Caprese panini with pesto sandwich recipe

Balsamic Glazed Caprese Panini Sandwich

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I love bread. Always have, always will. I don’t care how much diet culture vilifies it, bread is an important staple of a balanced diet, providing us with complex carbohydrates, vitamin, minerals and fiber. Plus, it’s satisfying and tastes amazing! In this post, I’ll walk you through using this food for the gods to make a simple yet divine Caprese Panini sandwich. Filled with bold Mediterranean flavors as well as nutrient packed veggies, it’s perfect for any meal, any time! Did I mention it’s ready in 15 minutes?

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Best bread for Caprese Sandwich

For this caprese sandwich recipe, I used artisanal panini bread from a friend of mine who has a bread making business. If you’re ever here in Puerto Rico, you have to try out Amasau, a bread artist dedicated to making artisan breads with sourdough.

You can make this caprese panini with a wide variety of breads, from ciabatta to focaccia to sourdough, but I picked a baguette just because it’s shape lends itself well to slicing lengthwise, stuffing with the ingredients, grilling to perfection and cutting into individual portions.

best bread for caprese
A beautiful homemade baguette loaf from Amasau

A panini being a sandwich that is typically  “made with Italian bread (such as ciabatta, rosetta, and michetta), usually served warmed by grilling or toasting”, and stuffed with a variety of ingredients, you want good, sturdy bread to start out with.

How to make a Caprese Panini

Ingredients-for-caprese-panini-sandwich
Like a pizza Margherita, caprese salad features the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, and red. Here, I transferred this classic salad into a crusty baguette for a satisfying sandwich.

Just like the classic caprese salad it’s modeled after, this panini includes the traditional ingredients: sliced mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and sweet basil; salt & pepper; and olive oil. The tomatoes and basil I used are actually grown in my own yard!

Caprese salad is occasionally paired with arugula, but I used spinach for this sandwich for convenience reasons. I also added a dash of balsamic glaze to elevate the flavors of this sandwich even more.

As I mentioned above, I started out with a baguette loaf (although you can use any type of sturdy bread you’d like) and slice it half lengthwise.

Next, spread the pesto over each half generously. I used store bought pesto, but if you prefer homemade, go for it!

After that, add the sliced tomatoes, spinach leaves, basil, salt and pepper, mozzarella cheese slices to one of the bread halves. Drizzle this half with a bit of balsamic glaze. Put the other half of the baguette on top of this one. Brush the entire sandwich with olive oil with a basting brush before grilling it.

Buy it Here: Basting brush

How to make the balsamic glaze

The balsamic glaze is actually really simple to make. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a heavy bottomed pan at medium low heat. Stir occasionally as the vinegar starts to thicken. Remove from heat once it reaches a syrupy consistency, as seen in the above photo. 

Heat balsamic vinegar at medium heat, stirring frequently
When it reaches a syrupy consistency it’s ready

How to press a panini

Now, carefully transfer the panini to a hot panini press, skillet or griddle. I like to use my trusty 3-in-1 waffle iron, since I can easily switch the plates and turn it into a griddle. However, baguette bread being as sturdy as it is, I had to use a cast iron grill press, in order to whip this bad boy into panini perfection, since the griddle top didn’t put the amount of pressure I like.

Buy it Here: Cast Iron Grill Press

Press the panini for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling. If using a skillet, flip when golden brown on each side. Transfer to a cutting and cut in half.

What to eat with caprese sandwich

This caprese panini sandwich is just as good on its own, or served with a soup, salad, or fresh chopped veggies and a healthy dip. Try out one of these recipes for the perfect side dish:

Caprese panini with pesto sandwich recipe

Balsamic Glazed Caprese Panini with Pesto Sandwich

Melissa E. Nieves, LND, RD, MPH
This Caprese Panini is filled with fresh tomatoes, spinach, basil, mozzarella cheese, and pesto. Drizzled with a balsamic glaze and grilled to perfection, serve it pipping hot for the best, quick meal.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Sandwich
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 fresh baguette loaf
  • ¼ cup pesto jarred or homemade
  • 1 small tomato, ripe
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar for the glaze*
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Slice the baguette loaf it half lengthwise. Spread the pesto over each half generously.
  • Add the sliced tomatoes, spinach leaves, basil, salt and pepper, mozzarella cheese slices to one of the bread halves. Drizzle this half with a bit of balsamic glaze.
  • Put the other half of the baguette on top of this one. Brush the entire sandwich with olive oil with a basting brush before grilling it.
  • Carefully transfer the panini to a hot panini press, skillet or griddle. Lightly oil cooking surface if necessary.
  • Press panini for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling. If using a skillet, flip when golden brown on each side. Transfer to a cutting and cut in half.
  • Serve with soup, salad, or fresh vegetables and dip.

Notes

*To make the balsamic glaze: Heat the balsamic vinegar in a heavy bottomed pan at medium low heat. Stir occasionally as the vinegar starts to thicken. Remove from heat once it reaches a syrupy consistency. 
Keyword Caprese panini, caprese sandwich, grilled caprese panini, Healthy Recipe, Picnic sandwich, Vegetarian Recipe, veggie picnic sandwich

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