I have a lot of feelings about this blog post today. One is hunger because this Panini is just really super delish.
Sorry, I never say delish but it’s really late and I still have to fold laundry.
I also feel feelings about the number of action shots you are about to see. I wanted to make this recipe easy so, there. Now you know every step, chipped mani and all.
Eggplant as bread is going to be a running theme now that I’ve realized I can use it in lieu of carbs. Have other people tried this? I couldn’t find it on Pinterest, which we all know is the food mecca, so now I feel it’s my duty to make seventeen varieties of Panini with eggplant “bread” and watch the internet detonate.
BOOM! Carbs, be gone.
Just make sure you don’t over cook the Panini or you run the risk of a limp eggplant. Undesirable, to say the least. Just get it hot enough to keep your eggplant firm so you can handle it without getting aioli all over your hands and you’re set. If it does get soft, use a fork and go to town. No sense in letting an eggplant go to waste!
Ok…I’m done now, promise.
This particular eggplant sammi is stuffed with fresh mozzarella, spinach, tomato and slathered with Lemon Basil Aioli. If you haven’t tried lemon basil, get it. My great friend Daih brought me some from her mom’s garden and it is lemony and basily and it’s packed with vitamins, just like traditional basil but superior in every way.
Caprese Eggplant Panini
with Lemon Basil Aioli
Here’s the lemon basil. I want a bouquet of this shit on my wedding day.
Not only will I look beautiful carrying the basil bouquet, I will smell amazing.
I know. It’s gonna be one lucky guy that finally snags me.
Quick tip: Don’t roast the garlic. Peel a clove or two and heat it in a skillet.
Once it’s soft and toasty, chop it up and mix it into this fake aioli!
Here are all of the action shots.
Sorry, I was wearing really short shorts yesterday.
OH, and that’s a baby eggplant. It works better because it’s teeny.
You can’t see it but there’s aioli under that spinach.
Toasted pine nuts are cool but I was being lazy so these are raw.
Thank God I never got rid of my small George Foreman Grill.
That guy really did create a badass product.
You do not want to wait to eat this, nor do you want to over cook it.
Overcooking the eggplant makes it soggy.
Still edible but with a fork and not fingers.
- 2 Small Eggplants, ends removed
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
- 8-10 Lemon Basil leaves, chopped
- ½ cup Mozzarella, shredded
- 2 small Tomatoes, campari or other petite variety
- 1 cup Spinach Leaves
- 2 tbsp Toasted Pine Nuts
- Heat a panini press (or countertop grill with closable lid) to medium.
- Remove ends of each small (baby) eggplant and slice in half, cutting end to end. Slice the remaining eggplant in ½ inch pieces and discard any pieces that are mostly skin.
- In a hot skillet, brown garlic cloves until fragrant and soft. Once cool, mince garlic and add to mayonnaise. Stir in chopped lemon basil to finish the aioli.
- Spread aioli onto an eggplant slice and top with spinach leaves, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and pine nuts. Spread more aioli on another eggplant slice and place ontop. Grill until cheese is melted. Serve hot!
What else can we shove into an eggplant Panini? So many ideas!!!
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