Jul 18
2012

Grilled Italian Panini Recipe with Zucchini, Summer Squash & Basil {Vegetarian}

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Grilled Italian Panini Recipe with Zucchini, Summer Squash & Basil {Vegetarian}

I have this little problem that crops up whenever I cook for other people. I am perpetually trying to convince them how easy it is to make a certain dish. Part of it is an “Aww gee, shucks” kind of reaction when they compliment my cooking. But mostly it’s because I want my friends to understand how is easy it can be to put healthy, tasty meals on the table. That’s how everything went down when I made these grilled vegetarian panini at my friends’ Fourth of July party.

As I churned out the sandwiches, the compliments kept floating into the kitchen and I responded to each with, “Seriously, they’re so easy. Let me show you how to make them.” I then broke into an impromptu cooking lesson, receiving the “deer in headlight” looks from several people who just wanted to get back to their sandwiches, pasta salads and ice cream pies. What do you mean not everyone likes to cook as much as I do?

Are these really as I easy as I claim? Well, let me ask you this: Can you toss some sliced veggies in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and grill them for just a few minutes? (Check out How to: Grill Like a Girl for some tips.) How about layering those veggies on some ciabatta bread with a dollop of tomato sauce, slices of mozzarella cheese and some basil leaves? Besides throwing them in a panini press (or on the grill), that’s all there is to it.

If you make these for your family, I promise I’ll spare you the cooking lesson if we’re ever at the same party. Honest engine.

The recipe:
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat.

Cut the zucchini and yellow squash in half crosswise, then cut each into 1/4-inch lengthwise slices.

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

Grilled Italian Panini Recipe with Zucchini, Summer Squash & Basil {Vegetarian}

Place the vegetables on the grill and cook until tender, about 2 minutes for side for the zucchini and squash, and 3 minutes per side for the red bell pepper.

Preheat a panini press.

Spread 1 tablespoon of the tomato sauce on each cut side of the ciabatta rolls.

Divide the zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper pieces evenly between the 4 rolls. Top with fresh mozzarella and basil, and close the sandwiches.

Grilled Italian Panini Recipe with Zucchini, Summer Squash & Basil {Vegetarian}

Place the sandwiches on the panini press (this may need to be done in two batches). Alternatively, you can lay a heavy pan or foil-covered brick on the sandwiches, on the grill.

Grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Other summertime grilled panini recipes:

Panini with Grilled Chicken, Summer Squash & Red Pepper-Cilantro Pesto Recipe
Cookin’ Canuck’s Panini with Grilled Chicken, Summer Squash & Red Pepper-Cilantro Pesto

Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Chicken & Spinach-Chive Pesto Panini
Mountain Mama Cooks’ Grilled Cheese with Spicy Havarti, Cilantro Pesto & Roast Tomatoes
Panini Happy’s Heirloom Tomato Panini
The Perfect Pantry’s Kale Pesto, Tomato & Fontina Sandwich

Grilled Italian Panini with Zucchini, Summer Squash & Basil Recipe

Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches

From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 2 red bell peppers, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 whole wheat ciabatta rolls, cut in half crosswise
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (your favorite kind)
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
  2. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash in half crosswise, then cut each into 1/4-inch lengthwise slices.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  4. Place the vegetables on the grill and cook until tender, about 2 minutes for side for the zucchini and squash, and 3 minutes per side for the red bell pepper.
  5. Preheat a panini press.
  6. Spread 1 tablespoon of the tomoato sauce on each cut side of the ciabatta rolls.
  7. Divide the zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper pieces evenly between the 4 rolls. Top with fresh mozzarella and basil, and close the sandwiches.
  8. Place the sandwiches on the panini press (this may need to be done in two batches). Alternatively, you can lay a heavy pan or foil-covered brick on the sandwiches, on the grill.
  9. Grill until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie July 18, 2012 at 7:16 am

Yum! Love these kinds of sandwiches, and you are right, so easy to put together. But two years ago I wouldn’t have even attempted it. So happy that I discovered a love of cooking!

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2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

Stephanie, that’s great! Feeling confident in the kitchen really is a fantastic feeling.

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3 kelley July 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

These look delicious , Dara! I know how you feel. I’m constantly trying to tell people that what I do isn’t that big of a deal. But I suppose it’s because we like to cook and it comes fairly naturally to us. Some people just don’t like to cook :)

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

I think you’re right, Kelley. Cooking just isn’t for everyone. Hopefully, though, those people can collect a few quick and easy recipes for their arsenal so they can pull off easy last-minute meals.

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5 Bev @ Bev Cooks July 18, 2012 at 7:44 am

Oh heeeeeeeck yeah!

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6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

Thanks, Bev.

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7 claire @ the realistic nutritionist July 18, 2012 at 7:48 am

This looks absolutely mouth-watering, Dara!

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

Thanks you, Claire! It’s definitely a favorite in our house.

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9 Denise @ Creative Kitchen July 18, 2012 at 7:59 am

These look really good! I’ve not done a lot of veggie grilling yet, but I’m excited to try these with my new grill!! :)

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10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

Denise, you’ll love it! Grilling is one of the easiest ways to impart flavor to veggies in a very short period of time.

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11 Kara July 18, 2012 at 8:01 am

I would totally take you up on a cooking lesson at a BBQ! These look amazing!

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12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

LOL. Thanks, Kara!

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13 Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 18, 2012 at 9:18 am

This is my dream panini, love all those grilled summer veggies!

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14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

Thank you, Laura. We simply can’t get enough of grilled veggies at this time of the year.

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15 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl July 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

Wow – this looks incredible!!! I’m going to need to have this soon!

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16 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

Thank you, Liz. It’s a great easy meal to have in your back pocket for last-minute meals.

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17 Cassie July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

I adore this Dara! I love fresh veggies on sandwiches, especially grilled!

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18 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

I agree, Cassie. There’s something about grilled veggies that makes a sandwich extra special.

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19 Minnie(@thelady8home) July 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

Anything grilled and its my fav. :-D And this one looks to be really fabulous. I am trying this for sure.

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20 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:40 am

Thanks, Minnie. I’m addicted to my grill at this time of year.

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21 Maria July 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

I could eat this panini for lunch every day! Love it Dara!

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22 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:40 am

Thanks, Maria. Me, too!

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23 Kimby July 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

I don’t have a panini press, Dara, but I have a grill — and a brick. Great idea! (And these sandwiches look soooo good.) Speaking of grilling… may I link to your favorite grilling tips article in one of my upcoming posts? Thanks in advance.

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24 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

Kimby, I used a brick for the longest time before we got a George Forman, which I now use for panini. And yes, you may absolutely link to my post. Thank you!

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25 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction July 18, 2012 at 11:37 am

Yum! I so wish I was eating this for lunch!

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26 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Thanks, Jessica. I wish I had some leftovers right now!

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27 Jacki July 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Step 6. says, “Spread 1 tablespoon on each cut side of the ciabatta rolls”, assuming this is the marinade?? What did I miss?

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28 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Jacki, I’m sorry about that! It should read “1 tablespoon of tomato sauce”. I made the adjustment in the recipe.

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29 Kim K July 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm

What are we spreading 1 Tbsp of on each side of the roll?

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30 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) July 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Kim, I’m sorry about that! It should read “1 tablespoon of tomato sauce”. I made the adjustment in the recipe.

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31 Kim K July 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Thanks!!

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32 Jeanette July 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Dara, I have lots of summer squash this week, so I know I’ll be making with some of it now!

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33 Jessica July 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

This is breathtaking! YUM!

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34 Ana y Blanca July 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm
35 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. July 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I am dying to try this!

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36 Wenderly July 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

These are beautiful! I LOVE panini.

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37 patsy July 18, 2012 at 7:57 pm

panini sandwiches are some of my favorite… and I am so happy I read this because I needed to be reminded to get some grilled veggies made so that I can make them more often!

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38 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar July 19, 2012 at 4:49 am

This looks so yummy! I love a good panini!

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39 shelly (cookies and cups) July 19, 2012 at 6:16 am

That’s a seriously delicious looking sandwich. I NEED a panini press. I have been on the fence about it forever, but you might have just convinced me!

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40 Nutmeg Nanny July 19, 2012 at 8:11 am

Such a delicious use for zucchini! During the summer I try to eat as much as I can…I need to give this a try!

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41 Lisa@One Cook Two Kitchens July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Dara, I LOVE how you can make healthy stuff look so decadent! And what a great way to use the available and abundant produce right now! LOVE it!

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42 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious July 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm

It’s so funny how we always end up in the kitchen and we LIKE it :) Loved the deer in the headlights comment, I can totally relate..
Cheers,

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43 Velva July 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I smiled reading this post…I can relate to convincing my friends that putting together a nice meal can be easy and healthy. I always remind them to keep it simple-simple is best.

Love these grilled panini sandwiches. Awesome.

Velva

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44 Kim Bee July 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

This is such a great panini recipe Dara. I would gladly gobble this healthy meal up any day of the week. I think so many people think cooking is complicated but personally I think the simplest recipes are usually the best ones.

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