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 slices of ham
  • 2 slices of cheese
  • Oil or butter for the grill

For the pesto:

  • 50 grams of fresh kale (finely chopped)
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tbsp of blanched sliced almonds (or hemp seeds or pine nuts)


  1. First make the pesto: put the kale, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and almonds in the blender. Blend until you have chunky pesto. You might need to stop blending and swirl things around to make sure it blends well. 
  2. If using butter: spread butter on the outsides of the bread (both slices). 
  3. Spread a thick layer of pesto on one slice of bread. Add a slice of ham and a slice of cheese. Place the second slice of bread on top. 
  4. Drizzle some oil on the grill
  5. Carefully place the toastie on the grill and close it. 
  6. Grill for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Cut diagonally and serve with ketchup.


Bread tip: Sourdough bread

Sauce tip: Ketchup

  • Category: Winterfood
  • Method: Sandwich Grill
  • Cuisine: Toasted Sandwich

Keywords: toasted sandwich, ham and cheese sandwich, grilled cheese, kale pesto

It’s snowy, it’s cold, it’s white outside and it’s kale season! This wintery toastie is hearty and heavy with flavor. It gives you that real winter glow that’s so typical for winter foods. Similar to the classic toasted sandwich, but totally winter-perfect! 

Winter Wonderland

There’s something about kale that makes it so perfect for winter! It probably has to do something with the fact that the kale-season starts in September, making it the perfect vegetable to get ready for colder days. 

To really bring out the hardy flavor of kale, this pesto recipe requires a lot of garlic. Really, don’t cut back on the garlic – it really brings out the true winter feelings underneath! 

And of course, if it’s September and you’re craving to get your first kale portion in, this recipe will be perfectly delicious, too! 

Bready business

Since kale is such a winter vegetable, you need a harty, thick, filling piece of bread with this toastie. Jack and I used sourdough bread because it is thick and strong, which is great to make sure you don’t lose any pesto!

Besides, sourdough bread has that subtle soury taste, which combines perfectly with the sour from the lemon in the pesto. 

And, of course, we love sourdough bread!

If you use thick slices of bread (which is perfect for this recipe) make sure that you are patient enough to melt all the cheese! The flavour is a thousand times better when the cheese is thoroughly melted and the pesto and ham get totally absorbed by it all! 

Ham Heaven

If you’re in the position to choose between different types of ham, we recommend opting for a thinly sliced one. First of all, because thinly sliced ham always lends itself perfectly well to add an extra slice (or two) without it looking ridiculous.

Second of all, the unorganized shape of the ham slices, will make sure that the melted cheese and the pesto will integrate well with it. 

You don’t want everything sliding off your sandwich, right?!

Opt for boiled ham (not smoked) to make sure the flavor pallet doesn’t go completely bananas 😉 Just like your classical toasted sandwich!

Cheese Choices

OK. Cheese. Tread carefully, because this is going to be a gamechanger for your toastie. 

Opt for age cheese here. Either a Gouda or Edam. The salty kind of cheese. The one that crumbles apart when you try to fold it over. And then wait patiently until the grill gets to the center of the toastie and leaves the cheese totally gewy and melted and blended in with the ham and the bread. Oooooh YES that’s the one!

You could choose for a cheddar or a younger cheese, but it won’t be the same. You need the aged one, one that’s old and stubborn and won’t melt until the bread is really nice and crunchy. 

Believe me. Aged cheese. 

Crunchy Kale-Pesto

I love kale. So much so that Jack gets jealous. And according to Healthline, it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! And it is chock full of vitamins and minerals and tons of other goodies that are supposedly good for you. 

Using fresh kale is crucial for this recipe in order to get a delicious crunchy pesto. 

I prefer to use chopped kale, but you can, of course, chop your own! I wouldn’t use any kale that comes from a jar. You need the crunch from raw kale to bring out the best in this recipe! 

Kale pesto is one of my new favorites (favorite everything, really) mostly because I love kale! But the combination of lemon, olive oil, garlic and something nutty is just perfect. I used almond flakes in this recipe (mostly because those were on my shelf), but you might as well use pine nuts, pecan nuts, hemp seeds or cashews. 

Blend the kale pesto as smoothly as you like it to be, but try to maintain a tad of crunchiness by keeping it slightly chunky. 

Greasy Grillin’

Every time Jack and I make a toasted sandwich, we have discussion about whether or not to butter the outside of the bread. In this case… I insisted on sticking to using only a drop of olive oil, since the pesto will be greasy enough. 

Now, of course. We made two versions: one for me with olive oil, and one for Jack with butter. 

Long story short: butter always wins. 

But, you don’t need to add butter to this toastie. You can totally skip it and put the sandwich straight onto the grill, or you can throw a drop of olive oil on there.

You decide! 🙂

Easy Equipment

If you’re using the sourdough bread, we definitely recommend using the grill. Sourdough bread in general is quite hard to flatten in a classic toastie maker, but in the grill it will be just fine. 

  • Pro-Tip: Just make sure that if you’re using thicker bread, you want to make sure that the core of the toastie is actually hot enough to melt the cheese (patience, my dears!) 

If you’re using any other kind of bread, feel free to experiment with the equipment you use. You can always check out our recommended tools!

Saucy Supplements

Since this is a classic toastie, you gotta opt for classic ketchup on the side. 

Toastie Lab

Toastie Lab is the collective effort of Jack and Eveline. We love making, experimenting with, and eating toasted sandwiches.

Recent Content