I just showed you all a post on how to roast red peppers, so I thought I would show a great way to make use of them, since you probably have a few extra ones lying around. This is seriously one of my favorite vegeterian paninis, and now that red peppers are in season I find myself making this sandwich up all the time, yes all the time, because I’m addicted! This panini is overloaded with flavor from the roasted red pepper, smashed avocado, juicy heirloom tomato and the cilantro-lime mayonnaise. It’s truly as satisfying as any panini made with meat, (ask my meat loving hubby) and it’s a great meatless Monday sandwich to pair with your favorite soup or salad. Who knew that a veggie panini could be so satisfying and taste so good
Life is busy and I’ve been trying to come up with some simple, tasty and satisfying weeknight dinners, and this panini falls into that category. I know some of you think that sandwiches are not a complete dinner, but in my house they are, especially on those crazy nights where everyone is running around or we have to eat dinner on the earlier side because of an activity or event. You can pair a grilled cheese, quesadilla or panini with your favorite soup or salad and have a complete meal. If you don’t have time for a salad, then you can slice up some veggies and serve those alongside. Hey, there are plenty of veggies in this sandwich, so don’t feel bad if this panini is all you serve up!
This panini comes together fast if you make up the cilantro-lime mayonnaise and roast the red peppers ahead of time, making it a great weeknight dinner or even lunch. All you have to do come dinner or lunch time is heat up the panini press, slice up a tomato and avocado and then assemble your sandwiches.
- ciabatta bread or your favorite sturdy bread to use for paninis
- extra-virgin olive oil for brushing on the top and bottom of the bread
- cilantro-lime mayonnaise
- roasted red peppers – here’s my recipe for how to roast red peppers – about 2-3 whole red peppers will give you enough roasted peppers for 4 sandwiches.
- sliced provolone or Monterey jack cheese
- 1-2 ripe avocados
- 1 ripe tomato
Below are all the fixings you will need for the panini.
I would highly recommend roasting your own peppers as it’s super easy and definitely cheaper than buying them in a jar, plus they’re fresher. To make 4 sandwiches you will only need to roast about 2-3 peppers, depending on how many peppers you want to put on your sandwich. We typically like to place 2 roasted peppers per sandwich.
Let’s make up the cilantro-lime mayonnaise. If you want a detailed recipe for the cilantro-lime mayonnaise then you can click over to my post, otherwise here it is. In a small bowl or ramekin, whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, (regular mayo, not Miracle Whip) 1/4 cup minced cilantro, 2 teaspoons lime juice and 2 minced garlic cloves until well combined. You can quickly make up this mayo in 5 minutes or feel free to make it up ahead of time, but make sure that it’s stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. The mayonnaise is best day 1 or 2, I wouldn’t recommend using it past day 2.
Fast forward to dinner! Get our all of your ingredients as well as your panini maker. If you don’t have a panini maker, no worries, you can heat up this sandwich in a cast iron skillet using a pan lid to press down on the sandwich. Heat up a panini maker or a skillet.
Slice up the tomato, scoop out your avocado halves, slice up your ciabatta bread and get our your cheese. Now you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches.
I like to brush a bit of olive oil on the top and bottom of my bread to help brown it up a bit.
You can really assemble these anyway you want, but this is how I assemble mine. Spread a nice layer of the cilantro-lime mayonnaise on the bottom half of the ciabatta bread.
Top it off with some arugula. I like to smash my avocado using a fork into the top half of the bread. Smashing the avocado into the bread helps to flatten the bread. Using sliced avocado just adds another slippery layer to the sandwich, so it’s just easier to smash it into the bread. That’s just a little helpful tip for you all! Feel free to add a bit more of the cilantro-lime mayo to the top of the bread as well, if you’re into that sort of thing!
Now it’s time to put the sandwich together and get it on the panini press or skillet. Take your sandwich and gently press it together so that it doesn’t fall apart when you place it in the panini press. I just press it down and then tuck in the sides as I’m pressing down.
Gently place the sandwich into the panini press (or on a skillet) until the cheese melts and the top and bottom of the bread are browned.
That’s all there is to it. This is a messy but delicious sandwich, so make sure you have a napkin handy.