Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini

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I’m all about grilled cheese! There’s something so satisfying about the way that crispy bread combines with melted cheese. When I was a kid, there’s no way I would eat anything other than white bread and cheddar cheese. Today, I’m happy to report that my picky-eating tendencies didn’t extend into my adulthood! Tomato, mozzarella, and basil are mouthwatering members of classic Italian combinations, and you usually see them in caprese salads. You’ll be thrilled to learn that we’ve combined these ingredients with a classic grilled cheese to create a savory Tomato Mozzarella and Basil Panini.

This sandwich has so much going on! Whole wheat bread slices, juicy tomatoes, spicy red onions, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and heart-healthy olive oil; what more could you ask for? Using a panini press (or a regular old skillet), we cook the sandwich, flattening it out as much as possible, to create golden-brown, super crispy bread. Inside, you’ll find tomatoes bursting with sweet and savory flavor and creamy, melted cheese that pairs perfectly with the bold flavors of the basil. It’s kind of perfect!

A Low-Calorie, Vegetarian Sandwich that Satisfies

vegetarian sandwich

This lovely medley of flavors makes a perfect summer meal, especially when garden-fresh tomatoes are at their peak. You might be surprised to learn that, although this Tomato Mozzarella and Basil Panini is  vegetarian, it packs a satisfying amount of protein. Between the 10 grams of protein and the complex carbohydrates, this sandwich will give you a much-needed afternoon energy boost and keep you going for hours after lunch.

The best part? Even though it’s a sandwich (which many people think of as an unhealthy choice), this recipe is only 231 calories and only contains 15 grams of carbohydrates. How great is that? Even your most devout carnivore friends will go wild over this flavorful vegetarian-friendly sandwich.

We can’t wait to hear what you think of this crispy, crunchy, melty, savory sandwich. It has something for everyone! Let us know your thoughts in the comments, we always love hearing from you.

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini

tomato mozzarella and basil panini

Yields: 2 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 sandwich | Calories: 231 | Total Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 475mg | Carbohydrates: 15g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Protein: 10g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8

Ingredients

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 thin slice of red onion
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Spread olive oil with a pastry or basting brush over two slices of bread. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
  2. Place one of the bread slices, oil-side down and top basil leaves, tomato slices, onion, and mozzarella. Top with other piece of bread, olive oil side up.
  3. Place a heavy-bottomed skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat or use a Panini press.
  4. If using a skillet, press down with lid to flatten sandwich a bit. Cook for about 2 minutes, until golden on the bottom, and flip. Repeat on other side.
  5. Slice sandwich in half to make 2 servings.
  6. Enjoy!
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