Monte Cristo Sandwich

Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been craving all manner of unnecessarily decadent French toasts, buttery grilled cheeses, and bacon burgers. The instigator: “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
“Triple D” is one of The Food Network’s top shows, and as a part of some terrible conspiracy, its time slot coincides with my weekday trips to the gym. Watching the Food Network while exercising seems like a tortuous combo, yet I find myself doing the same at least three days a week. My typical options are “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, Vitamix infomercials, and cable news shows so dramatic/repetitive, I can only stand them in three-minute intervals. Between the options for my little treadmill TV, I’m a “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” gal. My personal “Places to Visit”list is ever expanding, and thanks to the show, I’ll be fully briefed on where to eat once I arrive.
While “Triple D” is entertaining, watching it while working out does have downsides: 
1) I am continually reminded of how much I’d be rather eating pancakes than doing the elliptical and 
2) I am left craving heavy foods that are fantastic on occasion but would stop my heart if I ate them with the same frequency that I watch The Food Network.
One diner dish for which I simply cannot shake my craving is a Monte Cristo sandwich. Picture triple-decker slices of French toast, stuffed with ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese, then battered and deep fried to perfection. Sound over-the-top? Don’t forget to dust that baby with powdered sugar and smother it in raspberry jam. Yum. Now, pass the Tums please.
Unable (and unwilling) to forget about Monsieur Monte Cristo, I decided to create a lighter version at home that stayed true to the original diner intent. I researched diner recipes that ranged from a hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco to IHOP. My version keeps the three slices of bread, but swaps white for whole wheat, replaces mayo with Greek yogurt, and skips the deep fryer, maintaining crunch with Cornflakes instead.

Results? Even “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” would be proud. My Monte Cristo craving: 100% satisfied.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
 A lean take on a diner-classic
Keep the diner taste, drop the deep fryer. 

The Monte Cristo

This Monte Cristo Sandwich recipe is a much healthier and lighter version of the diner classic. It keeps the traditional flavor and crunch but loses the calories.


  • 6 slices whole wheat bread
  • 4 tablespoons non-fat plain greek yogurt — can sub plain standard yogurt or light mayo
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices deli ham — (about 4 oz.)
  • 4 slices deli turkey — (about 4 oz.)
  • 2 large eggs — beaten
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup cornflakes cereal — crushed
  • Cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar — for serving
  • Strawberry, — raspberry, or blackberry jam for serving


For each sandwich:

  1. Lay out 2 slices of bread and spread one side with approximately 1/2 T. of Greek yogurt each. Top each bread slice with a slice of Swiss cheese. Top 1 cheese slice with 2 pieces of turkey and the other with 2 pieces of ham. Lay a third bread slice on top of turkey stack. Flip the ham-topped slice on top of the turkey stack to make a triple-decker sandwich.
  2. Using a knife, cut the crusts off the sandwich (to help pinch and seal the ends). Wrap the sandwich tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. (Wrapping compacts the sandwich and prevents the egg batter from seeping in.)
  3. Combine the eggs, milk, nutmeg, and salt in a shallow dish. Spread crushed cornflakes in a second shallow dish and coat with cooking spray.
  4. Heat a small amount of oil or cooking spray in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Unwrap the sandwich and dip it in the egg batter, coat each side evenly. Place in cornflake dish, ensuring both sides are coated.
  5. Gently place sandwich in the skillet and pan fry, turning once, until golden brown and hot.
  6. Cut the sandwich in half, transfer it to a plate, and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry jam.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gourmet Sandwich Recipe, The Monte Cristo

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Simple ingredients, satisfying results.