What’s up with the pineapples on houses everywhere?, either Mike asked me or I asked him when we first moved to Virginia.
Because they literally are everywhere…we noticed them carved or engraved on mailboxes, porches, doorways, doorknobs, door knockers, and welcome mats, and that’s before you even get inside. Once inside a traditional Southern house, you may notice a pineapple design integrated right into the house (for example, carved into fireplace mantels), as well as throughout the décor (like in paintings and carpets).
So, why are they so into pineapple?
I was curious, so I Googled it and found out that pineapple symbolizes hospitality, stemming from the time when explorers to the West Indies and Americas found that a pineapple placed at a village entrance was a sign of welcome.
This symbolism spread. When voyagers would return to Europe they’d spear a pineapple and put it outside their house to let visitors know that the master of the house was home and receiving guests with whom he would entertain with food and tales of his adventures. The symbolism of pineapple then spread to Colonial North America, where hostesses used it as a focal point in their home décor (particularly as part of their dining table decorations), and also served it as dessert for special meals.
I go through an entire pineapple each week making fresh juice, but I don’t feature the flavor of pineapple itself in my cooking very often. This recipe makes up for that because pineapple really is the star of the show…of course, in addition to two fabulous kinds of cheese that take this sandwich from a good grilled cheese to fabulously gooey, cheesy bliss.
Here I used a combo of GO Veggie! Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese and GO Veggie! Lactose Free Mozzarella Slices. I know that might seem like a lot of cheese, but as we all know, grilled cheese is not the time or the place to cheap out on cheese. We’re going for cheese oblivion here. The cream cheese adds silky smooth texture and the mozzarella adds great flavor and melts into the perfect grilled cheese. GO Veggie! cheese products are plant-based and lactose-free with no cholesterol, and both the cream cheese and mozzarella slices are gluten-free, so the only adjustment necessary for people with gluten sensitivities is to use gluten-free bread as well.
If you’re into grilled cheese, try this recipe next time a craving hits!
(Information about the symbolism of pineapple in this post came from Mind Spring, Westbridge Homes, and Sweet Southern Prep.)
- 6 (1/4-inch thick) slices of fresh pineapple (peel the pineapple before slicing it cross-wise)
- 8 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
- 8 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 8 tablespoons GO Veggie! Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese
- 8 slices GO Veggie! Lactose Free Mozzarella Slices
- 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 to 3 teaspoons water
- Cut each pineapple slice in half. Preheat a large dry nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pineapple slices and cook until slightly softened and browned in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pineapple to a plate.
- Spread 1 teaspoon butter on 1 side of each slice of bread.
- Place 4 slices of bread (butter side down) on a cutting board. Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese on top of each, and then top each with 3 slices of caramelized pineapple and 2 slices of mozzarella cheese. Place the remaining slices of bread on top (butter side up).
- Grill the sandwiches in a large skillet (or on a griddle) over low heat until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden on both sides.
- For the honeyed walnuts, add the walnuts, honey, and enough water to slightly thin it out to small saucepan. Bring up to a simmer over medium heat and cook 1 minute.
- To serve, transfer each sandwich to a plate. Serve the sandwiches hot along with the honeyed walnuts to spoon on top.
Disclosure: I received the GO Veggie! products that I used in this recipe for free, and I also received compensation for this post. I am happy for the opportunity to share brands that I believe in with my readers, and I hope you enjoy my recipe. As always, opinions stated are my own.
Love adding pineapple into a savory dish, especially with cheese! I like this combination on the pizza, and it sounds really great in a sandwich! So simple and satisfying! :)
Huh. I guess I haven’t spent much time in the south, because I didn’t know this about pineapples! Well, I understand their obsession…pineapples are the best! I would have never thought to stuff them into grilled cheese, but it’s just genius.
Marissa | Pinch and Swirl says
That’s so cool about the meaning of pineapple; I had no idea. I love sandwiches that are a mix of sweet and savory and this one looks heavenly.
Kevin | keviniscooking says
Love this idea and actually didn’t know the symbolism behind the pineapple myself – so thanks for that! I will put the honey walnuts in my sandwich and call it a day, lovely.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
What a killer looking grilled cheese and I love the honeyed walnuts!
The Food Hunter says
I’m loving the honey walnuts on this
Kim Beaulieu says
Faith this is just stunning. I am so impressed by how gorgeous you make a grilled cheese look. Mine never look this good. The flavour profile in this recipe is out of this world. I had no idea what pineapples meant so that was cool to learn.
Yep. This is exactly what I want to be eating for lunch!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
I am a huge fan of caramelized pineapple but the honeyed walnuts just take it over the top! Gorgeous!
Steph @ Steph in Thyme says
My mom loves pineapple decor in her home – I didn’t know for the longest time that it symbolized hospitality. I thought she just really liked pineapple! Thank you so much for this recipe, being gluten-free and mostly plant-based, it’s exciting to see a luxurious grilled cheese recipe that I can eat! :)
Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! On a Diet says
Oh this looks amazing! I love your idea of combining pineapple with the Go Veggie cream cheese and mozz and grilling them. Yum! My kids hate pineapple (weird I know) so this would be all for ME!
eat good 4 life says
What a great combination. Love the walnuts in this!!
Nora (A Clean Bake) says
I absolutely love sweet grilled cheese, and the fact that tis is made with vegan cheese means it is the first one I can have in a long time!
Gerry @ foodnessgracious says
Wow, this is a serious yumm sandwich!!!
Laura @ Family Spice says
Oooh, pineapple and cheese. What a great combination to try. And I didn’t know that pineapple symbolized hospitality. I’m going to start hunting for hidden pineapples here in California!
Shannon @ Dinner from the Heart says
Grilled cheese is a staple at our house, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought to add pineapple to it! I have a huge crush on grilled pineapple so this sandwich is definitely happening at my house! :)
Amanda Paa says
This looks like grilled cheese heaven! And makes me think that if you cut them up into bite size sandwiches they could even be dessert. And pineapple works so well for sandwiches because it creates it own “layer”. yum!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom says
Well this is about the bet grilled cheese I have EVER seen!
Chrisy @ Homemade Hooplah says
So many interesting flavors going on with this! I can’t wait to try it :D And I’m originally from Virginia, so I know what you mean about all those Pineapples. I never really paid much attention to it until I moved out west and noticed they were missing.
Laura @MotherWouldKnow says
Oh my goodness – I am so ready to get my hands sticky eating this sandwich. I love pineapple and the sweet and savory combination here. While I’ve certainly made (and eaten) more than my fair share of grilled cheese sandwiches, it has never occurred to me to add pineapple to one. Kudos to you Faith, for taking the pineapple off the door post and put it back in the kitchen where it belongs! (Like you, when I first saw all those Virginia pineapples on everything, I was totally mystified and years later, I’m still a bit puzzled as to why anyone wants pineapple curtains in their dining room.)
I discovered grilled pineapple last summer and have been craving it ever since, this is a killer sandwich!
I didn’t know pineapples symbolize hospitality or that they’re on the outside of all the houses in VA! Love the history lesson, m’dear! Plus caramelized pineapple in my grilled cheese? Pinch me, I must be having the best dream ever! I’ve got to give Go Veggie cheese a try and eat all the fancy grilled cheeses!
YUM! I love pineapple- and the whole mix of flavors just sounds great! Love the new look of the blog!
Marvelous! That is such an original and delicious combination.