We test panini recipes here at Glover Gardens all the time as part of the Sandwich Wednesday protocol. The basic idea for this vegetarian recipe came from a 2010 recipe from Food & Wine, but we’ve Glover Gardens-ized it.
The first time we made this sandwich, we did a combo of grilled zucchini and chicken breast, but the zucchini was the star. Don’t let the vegetarian nature of the sandwich fool you – this is a hearty sandwich.
Grilled Zucchini Panini
The creaminess of the smoked gruyere and tang of the paprika-spiked pesto are the perfect complements to grilled zucchini.
- 4 sub rolls or bolillos
- 2 medium or 1 large zucchini (about 1 lb.), cut diagonally in 1/4 inch thick slices
- ~1 tbsp. olive oil for drizzling
- 6-8 oz. of smoked gruyere, cut in 1/8-1/4 inch slices
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 4 small to medium cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp. hot Hungarian paprika (see note 1)
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. salt
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Step 1 Optional: use a knife to hollow out the sub rolls or bolillos. Spray or brush the outsides with olive oil and set aside.
- Step 2 Make the pesto: in a mini food processor, grind the basil, paprika and garlic until finely chopped, then add the olive oil and process again until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and process to blend.
- Step 3 Heat the grill to medium high (see note 2).
- Step 4 Cut the zucchini on a diagonal in 1/4 inch slices, arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Slice the cheese in 1/8 inch slices and set aside.
- Step 5 Grill the zucchini for about 2 minutes per side, until it is al dente and has nice grill marks.
- Step 6 Heat the panini press to medium.
- Step 7 Make the sandwiches: smear the peston on both the top and bottom of each sub roll or bolillo, then season with salt and pepper.
- Step 8 Add the zucchini in a layer and season again, then the cheese.
- Step 9 Put the two halves of the sandwich together and place on the panini press, closing the lid and cooking until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty, about 8-10 minutes.
- Step 10 Remove, slice diagonally and serve immediately.
- if you don’t have hot Hungarian paprika, you can substitute with a mix of 2/3 regular paprika and 1/3 cayenne.
- If you don’t have a gas grill or don’t want to heat it up, you can ‘grill’ (sear) the zucchini on a hot cast iron skillet for a similar result, or use an indoor appliance like a Foreman Grill.
Join The Grill-Meister in the Kitchen
The Grill-Meister of Glover Gardens is the panini pro, but lucky for me, he takes requests and enjoys creative Sandwich Wednesday brainstorming meetings.
For more Sandwich Wednesday hits, find the archive here.
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