When I was pregnant with my daughter 6 years ago, my husband and I took a week long trip to Rome. This was food heaven for a pregnant woman! The word “panino” in Italian means roll or biscuit. However, they too grill the sandwiches and call them panini. Originally, panini were filled with tomato, basil and mozzarella, a mouth watering combination on its own. That Christmas, my mother-in-law gifted me a panini press to have at home and my love for anything grilled only intensified. Don’t believe it? Check out this recipe!
Goat Cheese & Kalamata Olive Panini
Serves 4. Prep time: 7 minutes Total time: 12 minutes
- 14 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 12-oz whole-grain Italian loaf bread, halved lengthwise
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 1/2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 large tomato (6 oz), sliced into 8 rounds
- Olive oil cooking spray
- In a medium bowl, combine olives, onion, garlic, basil, pepper flakes and vinegar. Place bread halves on a cutting board, cut-side-up, and spoon olive mixture onto bottom half of bread. Top with spinach, cheese and tomato. Top with other half of bread and press down lightly to adhere. Using a serrated knife, cut bread into 4 equal pieces.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat skillet with cooking spray, then add sandwiches. Add weight to sandwiches by covering them with a sheet of aluminum foil, then topping them with a dinner plate and a few bread plates. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until lightly golden on bottom. Remove plates and foil and flip sandwiches over. Again, place foil and plates on top of sandwiches and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 2 more minutes or until browned on bottom. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 2 minutes. (NOTE: This will allow sandwiches to continue heating throughout without drying out and over-browning.) Enjoy!
Nutrients per sandwich: Calories: 301, Total Fat: 6 g, Sat. Fat: 0.5 g, Carbs: 50 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 13 g, Protein: 9 g, Sodium: 537 mg, Cholesterol: 6.5 mg
**Original recipe from Clean Eating Magazine