Eggplant Parmesan Panini

A great source of recipe inspiration is restaurant menus.  The better I get at cooking, the less we eat out when we could make the same thing for less money at home.  Last fall I went to a local restaurant for several work-related lunches, and after trying their eggplant parmesan panini, I could never bring myself to order anything else.  I am always a sucker for grilled sandwiches, and in fact this is the sandwich that is responsible for me liking eggplant in the first place.

To make these at home, I made my regular eggplant parmesan recipe one evening and prepared extra slices of the breaded and baked eggplant to use for the sandwiches a couple nights later.  At least for me, breading and baking the eggplant and then making it into a sandwich just seemed like too much work for one weeknight dinner but the leftover method worked just fine.  Of course you can make these in a regular skillet, but I just love the great flavor and pretty grill marks that come from my cast iron grill pan and panini press.  These were definitely a hit with our family, and Andrew ate so much that I ended up having to make extra sandwiches just so I could have dinner myself!

Eggplant Parmesan Paninis
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Yield: 2 sandwiches

4 slices artisan bread, such as sourdough or Italian
Olive oil
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Breaded and baked eggplant slices
Prepared marinara sauce
Fresh basil, roughly chopped

Heat a well-oiled grill pan/panini press over medium-high heat.  Lay out bread slices on a work surface.  Brush one side of each piece of bread lightly with olive oil.  Flip over so non-0iled side is facing up.  On two of the bread slices, layer mozzarella cheese and baked eggplant slices.  Spoon a thin layer of marinara sauce over the eggplant slices and sprinkle generously with chopped basil.  Top with the remaining bread slices, so that the oiled side is facing outward.

Cook the sandwiches on the preheated grill pan until warmed through, so that the bread is nicely browned and cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

Source: Annie’s Eats, inspired by R Bistro

19 Responses

  1. these look gorgeous!

  2. I am obsessed with eggplant at the moment and these arent helping!! yummm

  3. YUM. As soon as eggplants are in season, I’m going to make a big batch of eggplant parm so I can have leftovers to make these panini. Great recipe!

  4. They look delicious!! I too love to find inspiration in a restaurant menu, its so much fun to take an already delicious dish and cook it at home and make it better 🙂

  5. Mmm, I’ve been experimenting with sandwiches lately too, Annie. 🙂 This is really fabulous and may even convert me to eggplant!

  6. mmm I’ve been waiting for these ever since you mentioned them in the eggplant parm post – they look fantastic! I totally agree that making the eggplant and sandwich in one night is a lot – love that you can get (at least) two dinners from the same method. Gorgeous photo too 🙂

  7. Oh yum! I don’t like eggplant EXCEPT in eggplant Parmesan! And making a panini with it sounds even better!

  8. I spotted breaded eggplant cutlets at trader joe’s and bought a box. I’m going to try this with them as a shortcut. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. I love eggplant. In the summer we grill it up and make sandwiches out of it with a garlic mayo. Yummy!

  10. Yum! I haven’t made this one yet, but I love eggplant parm so I know it had to have been great.

  11. YUMMY!!!

  12. This sandwich looks amazing, and I don’t even like eggplant. 🙂

  13. I love eggplant, and this panini looks SOOOO good!

  14. Excellent idea. I LOVE, love eggplant. And panini.

  15. I made a hack version because I was too lazy to make the eggplant home made. Trader Joes has eggplant parm in the freezer section. They are perfect for these panini’s and it was delish!

  16. You had me at panini!

  17. “The better I get at cooking, the less we eat out when we could make the same thing for less money at home.” One more bonus: it TASTES better when we cook at home, too! 🙂 If only we could find little elves to do the dishes…

  18. This looks so good! There’s a tomato and mozzarella panini at this cafe I go to often and I’ve been wanting to recreate it…I think I will try adding eggplant as well to make it “meatier”. Thanks for the idea!

  19. What a nice looking panini!

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