A little too often I hear these words from my husband:
“Didn’t you just go grocery shopping? Why isn’t there any food in the house?” What he really means is, why isn’t there any food that is ready to eat right now?! What he doesn’t notice is the drawer in the fridge full of fresh produce and the staple ingredients that with a little time can create a fantastic meal. I’m working on being better able to see what I’ve got on hand and create something delicious. This sandwich was an attempt to do just that. I have always loved warm sandwiches with Italian flavors, and this panini did not disappoint. I’ll be making it again soon as most of these ingredients are usually on standby in my fridge and pantry.
for the spread
1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, oil drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cooked or canned white beans
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
for the filling
1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil, plus more for grilling panini
1 small to medium sized zucchini, cut in half and then sliced length wise
1 1/2 roasted red bell peppers (I used jarred, but fresh would be delicious, too)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (my awesome blend has oregano, garlic, basil, onion, pepper, marjoram, and rosemary)
6 slices multi-grain bread (or, if you feel like indulging, go ahead and get the white Italian bread, I’m sure if will taste delicious)
Place all ingredients for the spread in a food processor. Blend until smooth and set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the spices and allow them to heat for about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini pieces, firmly pat them down and turn over so they are coated with the spices. Cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes, turning over once.
When the zucchini is cooked, you are ready to assemble the sandwich. Spread each piece of bread with the sun dried tomato spread. Next, add a layer of zucchini pieces. Top the zucchini pieces with 1/2 of a roasted red pepper. Close the sandwich and coat the outside of the bread with a small amount of oil. If you have a panini press, place the sandwich in the pre-heated press and grill until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. If you don’t have a panini press, simply place the sandwich in the pan you used to grill the zucchini and top it will a heavy (preferably cast iron) pan. Grill until golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Makes 3 servings.