Our Favorite Healthy Panini Sandwich Recipes
During our search for the best panini sandwich maker to review, we decided to focus on healthy panini sandwich recipes while putting the three top panini makers we could find through their paces.
I did some research and found six healthy panini recipes for us to test the three panini makers.
We can’t take credit for these recipes and give credit to the original authors with a link to the website where we found the recipe.
After a Google search, we formulated a list then started making healthy panini sandwiches while adding our own twists here and there.
After a lot of panini sandwich making and eating (over time) we found the following healthy panini sandwich recipes to be the most delicious.
Six tasty, healthy panini sandwich recipes that are a cinch to make:
Turkey Panini Recipes
- Avocado Turkey Panini
4 slices country-style or other hearty bread (ciabatta rolls work well; see notes)
1/4 pound leftover shredded turkey or chipped deli turkey
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon mayonnaise *Note: We used chipotle mayo instead just to add a little heat)
1/8 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil *Note: We used garlic-infused EVOO
4-6 slices Sargento Ultra-Thin or regular Provolone cheese (may substitute variety of choice)
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips (may use freshly roasted or marinated from jar)
Preheat a panini press. (You may use a skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a panini press.)
In a small bowl, mash the avocado, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper together until thoroughly mixed.
Brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil, and place with the olive oil side down.
Top two of the bread slices with three pieces of the thinly sliced cheese or two pieces of the regular, breaking as needed to evenly cover the bread.
Place half of the sliced turkey, half of the spinach leaves, and half of the sliced pepper on top of each piece of cheese-covered bread.
Spread half of the avocado mixture on the two remaining slices of bread (on the side without the olive oil), and place on top of the turkey covered pieces.
Carefully place the sandwiches on the panini press, and cook until the bread is golden brown and crisp and the cheese has melted about 3 to 5 minutes.
Cut in half and enjoy warm.
Credit: This recipe is courtesy of Ann that we found on her blog Fountain Avenue Kitchen
- Mediterranean Turkey Panini
Crusty bread (e.g., Ciabatta)
Fresh tomato slices
A handful of fresh spinach leaves
Sliced deli turkey
Dash of salt and pepper
Garlic Aioli Ingredients
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mayo
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 tablespoon lemon juice
Create the garlic aioli by mincing the garlic. When the garlic is finely minced, sprinkle salt over it. Use the flat part of a large knife to smash the garlic around and form it into a paste. Stir garlic paste into mayo, then stir in lemon juice. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to use.
Heat a grill pan to medium heat.
Assemble the sandwiches by layering turkey, spinach leaves, fresh slices of tomato that have been lightly salt and peppered, and feta on the bread.
Grill the sandwich on a grill pan or in a panini press until the outside is crisp, and the sandwich is heated through.
Spread the homemade garlic aioli (about 1/2 tablespoon) that you made in step 1 on the top slice of bread.
Cut in half on a diagonal and serve immediately.
*Note: We added a few basil leaves to each sandwich. Another thing we wanted to try but never did, was to remove the basil and replace the turkey with sardines.
Credit: This recipe is from of Ashley Wagner that you can find on her recipe website Center Cut Cook
Chicken Panini Recipes
- Chicken Panini with Tomato, Basil, and Avocado
Bread (the original author recommends “Food for Life” sprouted grain and seed bread)
1 chicken breast (the original author recommends buying organic, free-range, antibiotic-free chicken breasts whenever possible)
1 slice beefsteak tomato
¼ avocado, in 4 thin slices
4 fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus ½ tbsp. for cooking the chicken
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. reduced-fat butter, optional
*Note: Willi and I added turkey bacon
Rinse, dry and butterfly the chicken breast. Season each side with a ½ tsp. of sea salt, ½ tsp. pepper and ½ tsp. garlic powder.
On a cast iron skillet or non-stick sauté pan, add ½ tbsp. of olive oil. Cook the chicken on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat when it’s cooked through. Slice the chicken at an angle to make slices better fit for a sandwich.
While the chicken is cooking, add the Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and ½ tsp. of olive oil. Mix it all up.
Assemble the sandwich. On one side of each slice of bread, spread the butter. On the non-butter side, spread the mustard mixture. Layer the avocado slices, then the tomato, then the chicken slices and finally, the basil leaves. Top with the other slice of bread.
Place the sandwich on a grill pan*, and firmly press to get those lovely grill marks. An informal technique is to place a heavy plate or another pan on top. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.
Recipe Credit: This recipe is from Olivia Langdon here on the Born Fitness website
- Chicken Panini with Butternut Squash
For the Butternut Squash Spread
One medium butternut squash (about 30oz/850g)
2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp curry
1/4 tsp cumin
For the Chicken Panini
1 panini roll (or any type of bread), sliced in half
3 TBS butternut squash spread
1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked shredded chicken (enough to cover one side of the sandwich)
1/4 cup baby spinach (about a pinch)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (enough for a thin layer of cheese)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take the butternut squash, and chop off the stem. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin of the squash. You’ll see the green veins of the squash, but that’s okay. Chop the squash into 2 large pieces by making a horizontal cut where the neck starts to meet the bottom bulb. Split the bulb in half, remove the seeds, and chop into 1-inch pieces. Chop the neck into 1-inch pieces also.
Toss the cubed squash with the olive oil and a pinch of salt, and spread it onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
Once the squash is cooked, let it cool for about 10 minutes, then blend it with the rest of the butternut squash spread ingredients in a food processor.
To make the panini on the griddle, set it to 400 degrees F for the lower plate, and 425 degrees F on the upper plate. Once plates have been heated (and the green light is on), spray both grill plates with cooking spray. Spread some of the butternut squash dip on each side of the panini roll. Place one half of the roll on the grill, then layer on the chicken, spinach, and cheese, and top with the other half of the roll. Press the top grill plate down, and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is adequately melted.
To make the panini on a regular grill pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray, and assemble the sandwich on top. Press the sandwich down with a heavy pot, and let it cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the sandwich over, press the pot down, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
We did not add or delete from this recipe and found it to be fantastic!
Recipe Credit: This recipe is by Lisa, the owner of Healthy Nibbles
Veggie Panini Recipes
- Avocado Veggie Panini
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1 minced shallot (onion or garlic works too)
8 ounces sliced baby portobello mushrooms
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
salt to taste
8 pieces thick, sturdy wheat bread
Melty white cheese like Provolone or Mozzarella, if you want
*Note: We added a few bottled yellow chili peppers to spice it up a bit.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, sautéing until translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté’ until browned lightly on the outside. Add the tomatoes and kale; sauté until wilted and warmed through. Remove from heat and season with salt.
Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork. Spread some avocado on the surface of each piece of bread. Assemble the sandwiches by carefully arranging the vegetables on the bread. Get as many veggies on as you can because the sandwiches sink down when you use the panini press.
Add the cheese on top of the veggies if you want, cover with another slice of bread, and place on a preheated panini press. When the bread is browned on the outside, remove from heat. If you did not cut the tomatoes, be careful as they might burst when you bite into them and they will be hot!
Recipe Credit: This recipe comes courtesy of Lindsay here on her lovely website Pinch of Yum.
- Veggie Stuffed Grilled Panini
4 slices (1-inch thick slices) sourdough bread
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. stone ground mustard
2 slices Sargento® Sliced Cheddar-Mozzarella Cheese
4 thin slices tomato *Note: We used sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
2 slices Sargento® Sliced Baby Swiss Cheese
Preheat panini grill to high.
Brush one side of each bread slice with oil. Place on a work surface oiled side down and spread with mustard. On bottom halves, layer with Cheddar-Mozzarella, tomato, spinach, salt, pepper, bell peppers and Swiss. Cover with bread and press gently.
Place sandwiches in grill; close the top plate, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe Credit: We discovered this recipe on the Sargento Cheese Website
Well, there you have it, our choices for the six most healthy panini sandwich recipes.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these recipes and when coupled with a nice hot cup of soup or a refreshing salad you have the ideal healthy meal.
Most of these healthy panini recipes, in addition to the others we found, can be mixed and matched so do not be afraid to experiment like we did.
Furthermore, by adding healthy foods your children like, the more willing they will be to trying new healthy foods.
And who knows, you might just find them requesting you cook them healthy things as opposed to the alternatives.
Enjoy your paninis!
Resources and Credits
We gave credits to the recipe authors and links back to the resources within the body of this post.