Why hello friends! Looks like everyone is settling into MoFo I’m super excited about the meal I chose to recreate today. You guys may not know this but in my pre-vegan days I worked at Panera. I’m kind of obsessed with their soups (the black bean and garden veggie [minus the pesto] are vegan) and their bread is pretty amazing. After I stopped working there and became vegan, they added a tomato mozzarella panini to their menu. YUM! They describe it as “Fresh mozzarella, roasted & fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and all-natural sun-dried tomato pesto on Ciabatta.” It sounds delicious and totally veganizable!
So, for my dinner tonight I decided to make my version of the Tomato Mozzarella Panini. The recipe I’m giving you will be for a regular panini sandwich with ciabatta bread, but I will also give you the variation I used to make mine gluten free. As a bonus, I gave you a recipe for the side I chose to enjoy with it!
So here is my version of the delicious sounding sandwich! Except as you can see, mine is open faced. As all of my gluten free friends out there will tell you, gluten free bread isn’t known for being soft and tender. It is dense and toasts up pretty solid and is not ideal for a sandwich. So I made mine open faced!
Panera Inspired Tomato Mozzarella Panini (serves 1)
1 ciabatta roll* (see note for gluten free version)
5 Mediterranean seasoned oil packed sun dried tomatoes
2 large basil leaves, chiffonade or chopped
fresh tomato slices (2-4, enough to fit bread)
1/8 – 1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Cheese
1. Cut ciabatta roll in half and preheat panini press.
2. Make sun dried tomato pesto by simply blending the sun dried tomatoes into a paste. It is important not to drain the excess oil from the tomatoes since it will be your oil that will bind your pesto into a paste. Stir in basil by hand.
3. Spread pesto onto the bread (both sides if you have enough). Top one half with fresh tomato slices and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Close the sandwich.
4. Spray your panini press with cooking spray so the sandwich won’t stick. Press your panini until the bread is crisp and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!
If you do not have a panini press you can cook on the stove top like a grilled cheese sandwich. Cook until bread is golden brown and crispy and the cheese is melted.
*Gluten Free version (open faced) – Toast one slice of your favorite gluten free bread (I used brown rice bread) until slightly toasted. Spread pesto and top with fresh tomato and Daiya mozzarella. Broil on high heat until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Enjoy!
For a GF version you can probably also use a gluten free tortilla and make it like a quesadilla! Yum!
Check out those layers!
Pretty easy huh? Now the only thing left to complete this meal is your side. Panera offers a side of bread (not really appropriate to eat with a sandwich), potato chips or an apple. Now, I don’t have potato chips and I didn’t feel like chomping into an apple, so I decided to combine the two sides into one amazing choice.
Thats right! I made myself some raw apple chips to eat as my side for my open faced tomato mozzarella sandwich!
These were SO GOOD! They take a long time but are so worth it! And they are so simple to make.
Raw Cinnamon Apple Chips
2 large apples (I used organic gala apples)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
cinnamon to taste
1. Slice the apples as thin as possible. I used a mandolin but you can slice by hand. It may take longer to dehydrate depending on the thickness if you slice by hand.
2. Toss sliced apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
3. Place apple slices on your dehydrator trays and sprinkle with cinnamon.*
4. Dehydrate at 104 degrees for 12-16 hours until completely dry. Enjoy!
*The lemon can leave a bit of a tart taste so if you are inclined to you can sprinkle some raw sugar on top as well to bump up the sweetness. I didn’t use sugar and I thought they were fine but it all depends on your taste!
So there you have it! Another menu inspired meal coming out of my kitchen I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that my recipes are for simple meals. To be honest I’m not trying to recreate big, fancy restaurant dishes at home. I think that those are the dishes you SHOULD be getting at a restaurant. My goal is to show how easy it is to recreate simple meals at home, saving those special meals for when you do go to restaurants
I hope you all had a great week so far! Two more days until my weekend Have a great night!