Making Veggie Paninis

Sometimes a great meal is much simpler than you think. I had the pleasure of making my own veggie paninis at a Whole Foods cooking class and it gave me a new outlook on homemade sandwiches. As Maxine has pointed out in the past, paninis can be fantastic, but I never quite realized the extent of it until the Whole Foods kitchen gave us an assortment of fresh veggies, cheeses, spreads and breads so we could each create our own signature sandwiches.

We started with our choice of bread: sourdough, wheat or Italian. I chose wheat since I’m on that whole grain kick.

Next we dabbed our slices of bread with some spread. They had horseradish sauce, mayonnaise, a chipotle sauce of sorts, a tomato salsa and my sauce of choice: basil pesto. There were many more options than what I listed but I really didn’t know what half of them were, nor did I care, because the pesto made me very happy.

The selection of cheeses included some of my favorites: feta and fresh mozzarella. I used these two along with some regular shredded mozzarella to fill in some more cheesy flavor. Other choices were gorgonzola, cheddar, goat cheese, and Emmenhaler (a Swiss cheese).

The vegetables were definitely the highlight! With fresh tomatoes, purple onions, baby spinach, sauteed mushrooms, yellow peppers, black olives, asparagus, artichokes and apples, there were certainly many ingredients to choose from! I was most excited about the artichokes and apples for an unexpected twist to what I had originally planned. Of course I touted my panini with tomato and spinach leaves for filler and even enjoyed some yummy yellow pepper slices as well. We also had our choice of herbs which I did not photograph: basil, chives and marjoram.

After we made our sandwiches, the chef sprayed some butter on the outsides of our sandwiches. She then placed them on the in-house grill and used heavy pans to press them down and give them those nice grlll marks.

So when it comes to making the perfect panini, simply choose your ideal ingredients in each of these four categories: bread, spread, cheese and veggies. It’s that simple! You can also add in your choice of deli meat for a non-vegetarian sandwich. And when it comes to ingredients, the fresher they are, the better your sandwich. A panini press or a George Foreman grill will work perfectly or you can even make your panini in a skillet (find something like a plate to press them down) as long as you won’t miss the grill marks.

Having an ingredient buffet set up like this made for a fun activity! You can plan a party around making dinner (or lunch) with friends and let them choose their own sandwich ingredients. Thank Whole Foods for the idea! :)

More panini ingredient ideas and panini recipes:

Ham, Swiss and Pesto Panini
Chicken Florentine Panini
Fontina Cheese and Prosciutto Panini with Fresh Basil
Smoked Turkey Reuben Panini with Cheddar Cheese
Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella and Prosciutto Panini

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  • Syrie

    Thanks for the inspiration. I tend to make the same old cheese and tomato or tuna sandwiches but you’re right, the options are endless!Delish!

  • PaniniKathy

    What a fun class! And great grill marks! :-)

  • Kevin

    Nice looking panini!

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