Category Archives: Lunch

Summer Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup


A couple months ago I went to Napa River Grill with a friend for lunch and had the most delicious tomato soup and tomato/mozzarella panini. So, I was excited to try out this recipe when I saw it in the August issue of Cooking Light.  Not only did this panini taste great but it was so filling.  The flavors in this dish work together perfectly!

Summer Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup, from Cooking Light – August 2011

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (8-ounce) piece Cuban bread, cut in half horizontally  4 portions ciabatta bread
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 large basil leaves
5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray


In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil.  Cook until reduced to about 3 tablespoons (about 8 minutes).

While vinegar reduces, brush top half of sandwich bread (cut side) with olive oil.  Top evenly with tomatoes, basil and cheese.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.  Once vinegar is reduced, brush bottom half of bread (cut side) with vinegar.  Place on top of sandwich and invert.

Spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwich, and gently press to flatten. Leave skillet on; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Cut sandwich into 4 equal pieces.

Yields 4 servings

Nutrition per serving:  325 calories, 13.4g fat, 5.5g saturated fat, 28mg cholesterol, 726mg sodium, 13.6g carbohydrates, 2.5g fiber, 13.6g protein