6 ripe and plump tomatoes were sitting in a row on the kitchen counter when I remembered that we still had pesto leftover from zucchini pasta a few days ago. I also remembered that we had a loaf of Ezekiel sprouted bread – aka the best bread ever for grilled sandwiches – as well as a fresh hunk of chèvre in the refrigerator. Time to knock up one of my favourite dishes, heirloom tomato pesto panini!
Pesto and goat cheese rank near the top on my list of favorite foods because of their intense flavors, as do straight-from-the-garden-tomatoes. So I thought to myself, "Why not combine all of that and sandwich it between two crispy slices of whole grain bread?"
Remember when I mentioned that this summer has been super confusing for my poor tomato plants? Here's proof. Although I think they're all quite beautiful in their own funky ways, they are definitely not the tomatoes I expected to be harvesting right now. They're on the small side and it's a meager crop, but luckily their flavor did not suffer one bit.
I happen to be pretty proud of these little troopers. They survived the weather, an aphid infestation, and my novice mistakes of overplanting AND overwatering. Yet somehow, they toughed it out.
I appreciate them all the more for it. This sandwich wouldn't be so spectacular without the flavor of these tenacious tomatoes. Also – you have to use this pesto. Trust me.
Never, in a million years, would I have pegged myself for a gardner. And trust me, I'm still far from being a very good one. But all of a sudden, I'm the kind of person who wonders how her sprouts are doing while she's at work. I certainly didn't think I would be strategically drawing out fall plant arrangements for her pallet garden. Helping build a rain barrel to collect water? So. Not. Me.
Yet here I am, bragging to you about my tomatoes and clicking back and forth between browser tabs about saving seeds and uses for neem oil in the garden.
I don't know how long this phase will last, but I kind of hope it sticks around for a little while at least. It feels pretty cool to pluck something that you planted off of the vine that you helped to grow. And it feels even cooler to eat it straight out of the garden… or in sandwich form.
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Heirloom Tomato Pesto Panini
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
Tangy goat cheese and fresh pesto are a match made in heaven – especially when you add summer heirlooms and sandwich it all between crispy, whole grain bread!
- 4 slices of bread
- 4 tablespoons pesto
- 2 medium heirloom tomatoes
- ½ cup spinach
- 2 tablespoons chèvre
- olive oil spray
- Heat your panini press to medium-high.
- You'll use 2 tablespoons of pesto per sandwich, so spread that amount on 2 slices of bread and set aside.
- Cut tomatoes into ¼" thick slices and layer them on top of the pesto-covered slices of bread.
- Crumble and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese over the tomato'd, pesto'd slices.
- Layer spinach over the goat cheese and top with another slice of bread.
- Spray your panini press with olive oil and gently place sandwiches into the panini press.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the bread is crispy and browned. Every sandwich press will vary!
- Slice diagonally, or in half, or into quarters and enjoy!
- Don't have a panini press? A waffle maker will get the job done! Just spray with olive oil and cook until crisp and golden-brown. No waffle maker? Use a skillet! Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium and toast both sides of the sandwich.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Mains
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