A perfect summer lunch panini made with eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella and skinny pesto on crispy French bread. Make this for one or for the whole family.
Eggplant Panini with Pesto
My friend gave me eggplants from her garden, and I used it to make this delicious hot pressed eggplant sandwich. If you can find a whole wheat baguette, even better! Some of my other favorite eggplant recipes for lunch are Grilled Eggplant and Veggies with Yogurt Mint Dip and Baked Eggplant Sticks.
I love, love, LOVE Panini night in my house because everyone is happy and they are so easy to make. If you’re capable of making a grilled cheese, then you can make a panini, that’s how simple and you don’t need a fancy panini press to make it. Prior to owning my panini press, I used my George Forman grill or made them on the stove in a grill pan with an iron skillet on top to press it down.
I grilled the eggplant right on the panini press, so there’s no dirtying extra pans. A perfect Meatless Monday dish, and even the meat-lovers in your house will enjoy this sandwich.
If you’re a newbie to Skinnytaste, check out my tip on how to make a larger sandwich for less calories. If you are making this for one, simply divide the ingredients by four.
More Eggplant Recipes:
Eggplant Panini with Pesto
- 1 large eggplant, about 12-14 oz
- kosher salt to taste
- olive oil spray, I used my misto
- 12 oz french bread, or baguette, cut into 4 pieces
- 4 slices 3 oz total part skim mozzarella cheese (Sargento )
- 2 tbsp skinny pesto
- 8 thin sliced tomato
- Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Place the eggplant slices on a paper towel and season with salt; set aside about 30 minutes. This will help draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant.
- Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.
- Preheat panini grill.
- Lightly spritz eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- When the grill is hot, grill eggplant about 7-8 minutes, turning once half way through.
- Set aside.
- Slice the bread open and place 3 slices of grilled eggplant, 1 slice of mozzarella, 1/2 tablespoon of pesto, and 2 slices of tomatoes on each sandwich.
- Close and lightly spray the top of the bread with oil.
- Place on a panini press and close until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted.
- Cut in half diagonally and eat immediately.
94 comments on “Eggplant Panini with Pesto”
I have made this many times and loved it. Today, I changed it up and had eggplant, basil pesto, roasted red peppers and for cheese, I used feta. Wow, so good!
Delicious little sandwich! We love to have one or two meatless meals a week and this fit the bill for a quick weeknight meal. We used a Breville Panini Press and it came out perfect.
Just finished this sandwich. It was ABSOLUTELY delicious!! I grilled the eggplant and made the sandwich all on my cast iron griddle. No fuss, no muss, and an absolutely delicious meal that makes me look forward to tomorrow’s lunch when I can have it again!
So good. I added sliced baby bella's to mine.
After washing the eggplant, cut lines in the eggplant (like fancy carrots or radishes). Then cut the eggplant. This makes the eggplant skin easier to chew. You will get lots of the nutrition from the skin. We have made this twice, and love it for a quick Sunday afternoon football meal. Also, a nice way to use up the late summer tomatoes. I used fresh basil from my deck. Delicious!
I made this last night and my whole family loved it! My husband is a new vegetarian and he took the left-overs for lunch today! I can't wait to make this again… probably next week! : ) Thank you!
Could I freeze these sandwiches? Could I reheat in a toaster oven after defrosting?
I have never thot of using eggplant in panini! Brilliant!
Having an all Skinny Taste dinner week. Made this one last night. I have a basil garden so made fresh pesto. The family LOVED them. My son, who moves out for the first time tomorrow, made the comment "NOW you find this recipe!" LOL I told him he's going to have to learn to cook!
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I feel obsessed with eggplant lately! what a great way to use it!
The bread in the original picture does not look like the same bread in the picture farther down. Is that first picture really a 9-point sandwich? Or is it two 9-point sandwiches? The one further down (it's pictured open) looks like a much smaller serving.
Same exact bread, those photos were taken step by step, it looks different after it's toasted and pressed. One sandwich, 9 points as pictured. Cut it on the diagonal, looks bigger after.
I have been making Panini's for years,,,I used to make three different kinds for my Mom ( RIP ) she loved the eggplant one that I made as well as the meatball ones.
Love your sandwich too Gina!!
Aww, thanks Dee Dee!!
I have used all of the methods listed above instead of a panini press and I have to say, nothing compares to the crispiness that the panini press creates! This looks incredible. What an amazing summer sandwich.
YUMMMM…I made this Monday night for meatless Monday, and had enough to make for lunch again today. SO GOOD!! I would recommend peeling the eggplant, at least stripe peeled, since the skin seems to stay a little tough…very very good.
How much is 12 oz of french bread please?
You really need to weight it.
I received Eggplant, Basil, French Baguette & Tomatoes in my co-op basket this week. I had the rest of the ingredients for this & the pesto at home.
THIS IS SERIOUSLY GOOD! I can't believe I waited so long to try it!
Hubby just got a panini press for Christmas and I have been really trying to make use of it. This recipe is amazing!!! I just had a leftover for lunch and even cold it was fantastic! The pesto is delicious and I used a little extra garlic just because I love garlic. I never had grilled eggplant and I had a hard time not eating it all before it ended up on the sandwich. Any idea how to make the eggplant without the salt? I am trying to lower my sodium intake thanks!
This was yummy but I used Parmesan , Romano, asiago shredded cheese that I had on hand from making stuffed mushrooms the other day and it came out great. Super easy to make.
My husband said this was the best thing I've ever made. 🙂
I subbed red pepper hummus for the pesto as I'm not a huge fan of basil, and it was SOOOO good. I have to agree with my husband. Tastes like it's very bad for you, lol.