Santa was good to me this year. He brought me a Breville Smart Grill. It’s a combination flat griddle, indoor drill, and panini press. I’ve been having a blast experimenting with it. There are thousands of sandwich combinations. Many of them taste so much better when it’s been pressed and served hot. All the ingredients get pressed together and all those flavors meld for an awesome sandwich. You can be sure you’ll be seeing more hot pressed sandwiches from us in the future.
This Grilled Chicken Caprese Panini is one of the pressed sandwiches we seem to be making A LOT. During summer months, you can often find a Caprese Salad on our table. The combination of tomato, mozzarella, and basil is simple and quite tasty. Don’t you agree? We took those same ingredients, got creative, and added a grilled chicken breast to make this quick and easy sandwich that is great for lunch or dinner.
For this recipe, we incorporate the basil as part of the seasoning and added it to a pesto spread. Pesto is easy to make with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. In our house, we make a Carrot Top Pesto. We grow carrots in our garden and use the tops to make a tasty pesto. Fresh pesto is easy to store in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for much longer. We freeze it in small ice cube trays and top with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent freezer burn. That way we just thaw out individual portions whenever we need it. It’s a great way to extend the vegetables we grow in the garden and use something that it typically discarded. If you want to make your own pesto with just basil, you can use the same recipe and just substitute basil for the carrot top greens.
You’re going to love this panini. Don’t have a panini press? No problem. When you get ready to press the sandwich, use a clean, preheated skillet or pan. Press the sandwich down with a heat safe plate that will fit inside the pan. Press the sandwich with a heavy object like a large can or brick. Just place in right on top of the plate and press gently. This will give you even pressure and a uniform sandwich. If you find yourself making a lot of pressed sandwiches, look into getting your own press. Check out the one we bought at Amazon (affiliate link).
Yields 4 servings
3 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
Grilled Chicken Caprese Panini
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
2 Tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried savory
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4-1/2 cup pesto (We used Carrot Top Pesto)
8 rustic or artisan bread, we used an Italian Country bread
16 slices of Mozzarella cheese
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- Add coconut or olive oil to a large skillet. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
- Combine salt, pepper, basil, savory, and garlic powder together. Season chicken with seasoning on both sides.
- Add chicken to skillet and cook until browned on both sides and cooked thru, about 10-12 minutes.
- While chicken is cooking, spread pesto onto the inside of both the bottom and top bread slices. To the bottom slice of bread, add the mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and spinach.
- When chicken is done, add it to the sandwich on top of the spinach. Complete the sandwich with the top slice of bread.
- Flip the sandwich onto your panini grill so that the cheese is on top. Press down and cook until cheese is melted and bread is toasted, about 3-4 minutes.
- Carefully remove from panini press and slice each sandwich in half. Serve hot.
So what are your favorite pressed sandwich or panini recipes?
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