Wednesday, June 16, 2010

EASY DELICIOUS VEGAN | Tomato, “Mozzarella” and Broccoli Rabe Pesto Panini

Nothing beats a quick and tasty homemade lunch. I picked up some gorgeous broccoli rabe at the farmers market this past weekend, so this panini is made with homemade broccoli rabe pesto but you can substitute traditional basil pesto or play around with various other pesto bases, like arugula. While most recipes call for pine nuts, I like to use pecans in my pesto to give it a special taste. Switch it up and play around! You’d be surprised at how many wonderful variations are possible. And when you’re finished making your panini, you can save the leftover pesto to use for another quick and tasty recipe later in the week: Pesto Pizza.



For the Pesto
Kosher salt
½ lb broccoli rabe, stems trimmed
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast

To Assemble the Panini
2 ciabatta squares
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
Daiya mozzarella style shreds
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Prepare to pesto: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When the broccoli rabe is cool, drain well.

With the motor running, drop the garlic into a food processor to finely chop it. Add the broccoli rabe and pecans and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mustard and blend well. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the nutritional yeast.

Assemble the paninis: Cut the ciabatta squares in half on the diagonal and then split each piece in half horizontally. Spread one of the halves of each split piece with pesto. Divide the tomato among the sandwiches and sprinkle Daiya mozzarella shreds on top. Drizzle each with about a teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil and close the paninis.

Cook the paninis one at a time in a panini press set on medium-high until the cheese is meted and the bread is golden, about 3 minutes. If you don’t have a panini press, a George Foreman grill will work perfectly. Alternatively, preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Put a sandwich in the hot skillet and carefully set a second skillet or a brick wrapped in foil one on top to press the sandwich. Flip the panini halfway through. Serve immediately.

*Pesto adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali; panini adapted from a recipe by Tal Ronnen.

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