Simple & Seasonal: Welsh Rarebit with Grilled Asparagus & Mushrooms

A recent pledge to Meatless Mondays as well as an abundance of gorgeous local asparagus has transformed our weekday meals. We’ve enjoyed various risotto and pastas with asparagus, asparagus pizza with fresh pesto, and most recently, Welsh Rarebit.

Welsh What?? I know, the name tells us nothing about the dish, but it’s really just cheese fondue, simplified; a creamy cheese sauce, spiked with a light beer, rounded out with mustard, and poured over toast.

Welsh rarebit (or ‘rabbit’ according to Gourmet Today cookbook) is something I remember eating as a child, as it was a favorite of my father. He hails from England, where the dish originated, and no doubt also enjoyed the comforting cheesy-bread as a child.

Now I’m serving welsh rarebit to my children, only the toast is whole-wheat baguette, grilled and brushed with olive oil, and I’ve tucked some greens in there as well to balance out the dish. It’s fast, fun and fresh. Best of all, it’s meatless.

What child doesn’t love cheese and bread? We’ve enjoyed fondue in the past, but this is an even simpler way to get your kids to eat their greens. I grilled the accompaniments first, then left them warming on the grill while I whisked together the cheese sauce. That part took all of five minutes and dinner was ready!

Our vegetarian fare was eaten so quickly, there was nary a peep around the table – and we may or may not have used our fingers for those asparagus spears…

Recipe: Welsh Rarebit on Toast with Grilled Asparagus & Mushrooms

No local asparagus? Substitute your favorite steamed vegetable such as cauliflower, broccoli, green beans or brussels sprouts. Feel free to omit the bread (although it is traditional, I know) and use small boiled potatoes instead.

Serves 4

  • 16 (1/2-inch-thick) whole-wheat baguette slices, brushed with olive oil
  • 1 bundle asparagus, wooden stem parts snapped off
  • 2-4 portobello mushrooms, or mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pilsner beer, or other light beer
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1-1/2 cups)
  1. Pre-heat grill. Meanwhile toss asparagus lightly in olive oil.
  2. Grill asparagus, mushrooms and bread, taking care not to char anything. Turn off grill and keep ingredients warm while you make the rarebit.
  3. Lightly beat yolk in a medium heatproof bowl.
  4. Melt butter in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute.
  5. Add beer and milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly, then whisk in mustard and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking, and cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Gradually add cheese and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk into beaten yolk until combined.
  7. Arrange items from the grill on four plates. Pour hot cheese sauce over the top of everything and serve immediately.

What are some of your meatless options? Any thoughts on the Meatless Monday movement?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. That looks delicious. I LOVE asparagus as it is one of my favorite veggies. I picked up about 2 lbs. the other day but it is almost gone. I may have to make it this way when I buy more at the local farmers market on Saturday!

  2. Karen Robert says

    This look amazing, thanks for sharing this with us. I often make a similar recipe but my cheese sauce is gorgonzola mixed with Mascarpone cheese, melted. I also use that cheese sauce over steaks…fattening and decadent. But I want to try this one you have here now. I am copying this recipe for my CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture, our community supports our local farm). I also retweeted you. Thanks.

  3. Mmm…now this looks yummy! We ate something similar when I was young but there were definitely no greens 🙂 I like the idea of Meatless Monday a lot, although it doesn’t always work out for us that it can be “Monday” specifically. We just try to make sure we eat meatless once or twice a week. Here’s something interesting: I’m reading “The Tenth Muse” (Judith Jones’ memoires) and she talks about how her family ate meatless once a week in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s because her mother believed it to be a sign of good health.

  4. This looks like a perfect summer dinner. It’s right up my alley, thanks!
    .-= Melissa’s last blog: It’s been that kind of morning…(Chocolate Swirl Sour Cream Coffee Cake) =-.

  5. Yum. I’m definitely in the mood for grilled vegetables. I can’t wait for a post-market meal tomorrow.
    .-= Shaina’s last blog: Chicken Salad: Deconstructed Guacamole Style =-.

  6. Is the beer necessary? Is there a substitute I can use. We never have beer in the house. Otherwise, I would make this tonight.

    • Lisa, you can totally use extra milk instead of the beer. The texture will be the same, but it won’t quite have that ‘bite’ that is traditional. It will still be great!

      Make it tonight–and enjoy.

  7. Oh God, I wish my child loved bread and cheese! I think I have the only 4 yr old that doesn’t eat Ficello or mozza pizza or… Any other Moms out there with the same problem? I’m looking for ideas….

    • Lynne, that is tough! Noah only started eating cheese recently– and only cheddar. I was flabbergasted when he declared he loved fondue, but I think the fondue forks was what won him over. Can you believe that?

      • Hum, fondue forks hey? Maybe I should start using the food writer tricks I write about all the time (make funny shapes, serve as kebabs, etc.) and see what gives… I may be guilty of “do as I say, not as I do”. My son at 2 was eating every cheese under the sun, cheddar, Parmesan chunks, goat cheese, feta, even fancy Quebec artisan cheeses. I guess I’ve been too much in denial… 🙂

  8. This looks really tasty. I think meatless mondays is great…add more days if you can! we now eat meat at our house only a few times a week, never more than once a day, and usually in very small quantities. It is a GOOD thing for everyone, so thank you for promoting it!
    .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: why we don’t eat much meat =-.

  9. I’ve always wondered what Welsh Rarebit was. It looks a heck of a lot more delicious then what I was picturing in my head. Can’t wait to try it.
    .-= Cheri’s last blog: Baby Blue Monday =-.

  10. I’m with Cheri – I’ve seen the Welsh Rarebit recipe in my better homes cookbook, but never read past the title. This looks great – especially with the grilled veggies. (Though I admit I am the one person on the planet can’t stand asparagus.) Thanks for the substitution ideas!
    .-= Alissa’s last blog: Catching Up – Mothers Day =-.

  11. It’s very dangerous to come to this blog post in the late afternoon. Between the welsh rarebit with asparagus (perfect!) and the chocolate dipped bananas, I’m more than hungry! 🙂

  12. Hi!! my name is lanie a 3rd yr. college student in southern leyte state university, phil. we have a subject of production research. and i like your recipe name,. and i want your recipe to be our research because it is a unique name.. if you dont mind? can i ask what is the statement of the problem of this product,…?

  13. This recipes looks and sounds absolutely delicious.

  14. In step 4 you direct to melt the remaining 2T of butter. What was done with the first 2T?

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