Friday, April 9, 2010

Grilled Mediterranean Panini on Whole Grain Sourdough

This sandwich will change your life!

About a year ago, a very pregnant me attended a cooking demo from the Chef/owner/founder of Native Foods Cafe here in Southern California, Tanya Petrovna. I was with one of my best friends who went with me, and I can still remember the moment we sunk our teeth into this. We both downed the sandwich, and still to this day, we talk about how good it is, and it has become my very favorite sandwich! It is full of everything that I love...grilled zucchini, portabellos, marinated tofu ,roasted peppers, and a lemony basil mayo!

Could it get any more delicious? The rest of my pregnancy, I made this every single week, just to control the craving I had for it. I really could eat this every day of my life!

It's that good.

By the way, I am taking another cooking demo tomorrow from Chef Tanya, so I will have some new goods to share! Stayed tuned...

Grilled Mediterranean Panini on whole grain sourdough bread

makes 4 sandwiches

What You Need:

2 red bell peppers

2 large portabello mushrooms

2 medium zucchini

1 box extra firm tofu

olive oil (for brushing lightly on veggies)

sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 clove minced garlic

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup vegan mayo (vegannaise)

very large handful basil leaves

2 tsp lemon zest

Whole grain bread of choice (look for good quality artisan style bread)

To Make:

On a grill or under a broiler, place red bell peppers, and roast until the skin gets a little black and blistered. Turn the pepper and continue roasting until blistered all over. Immediately place the peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the peppers hang out and cool there for about 15 minutes. Then you should be able to easily remove the skins off the peppers. Open the peppers and remove seeds from inside. Place peppers in a container in the fridge until ready to use.

Open Tofu and drain water. Place tofu on a dry clean towel, with a second towel on top. Then place a weighted object on top of tofu to help drain any excess water. (For instance, place a pot with a can in it on top of tofu). let sit for about 20 minutes. While the tofu is sitting, prepare the marinade. In a large rectangular baking dish, mix 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, garlic, and 2 tsp sea salt. Once tofu is done sitting, slice into 1/4 inch thick slices, and place the tofu strips in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.

While the tofu is marinating, prepare the basil and lemon mayo. I a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of vegan mayo (such as vegannaise, or Wild Foods), lemon zest, and chopped basil and mix well. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use. (this lemon and basil mayo is sooooo good! It totally adds to the deliciousness of the sandwich, don't skip it!)

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil. Lightly oil the pan, and place the tofu strips evenly on pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and bake until the tofu is lightly golden.

While the tofu is baking, heat up an outdoor grill (or a grill pan). Slice your portabellos and zucchini into 1/4 inch thick slices. Brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the veggies on the grill and grill a few minutes on each side.

To Assemble the Sandwich:

Slightly toast 2 slices of whole grain bread. Spread the lemon and basil mayo on both slices. Then layer the tofu, bell peppers, zucchini, and portabellos. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, slice, and dig in!


Serve it up right with some crispy oven baked fries dipped in some of Annies organic ketchup!

Oven Baked Fries
Preheat oven to 425. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil. To make"fries" cut the very ends off of the potatoes . then cut 1/2 inch thick strips lengthwise. Stack the strips and cut into skinny fries. Soak fries in a cold water bath for 10 minutes or so. Then pat dry. Place in a large bowl and toss with a little Extra virgin olive oil. Lay in an even layer on baking sheet, and bake until fries are lightly golden and crisp. remove from oven, place on a serving platter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Dip in ketchup!


  1. {Drooling} Sandwiches like these, remind me of my pregnancy too. I bet you feel so great and healthy after eating it. Thanks for the recipe!

    Oven baked fries remind me of our childhood! I need to get some organic ketchup.

  2. WOW! This looks amazing. I am going to make it this weekend!

  3. Okay-this is some yummy HEALTHY comfort food!! I can't wait to make it and eat it. I use to make baked fries a lot when you guys were growing up. It is so fun to see you making them too. They taste so much better than the fried ones. Love it! Did you make the bread?

  4. I can not even stress how excited I am to make this sandwich! looks amazing! :)

  5. I believe you just by looking at this beautiful creation. And my favourite sandwiches are always grilled too. I CANNOT WAIT to try this!

  6. Loved this sandwich, just made it for lunch. I especially liked the marinated tofu, I used lime (ran out of lemons) and I did not have mushrooms so I roasted some onions instead. Really good!!

  7. Looks delicious....can't wait to try it....just wondering...what does the cold water bath do for the potatoes? Thanks!

  8. Karen-
    Soaking the potatoes in water before baking them helps remove some of the starches fom it, so you will get a crispier fry.

  9. Made this for lunch today- so delicious! Didn't use the zucchini but I'm sure it would have been delicious in this. Thanks Morgan, another awesome recipe.

    1. So glad you liked it Alex! I LOVE this sandwich, its one of my very favorites!