Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepper Panini

Different styles of sandwiches are popular in many countries, especially on the Mediterranean coast, as a quick, casual food. Pairing bread with a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables makes using foods you have on hand (and cleaning up those leftovers) easy.

If you have a panini press or a tabletop grill, simply cook each sandwich in the press with the top closed for about 5 minutes. To save time, you can cook your chicken on the same press or grill as well.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/PrototypeSphere, 2007]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/PrototypeSphere, 2007

Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepper Panini

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time

Cook time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound chicken breast

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon rosemary, minced

1 clove plus 1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Eight 1/2-inch slices French or sourdough bread

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Eight 1/2-ounce slices fresh mozzarella or fontina cheese

1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, jarred or fresh

8 leaves basil

  1. In a bowl, top the chicken with the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, half of the garlic, the sugar, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

    Toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Bake the chicken for 20 minutes or until no longer pink on the inside.

  3. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes and then slice into 1/2-inch slices.

    Combine the mayonnaise and remaining garlic in a bowl and spread 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture on the unoiled side of 4 slices of bread.

  4. On top of the mayonnaise, layer 1 slice of the cheese, 2 tablespoons of the roasted peppers, 2 basil leaves, a quarter of the chicken breast slices, and another slice of cheese.

    Top each sandwich with another piece of bread (oiled side showing).

  5. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

    Place one or two sandwiches in the pan and top with something heavy (such as a tea kettle filled with water) for 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches and serve.

Per serving: Calories 438 (From Fat 122); Fat 14g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 67mg; Sodium 970mg; Carbohydrate 45g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 32g.

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