Flavor packed and texture rich, enjoy this veggie panini recipe toasty warm or chilled. This mushroom sandwich recipe is easy to make and fabulous for sharing! This recipe is vegetarian.
Easy Peasy Vegetarian Panini Recipe
Vegetarian sandwiches have my heart. What’s more perfect than hearty crusty bread, with a creamy and flavorful spread and veggies? Vegetarian panini are simple to make and are a favorite, especially during summer when the oven is on a bit of a hiatus, and meals need to be simple.
Here’s why I love this recipe!
- Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside
- Packs out for picnics, lunch, dinner…
- No panini press needed
What is a Panini?
A panini is an Italian sandwich typically made on Italian bread that’s cut horizontally, filled with ingredients, then pressed and toasted on a grill pan, or panini press. Panini is shared warm, or at room temperature. Enjoying veggie paninis right from the refrigerator works too!
Thing is, you don’t need a panini press or grill pan to make this toasty and flavorful mushroom sandwich recipe. I use a grill pan and my cast iron skillet as a press, but have also made panini as if I were grilling cheese. To press the panini, use a lid, another pan or cast iron skillet. Wallah! There’s your homemade panini press!
What’s the Best Bread for Panini?
My favorite bread for vegetarian panini is sourdough focaccia because it stands up to the pressing and absorbs juicy flavors included in this veggie panini recipe. But any rustic, thick cut sourdough will do. Ciabatta is another fabulous choice and one that’s traditionally used to make panini.
Sandwich bread is best left for grilled cheese sandwiches or non panini sandwiches because it’s unable to stand up to pressing.
Ingredients for this Veggie Sandwich
Simple ingredients make a fabulous veggie panini. Fresh bread is a must! Here’s what you’ll need (see recipe card for details):
- Small loaf of focaccia, ciabatta or sourdough
- Red onion
- Baby bella or crimini mushrooms
- Goat cheese
- Roasted red bell pepper or sun dried tomatoes
- Spinach or arugula
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
How to Make this Veggie Panini
To make this panini sandwich, get out your panini press, grill pan, skillet or cast iron skillet. You’ll also need something heavy to press the panini with if not using a panini press. This can be a cast iron skillet, lid or a plate with something heavy on top like a filled tea kettle. In summary, here’s how to make the recipe (see recipe card for details):
- First, saute the onions, cooking them down, for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Second, sear the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, until golden. About 10 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, then transfer to the bowl with the onions.
- Third, to the mushroom mixture, crumble in the goat cheese. Stir. Season with salt and balsamic vinegar.
- Fourth, slice the roasted red bell peppers and chop the spinach.
- Fifth, slice the bread horizontally. Brush each side with olive oil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Layer on the mushroom mixture, bell peppers and spinach.
- Last, grill and press the paninis on medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and the goat cheese melts.
Share vegetarian panini sandwiches warm, or at room temperature. Veggie paninis can also be enjoyed right from the fridge!
A Few Recipe Notes
- This veggie panini recipe calls for roasted red bell pepper. You can DIY roasted red bell peppers (see notes) or purchase already roasted bells from a jar. For either method, be sure to pat the peppers dry. If subbing sun dried tomatoes, drain, rinse and pat dry.
- My favorite bread to use for this sandwich is sourdough focaccia, but ciabatta or a thick cut sourdough works beautifully as well.
- Enjoy this vegetarian panini right on the stove, at room temperature or chilled. If desired, rewarm the panini at 350F for about 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.
More Vegetarian Sandwich Recipes to Love
- Vegetarian Rueben Sandwich
- Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich
- Almond-Sage Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Gruyere
- Italian Pressed Sandwich
- Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Veggie Panini
- 1 Loaf of Focaccia, Sourdough or Ciabatta Enough for 4 Sandwiches (about 4" ea)
- 4 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 Red Onion sliced thin into 1/2 moons
- 1 lb (453g) Crimini Mushrooms or baby bella, diced small, stems removed and discarded
- 2 tsp Minced Garlic about 2 large cloves
- 1 Tbs Fresh Thyme finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar plus more for drizzling
- 4 oz (115g) Goat Cheese crumbled
- 2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers patted dry, cut to fit the sandwich / sub with sun dried tomatoes if desired
- 1 Small Bunch of Spinach or Arugula leave whole or chop
- In a saute' pan add 2 tsp olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions, stir to coat and turn heat down to medium low. Cook the onions stirring occassionally until softened and slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In the same pan, add the remaining 2 tsp olive oil and heat until shimmering. Keep heat on medium high and add the mushrooms spreading them out into an even layer. Stir only occassionally so that they sear, for about 10 minutes or until dark golden. During the last minute of cooking stir in the garlic. Transfer to the mixing bowl with onions and add the thyme, salt, vinegar and crumbled goat cheese. Stir throughly to incorporate the ingredients. Taste for salt adjustment.
To Assemble the Panini:
- Cut the bread horizontally. Brush the insides lightly with olive oil, and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Spoon about 4 Tbs of mushroom mixture on bread, pressing it together so that the mushrooms stick together. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Top with roasted red bell pepper and spinach. Place the top piece of bread on the panini. Repeat until all the sandwiches are assembled.
Press the Panini:
- *If using a pan rather than a grill pan or panini press, you'll need to brush the outside of the bread with a bit of fat (olive oil or butter will do). Place the panini on a hot grill pan or panini press and place something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet or lid. If using a cast iron skillet, check to see if the bottom has rust on it. If so, place a piece of parchment paper between the sandwich(s) and the skillet. A cast iron skillet is heavy enough on it's own to press the panini, but if using a lid, you'll have to put some weight on it. Cook/toast for about 4-5 minutes until toasty (a few dark spots are okay) and the cheese begins to melt. Flip the panini and press again for about 3-4 minutes or until heated through.
- Veggie panini can be shared right away, at room temperature or chilled straight from the refrigerator. If refrigerating, store in a covered container until ready to enjoy. To reheat, place in a 350f oven for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.