This grilled zucchini goat cheese pesto panini is drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It’s got all the flavors of Italy in a quick lunch.
…with a balsamic reduction. Sorry, couldn’t leave that part out but the title was getting a bit ridic. I hate when recipe (granted this is a panini and it feels weird to call it a “recipe”) titles pretty much list out every ingredient in them but if I called this a “grilled zucchini panini” would you want to read on? Eh, probably not. Throw the words goat cheese, pesto and balsamic reduction in there though and I go all Pavlov and start salivating upon just reading so I’m hoping you do too and the long title is worth it.
I want to talk about how insanely delicious this combination of tart goat cheese and sun dried tomato basil pesto is with perfect summer squash and tomatoes but really, I just booked flights and hotels to Italy for September and I can’t focus. Can we please just fast forward 9 weeks instead to when my schedule for the next 13 days will look like wine, gelato, pasta, gelato, Italian men, gelato, seeing family who I can’t communicate with and oh, gelato?
I guess this post is kind of appropriate considering it’s pretty “Italian” flavored (and colored!) but as delicious as this sandwich was the other day, I guarantee the basil, tomatoes and zucchini are going to taste 10 thousand times better in Italy. Cannot.wait.
Have you ever reduced balsamic vinegar? If not, you are seriously missing out. I have a love affair with the stuff that dates back to childhood dinners and me drinking the salad bowl to finish all of the vinegar at the bottom. I don’t know how it’s possible for vinegar to be sweet and yet so tart at the same time but somehow balsamic accomplishes that.
Reduce it to a thick, syrupy glaze and it just gets better.
Combine it with creamy goat cheese, roasted vegetables and a fresh made pesto, omg I’ve died and gone to Italy this is my idea of heaven.
As long as there’s gelato there too for dessert.
Grilled Zucchini & Goat Cheese Panini with Pesto
This grilled zucchini goat cheese pesto panini is drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It's got all the flavors of Italy in a quick lunch.
- 3 sun dried tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 small zucchini, sliced diagonally
- 4 slices wheat bread
- 4 tablespoons goat cheese
- 4 slices tomato
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
For the pesto
- Combine sun dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, avocado, olive oil and salt & pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined.
For the panini
- Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high.
- Spray with cooking spray and layer zucchini slices on.
- Grill for 3-4 minutes per side depending how thick the slices. You want them cooked through with grill marks but still retaining a slight bite to them.
- Remove zucchini and set aside.
- Spread goat cheese on one piece of bread for each sandwich.
- Spread pesto on the other piece of bread for each sandwich.
- Layer zucchini and tomatoes on top of one slice of bread and cover with the remaining slice.
- Place sandwiches on a heated panini press and cook/press for about 5 minutes until goat cheese starts to melt.
- While panini cooks, heat a small sauce pan with balsamic vinegar to medium. Simmer and cook until reduced and vinegar becomes thick and syrup-like. It should just start sticking to a spoon when ready.
- Remove panini from press and drizzle balsamic reduction on top or use as a dip in a small side bowl.