Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetable Panini

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Good sandwiches aren’t just for meat lovers. It’s time to think beyond hot pastrami and grilled chicken. When it comes to sandwich fixings, the sky’s the limit. To me, almost everything is better in sandwich form, including vegetables. Sure they’re great as they are, but they’re better between ciabatta.

Kelsey’s grilled vegetable panini is the perfect meal to make for tonight’s Meatless Monday dinner. Loaded with good for you ingredients, it’ll fill you up without inducing a food coma. The layers of grilled mushrooms, bell peppers and squashes gives each bite tons of texture and pair nicely with the crusty Italian bread. The best part is the herbed feta spread. It only takes minutes to make, and the bright and zesty flavors compliment the smokiness of the grilled veggies quite fabulously.

Sandwiches are meant to be casual and fun,  so don’t worry about sticking to the recipe exactly. Don’t like zucchini? Add more peppers. Eggplant caught your eye at the store? Go crazy. And don’t toss out that leftover spread. You’ll want to use it on everything.

Kelsey’s Grilled Vegetable Panini

1 Portobello mushroom, stem discarded and cap sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
4 slices ciabatta, each cut in half
4 pieces red leaf lettuce

Herbed Feta Spread
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Reduce the heat to medium. Spread one side of half the ciabatta pieces with Herbed Feta Spread and top each with one-fourth of the grilled vegetables and 1 lettuce leaf. Cover with the remaining pieces of ciabatta and brush the outsides of the sandwiches with oil. Place on the pan and grill, turning once, until the bread is browned and crisp and the cheese and vegetables are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes. If desired, place a cast-iron skillet on top of the sandwiches to press them while grilling. Serve warm.

Herbed Feta Spread: In a small bowl, combine the feta, cream cheese, sour cream, basil, chives and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and mix until blended. Cover and refrigerate until using.

More Meatless Sandwich Recipes:

Veggie Sandwiches with Ricotta, Arugula and Balsamic

Italian Egg Sandwich

Panini with Mozzarella and Olive Tapenade

Tallegio and Pear Panini

Grilled Banana and Nutella Panini