25 November 2015

Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Panini

I've been eating a lot of panini sandwiches since returning from Tokyo with my Meyer Perfect Grill Pan. Well, since I lugged it all the way back, must make use of it right?

One of the first recipes that caught my attention on the Panini recipe book is the Grilled Veggie Panini with pesto sauce. The pictures look so good that I simply have to try it even though this particular panini consists of 2 separate components and require preparation at least one day in advance.

Here's my Meyer brand Perfect Grill Pan bought from Tokyo. Actually the grill pan is pretty common, it's the glass top that is difficult to find.

The recipe book was first published in Japan and subsequently translated and published in Taiwan. My copy was bought from Taiwan, courtesy of my brother.

Vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers and zucchini were grilled and then marinated in herbs (thyme and rosemary) and extra virgin olive oil at least one day in advance.

The pesto sauce is made by blending sweet basil, pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, it can be made on the same day as the grilled veggie for flavours to develop overnight.

Pesto sauce

  • 45g sweet basil
  • 40g pinenuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 60ml (4tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place everything into a blender and grind till fine paste.
  2. Store in sterilised glass jar in fridge for use within 3 days.
  3. Freeze the portions not used in freezer, for up to 1 month.

Grilled veggies and pesto sauce, ready for use.

Grilled & Marinated Vegetables

  • 2 small egg plant
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 zucchini
  • 5 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil 
  1. Slice the egg plant and zucchini into 5mm slices, bell peppers into 2-3 strips.
  2. Grill the vegetables using a grill pan on medium heat till both sides are slightly browned.
  3. Place the grilled vegetables into a shallow container, add the garlic cloves, thyme, rosemary, and enough evoo to cover the vegetables.
  4. Place container in chiller for a night and ready to use.

Once the preparation work is completed, assembling the panini sandwich is extremely easy. First, place a slice of bread of your choice on the grill pan, top with the marinated veggies, cubed avocado, pesto sauce, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Then place another slice of bread on top, flip the entire sandwich over, press/cover with the glass top and done.

It's not necessary to grill the sandwiches but I like my bread to be slightly crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. And if you don't have the glass top, can just press the bread using a spatula. Or if no grill pan, just use oven, toaster or even air-fryer.

Grilled vegetables & Pesto Panini

  • 2 slices of bread
  • Assorted marinated vegetables, tossed in drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 2-3 tsp pesto sauce
  1. Heat up grill pan on low heat. Place a slice of bread and cover with glass top for 30s.
  2. Place vegetables, avocado and pesto sauce on the bread.
  3. Cover with the remaining slice of bread and flip the whole sandwich over.
  4. Press with glass top for 30s.
  5. Best served warm.

This grilled vegetable & pesto panini is really wholesome and fulfilling, makes a simple, satisfying lunch.

Love the combination of the different tastes and textures which blend well with each other; sweetness of the vegetables, the nutty fragrance and strong aroma of the pesto sauce, the creaminess of avocado, the crisp of the bread.

In fact, love it so much that I ate it 3 days in a roll! Well, actually coz I wanted to use up all the marinated vegetables :p

Gonna make this sandwich again one of these days!

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