Pesto Caprese Panini Recipe

This pesto Caprese panini is a delicious Italian-inspired sandwich that comes together in under 15 minutes. Recipe developer Milena Manolova likes this recipe because "The pesto Caprese panini has a rich and flavorful profile. The pesto provides a garlicky, herbaceous flavor, while the mozzarella cheese adds a creamy sweetness. The tomatoes add a burst of acidity, and the basil provides a fresh finish. The drizzle of balsamic glaze adds a touch of sweetness and tang, balancing the savory elements."

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The Caprese salad that inspired this panini recipe is a classic Italian dish that originated on the island of Capri in the 1920s. Comprised of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil, the salad features the colors of the Italian flag — green, white, and red. The salad quickly gained favor in Italy and beyond thanks to its simple yet delicious flavor. Over time, the salad has evolved to include balsamic, olive oil, or even pesto.

The ingredients in a Caprese salad have become popular additions to sandwiches and paninis. The combination of flavors and textures translates beautifully to a sandwich, and the addition of crusty bread gives it a satisfying crunch. A panini press gives the bread a golden-brown crust and melts the cheese to perfection. Being quick and easy to prepare, this pesto Caprese sandwich is a perfect choice for a quick lunch, busy weeknights, or casual gatherings.

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Gather all the ingredients for the pesto Caprese panini recipe

You need just a few ingredients for this delicious pesto Caprese panini: ciabatta, basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, salt, black pepper, tomatoes, basil leaves, and balsamic. Because of the simplicity of the recipe, make sure to use fresh and good-quality ingredients for the best flavor profile.

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Step 1: Slice the ciabatta

Slice the ciabatta in half crosswise and then lengthwise, to make 4 equal pieces (2 tops and 2 bottoms).

Step 2: Spread the pesto

Spread pesto on all 4 slices.

Step 3: Add the mozzarella cheese

Place mozzarella slices on one side of each of the half-loaves.

Step 4: Season with salt and pepper

Sprinkle salt and black pepper on top.

Step 5: Add fresh basil on top

Place fresh basil leaves on the mozzarella.

Step 6: Place tomato slices on top

Place the tomato slices on top of the basil.

Step 7: Drizzle balsamic

Drizzle balsamic over the tomatoes.

Step 8: Close the sandwich

Close the sandwich with the top slices of bread.

Step 9: Cook the sandwich using panini press

Place each sandwich in a hot panini press and cook for about 2 minutes until the cheese starts to melt slightly.

Step 10: Serve right away

Serve the panini hot.

How do you store the pesto Caprese panini and can you make it in advance?

If you have any leftovers of the pesto Caprese panini you can store them in the refrigerator. Once the panini is cooked, allow it to cool to room temperature. Then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can also prepare the panini ahead of time by assembling it and storing it in the refrigerator, uncooked, for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to eat it, simply place it on the panini presser and cook according to the recipe instructions.

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Keep in mind that the longer the panini sits, the more moisture the bread will absorb from the ingredients, so it's best to eat it the day it's made for the optimal texture and flavor. Avoid storing the sandwiches at room temperature, as this can cause the bread to become stale, and don't freeze the sandwiches, as the freezing and thawing process can cause the bread to become soggy and change the texture of the other ingredients.

How should you serve pesto caprese panini?

The pesto Caprese panini is hearty enough to be a main dish for lunch or dinner, but it's a versatile sandwich that can be served in a variety of ways. However you choose to serve it, it's best served warm and fresh out of the panini press. Serve it with a side of soup, salad, or fries for a complete meal. If you're hosting a party or gathering, you could cut the panini into smaller pieces and serve it as an appetizer. It would be a tasty addition to a charcuterie board or appetizer spread.

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The panini is a great on-the-go meal. Pack it in a lunch box or picnic basket for a flavorful and satisfying lunch. The flavors of the pesto, mozzarella, and tomatoes in the panini pair nicely with a glass of wine, such as a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, to turn a sandwich into a simple and elegant meal. You can also add some grilled chicken for a protein boost or roasted vegetables for a more satisfying meal.

Pesto Caprese Panini Recipe

5 (16 ratings)

A Caprese salad is a perfect combination of fresh flavors: basil, mozzarella, and tomato. This summery trio translates perfectly into a hearty panini sandwich.

Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
5
minutes
servings
2
Sandwiches
Four half pesto caprese panini stacked on a plate
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 x 4 ½-inch) loaf ciabatta
  • 5 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tomato slices
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic

Directions

  1. Slice the ciabatta in half crosswise and then lengthwise, to make 4 equal pieces (2 tops and 2 bottoms).
  2. Spread pesto on all 4 slices.
  3. Place mozzarella slices on one side of each of the half-loaves.
  4. Sprinkle salt and black pepper on top.
  5. Place fresh basil leaves on the mozzarella.
  6. Place the tomato slices on top of the basil.
  7. Drizzle balsamic over the tomatoes.
  8. Close the sandwich with the top slices of bread.
  9. Place each sandwich in a hot panini press and cook for about 2 minutes until the cheese starts to melt slightly.
  10. Serve the panini hot.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 208
Total Fat 9.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 17.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.8 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 2.7 g
Sodium 458.2 mg
Protein 9.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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