Grilled Vegetable Panini Recipe

Grilled Vegetable Panini Recipe

This recipe originally appeared in the Fall 2014 edition of our seasonal magazine.

We don’t always need to have meat in our sandwich. Try this selection with cheese and end of summer (or early fall) vegetables. This vegetarian hot sandwich packs in savory eggplant and sweet bell peppers, along with zucchini and red onions, all grilled to caramelize the sugars and create intense flavors.

Makes 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 Three Cheese Loaf, or hearty bread
  • ½ cup refrigerated or jarred pesto
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small eggplant (12 ounces), peeled and sliced lengthwise into slabs ¼ inch thick
  • 2 small red bell peppers, seeded and quartered lengthwise
  • 12 ounces medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into slabs ¼ inch thick
  • ½ small red onion, sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomato strips
  • Cooking spray


  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Cut the loaf of bread from top to bottom into 6 center-cut slices, each about ¼ inch thick.
  2. Spread 1 side of 3 slices with pesto. Layer the mozzarella on other 3 slices. Put the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, and onion on a large rimmed baking sheet. Coat both sides with cooking spray and sprinkle with HEALTHY EATING CONFIDENT COOK the salt, oregano, and pepper. Grill the eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and onion directly over heat until nicely marked by the grill and just tender, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Let cool slightly, then slice the vegetables if necessary to fit onto the bread.
  3. Arrange the vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes over the cheese. Top with the pesto- spread slices of bread. Coat all over with cooking spray. Grill the sandwiches over medium heat with a heavy weight, such as a cast-iron pan or foil-wrapped brick, on each sandwich to compress it. If using a panini press, press down the lid.
  4. Cook until nicely marked by the grill and the cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Cut each sandwich diagonally in half and serve hot.

Tip: Look for oil packed sun-dried tomato strips in the Italian section of your grocery store or near the fresh tomatoes in the produce aisle.

Nutrition Information:

Per Serving Calories: 373 (kcal), Total Fat: 13 (g), Cholesterol: 22 (mg), Carbohydrates: 49 (g), Fiber: 5 (g), Protein: 18 (g), Sodium: 1035 (mg). Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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By Rita Larsen, RDN; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor

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