Let’s state something that we can all pretty much agree on: paninis are delicious. Paninis are a grilled sandwich of Italian origin and they’re an incredibly popular menu item in the USA. We can find them on the menu of practically any restaurant that offers sandwiches and wraps and through the grace of technology, we’ve been given the means to make our very own paninis at home: a panini press. A panini press can be a life-saver if you’re trying to eat more plant-based foods. Instead of staring wistfully at a menu, you can make a warm, crispy, melty delicious grilled sandwich with vegan pesto, smashed avocado, melty vegan cheese… Well, pretty much anything, since you can make it yourself.
But, did you know that panini presses are good for more than just making amazing sandwiches? Oh, yeah. Aside from making this Avocado Pumpkin Panini With Caramelized Onions, this Beet Hummus Panini With Smashed Avocado and Greens, and this Grilled Rajma Masala Panini, you can also make tofu, tempeh, vegetables, fruits… There’s an entire world of culinary possibility between you and your panini maker. We’re about to change your life with these 15 recipes you can make using your panini press.
1. Tangy Mushroom Skewers
You don’t need a barbecue to make these Tangy Mushroom Skewers! All you need is a panini press. The marinade on these tangy mushrooms skewers makes them big on flavor as well as texture!
2. Kimchi Quesadillas
These Kimchi Quesadillas are a real game-changer. Don’t even bother fussing around with your stovetop. They’re made with a thick, umami-rich black bean spread, crunchy fresh greens, spicy and tangy kimchi, and a perfectly crispy tortilla. Get your taste buds ready ’cause these are packed with flavor!
3. Peppers and Peaches Pizza
Got some leftover pizza lying around? We all know microwave pizza is an abomination of texture, so a lot of us love to eat our leftover pizza cold. But hold on one moment: you can use a panini press. Just imagine how great the peaches on this Peppers and Peaches Pizza taste when heated up the right way?
4. Low-Fat Silken Tofu Omelet
Oh yeah. Breakfast is served via panini and it’s not a sandwich. This Low-Fat Silken Tofu Omelet is great for breakfast and brunch and there’s no agonizing over it sticking to the skillet. Like, at all.
5. Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Brownies in a panini? WHAT. Yes, it’s true. All you need are ramekins or a cake pan that’ll fit on your panini press. These Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Brownies are for all the chocolate lovers out there. They’re warm and gooey brownies and are speckled with coconut flakes with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate throughout. Enjoy them right out of the oven with a cold glass of almond milk.
6. Hot n’ Spicy Mexican Street Corn
It’s easy to make this Hot n’ Spicy Mexican Street Corn in your panini press! Grilled sweet corn sprinkled with cayenne pepper, drizzled with chipotle-spiked sauce and topped with fresh cilantro … it’s one spicy bite! Traditional street corn is served with cotija cheese, a seasonal cheese named after a town in Mexico. Beware, this sauce is hot, hot, hot … so go lightly if you’re not ready for the heat!
7. Curried Hash Browns
These Curried Hash Browns are great for breakfast, but we’d eat them as a snack, for dinner, lunch… They taste like a cross between pakoras and hash browns (drooling yet) and they’re just one more awesome thing you can make in your panini press.
8. Grilled Sweet Potato Wraps
These Grilled Sweet Potato Wraps are packed with tender sweet potatoes, meaty mushrooms, crunchy red cabbage, red onions, and a dressing. The dressing is herby, with a sweet and salty taste that complements the sweet potatoes and enhances the entire flavor of the wrap. Get these ready for an indoor barbecue — despite their name, you don’t need a grill to make them.
9. Tofu Satay
This grilled Tofu Satay is a fresh and creative dish to include in your spring and summer cookouts…or, if you prefer staying inside, make it on your panini press. Sliced tofu is marinated in a spicy curry sauce and then grilled until it’s a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve with fresh or pickled veggies and Thai curry on the side, or skewer additional vegetables and grill them, to keep things simple.
10. Afghan Naan
You can make all kinds of flatbreads in your panini press, so start with this Afghan Naan. The most distinct element of this bread is the addition of nigella seeds, that add a unique fragrance and flavor. The other defining factor of Afghan naan is the patterns. You can also play around with the thickness, leaving it thicker and fluffy like a pillow, or stretch it further and have more crispy bits, it’s up to you.
11. Cilantro-Lime Jicama Fries
Craving those leftover fries, but dreading their inevitable inferiority to when they were fresh out of the oven? That’s a problem we can fix by reheating them in a panini press. These crispy Cilantro-Lime Jicama Fries are sure to satisfy! Tossed in cilantro, lime, and chipotle pepper, and then baked to perfection, these are a healthy and tasty alternative. Serve with zesty chipotle mayonnaise to really complete this snack!
12. Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers
Meaty Portobello mushroom caps are seasoned with just salt and pepper and then grilled (or panini pressed) until tender and juicy. They’re served on a bun with sautéed vegetables crisp baby bok coy, broccolini, and red bell peppers, and then served with a creamy, garlicky avocado mayonnaise. These monster Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers will be the star of your summer cookout, or anytime.
13. Simple Mashed Potato Waffles
These Simple Mashed Potato Waffles are moist and crispy on the outside, warm and deliciously creamy on the inside. They go great with salsa, vegan cream cheese, and caramelized onions (gotta love ‘em onions!). Even if you don’t have a waffle maker, as long as you’ve got a panini press, you’re golden.
14. Tempeh Bacon
Absolutely delicious, smoky, and crisp, this Tempeh Bacon is a cinch to prepare. Once it’s ready, simply stack it in sandwiches along with your favorite fillings. If you have tempeh bacon left over, use it atop a fresh garden salad or even in soup!
15. Sriracha Black Bean Burgers
Crispy and slightly golden on the outside, chewy on the inside with the perfect blend of spiciness, smokiness, and sweetness, these Sriracha Black Bean Burgers are love at first bite. While some healthy dishes may not be considered filling enough, this burger provides long-lasting, delicious energy! Top them with a generous splash of chili sauce for an extra spicy kick or a dollop of vegan sour cream if you’d like to tune the heat down a bit instead.
Consider your life changed.
Lead image source: Sriracha Black Bean Burgers