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Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini Recipe

This portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini recipe is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The vegetables are marinated and grilled, then layered with cheese and sandwiched in focaccia bread. The result is a hearty, wholesome, and utterly delicious panini that will impress both vegan and non-vegan diners alike. It's perfect for a gourmet lunch or a casual dinner.

Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini Recipe

Photos of Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini Recipe

The ingredients for this recipe are all easily available in a typical supermarket. However, you may want to pay special attention to the type of bread used. Focaccia is a type of Italian bread that is flat and somewhat similar to pizza dough. It has a distinct flavor and texture that contributes to the overall taste of this panini. If you can't find it, a good-quality ciabatta or baguette would be a suitable substitute.

Ingredients for Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini

Red bell peppers: These are the sweetest kind of bell peppers, providing a nice contrast to the savory elements of the panini.

Portobello mushroom caps: These large mushrooms have a meaty texture and a rich, earthy flavor that make them ideal for grilling.

Eggplant: When grilled, eggplant becomes tender and creamy, with a slight smoky flavor.

Balsamic vinaigrette: This marinade adds a tangy sweetness that enhances the flavors of the vegetables.

Focaccia bread: This thick, hearty bread holds up well to the robust fillings in the panini.

Swiss cheese: Mild and creamy, Swiss cheese melts well and adds a layer of richness.

Asiago cheese: With its nutty, slightly tangy flavor, Asiago complements the other ingredients beautifully.

One reader, Brucie Hoskins says:

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This portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini recipe is a game-changer! The combination of flavors is simply divine. The marinated portobello and roasted red pepper create a burst of savory goodness, and the grilled eggplant adds a delightful texture. It's a must-try for any panini lover!

Brucie Hoskins

Key Techniques for Making a Delicious Panini

How to marinate the portobello mushrooms: Place the portobello mushroom caps into a resealable plastic bag and pour in the balsamic vinaigrette. Squeeze out excess air, seal the bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight.

How to remove the skin from the roasted peppers: After blackening and blistering the peppers under the broiler, place them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam while cooling for 20 minutes. Once cool, remove and discard the skins, then refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight.

How To Make Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini

This hearty panini recipe will keep you full all afternoon! It’s loaded with flavorful cheeses, roasted red peppers, fresh veggies, and much more.

Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Marinate Time: 8 hours
Total: 9 hours



  • 2medium red bell peppers
  • 4medium Portobello mushroom caps
  • 1cupfat-free balsamic vinaigrette
  • 4sliceseggplant½ inch thick, peeled
  • 1tspgarlic powder
  • 1tsponion powder
  • 2tspParmesan cheesegrated
  • 8slicesfocaccia bread
  • ¼cupfat free ranch dressing
  • 4slicesSwiss cheesethin
  • 4slicesAsiago cheesethin


  1. Preheat the oven’s broiler, then set the oven rack at about 6-inches from the heat source.

  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  3. Cut the bell peppers in half from top to bottom, then remove the stem, seeds, and ribs.

  4. Place the peppers cut-sides down onto the prepared baking sheet.

  5. Cook the peppers under the preheated broiler for 5 minutes until the skin has blackened and blistered.

  6. Place the portobello mushroom caps into a resealable plastic bag.

  7. Pour in the balsamic vinaigrette, squeeze out excess air, and seal.

  8. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight.

  9. Remove the blackened peppers from the oven, transfer them to a bowl, then cover tightly with plastic wrap.

  10. Allow the peppers to steam while cooling for 20 minutes.

  11. Once cool, remove and discard skins, then refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight.

  12. Preheat an electric double-sided grill according to manufacturers’ directions.

  13. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with garlic powder and onion powder.

  14. Remove the Portobello mushrooms from the marinade, and discard the remaining marinade.

  15. Cook the Portobello mushrooms and eggplant slices on the preheated grill for 4 to 5 minutes until tender.

  16. Remove, set onto a plate, and sprinkle the eggplant with Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

  17. Spread all 8 slices of focaccia bread with a thin layer of ranch dressing.

  18. Layer ½ of the bread slices with a slice of Swiss cheese, an eggplant slice, a roasted pepper half, a portobello mushroom cap, and a slice of Asiago cheese.

  19. Top with the remaining bread.

  20. Spray the double-sided grill with cooking spray.

  21. Cook the sandwiches for 4 to 5 minutes until the cheese has melted, the sandwiches are hot in the center, and the bread is golden brown.

  22. Serve warm, and enjoy!


  • Calories: 772.69kcal
  • Fat: 35.11g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.49g
  • Trans Fat: 0.09g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.22g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 7.22g
  • Carbohydrates: 93.03g
  • Fiber: 20.23g
  • Sugar: 28.64g
  • Protein: 34.96g
  • Cholesterol: 49.75mg
  • Sodium: 1949.94mg
  • Calcium: 676.01mg
  • Potassium: 1636.26mg
  • Iron: 5.73mg
  • Vitamin A: 223.76µg
  • Vitamin C: 90.35mg

Mastering the Art of Grilling Vegetables for Panini

When marinating the portobello mushrooms in balsamic vinaigrette, ensure the mushrooms are fully submerged in the marinade for even flavor distribution. If necessary, shake the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade. This will help the mushrooms absorb the flavors more effectively, resulting in a more flavorful panini.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Panini Recipe

Prep ahead: Marinate the portobello mushrooms and roast the red peppers the night before to save time on the day of making the panini.

Multi-task: While the peppers are cooling, you can marinate the portobello mushrooms to maximize your time in the kitchen.

Use a grill pan: If you don't have an electric double-sided grill, you can use a grill pan on the stovetop to cook the sandwiches.

Substitute Ingredients For Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini Recipe

  • portobello mushroom caps - Substitute with cremini mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms have a similar earthy flavor and meaty texture, making them a great substitute for portobello mushrooms in this recipe.

  • eggplant - Substitute with zucchini: Zucchini has a mild flavor and a similar texture to eggplant, making it a suitable replacement in this panini recipe.

  • red bell peppers - Substitute with yellow bell peppers: Yellow bell peppers have a slightly sweeter flavor and a similar texture to red bell peppers, making them a good substitute in this recipe.

Plating Ideas for a Picture-Perfect Panini

  1. Elevate the sandwich with a decorative garnish: Add a touch of sophistication to the plate by garnishing with a sprig of fresh thyme or a delicate drizzle of aged balsamic glaze for an elegant finishing touch.

  2. Create a visually appealing plate: Arrange the panini on the plate with precision, ensuring that each component is showcased beautifully. Consider using a clean, white plate to allow the vibrant colors of the roasted peppers and portobello mushrooms to pop.

  3. Incorporate a side of gourmet chips or crisps: Complement the panini with a side of house-made truffle oil-infused potato chips or crispy kale chips for an upscale twist on a classic sandwich pairing.

  4. Present the panini on a wooden serving board: For a rustic yet refined presentation, serve the panini on a polished wooden board, adding a touch of warmth and charm to the overall dining experience.

  5. Pair with a sophisticated beverage: Accompany the panini with a carefully curated beverage selection, such as a refreshing elderflower spritzer or a hibiscus-infused iced tea, to elevate the dining experience.

Essential Tools for Crafting the Perfect Panini

  • Baking sheet: A flat, metal sheet used for baking and broiling foods in the oven.
  • Resealable plastic bag: A plastic bag with a sealable top, used for marinating and storing food.
  • Electric double-sided grill: A kitchen appliance with two heated plates that cooks food from both sides simultaneously, often used for making paninis and sandwiches.
  • Aluminum foil: A thin, pliable sheet of aluminum used for covering baking sheets and wrapping food for cooking or storage.
  • Plastic wrap: A thin, transparent plastic film used to cover and protect food items.
  • Cooking spray: A sprayable oil used to prevent food from sticking to cooking surfaces.
  • Food processor: A kitchen appliance used for chopping, blending, and pureeing ingredients.

Storing and Freezing Tips for Panini Ingredients

  • To store leftover portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini, wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the wrapped sandwiches in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

  • If you want to freeze the panini for later consumption, wrap each sandwich individually in plastic wrap, ensuring that it's tightly sealed. Then, place the wrapped sandwiches in a freezer-safe bag or container, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Label the container with the date and contents for easy reference.

  • Frozen panini can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When you're ready to enjoy a frozen sandwich, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

  • To reheat a refrigerated or thawed panini, unwrap the sandwich and place it on a preheated panini press or in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted. Alternatively, you can reheat the sandwich in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes, or until heated through.

  • If you have leftover grilled portobello mushrooms, eggplant slices, or roasted red peppers, store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. These components can be used in salads, pasta dishes, or other sandwiches throughout the week.

How To Reheat Leftover Panini

  • To reheat leftover portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Wrap the panini in aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet. Heat the panini in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until it's heated through and the cheese is melted. This method helps to retain the moisture and prevent the bread from becoming too crispy.

  • Another option is to use a panini press or a grill pan. Preheat the press or pan over medium heat. Place the leftover panini on the preheated surface and press down gently. Heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. This method will give you a freshly grilled taste and texture.

  • If you're short on time, you can also use a microwave to reheat your leftover panini. Place the panini on a microwave-safe plate and heat it on high power for 30-60 seconds, or until it's heated through. To prevent the bread from becoming soggy, you can place a paper towel underneath the panini to absorb any excess moisture. Keep in mind that microwaving may result in a softer texture compared to the oven or grill methods.

  • For a crispy exterior and a melty interior, try reheating your panini in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the leftover panini in the basket. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. This method is quick and provides a texture similar to freshly grilled panini.

  • If you have a toaster oven, you can use it to reheat your leftover panini. Preheat the toaster oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the panini directly on the wire rack. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. This method is similar to using a regular oven but may be more convenient for smaller portions.

The Fascinating History Behind the Panini Press

The portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini is a delicious vegetarian option for a hearty meal. It's a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making it a healthy choice. The combination of portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and red peppers provides a rich, savory flavor that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. This recipe is also versatile and can be customized with different types of cheese, dressings, or bread to suit your preferences. Enjoy this flavorful panini as a quick and easy lunch or dinner option!

Budget-Friendly: Making Gourmet Panini at Home

This portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and red bell peppers, are generally affordable and widely available. The use of simple seasonings and dressings keeps the overall cost low. Additionally, the recipe yields four servings, making it suitable for a family of four. The approximate cost for a household of four people is around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly meal option. Overall Verdict: 9/10.

Is This Panini Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini recipe is a relatively healthy choice, offering a variety of nutritious vegetables. The use of fat-free balsamic vinaigrette and ranch dressing helps to reduce the overall calorie and fat content. Additionally, the inclusion of portobello mushrooms provides a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Opt for whole-grain or sprouted grain focaccia bread to increase the fiber content and provide more complex carbohydrates
  • Consider using reduced-fat cheese or a smaller amount of regular cheese to decrease the saturated fat content
  • Grill the vegetables without added oil to minimize the total fat content
  • Include additional vegetable toppings, such as spinach or tomatoes, to boost the nutrient density of the sandwich

To further enhance the nutritional value of this recipe, you could:

  • Serve the panini with a side salad or a cup of vegetable soup to increase the overall vegetable intake
  • Use a spread made from mashed avocado or hummus instead of ranch dressing for a healthier fat source
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to add flavor without relying on excessive amounts of cheese or dressing
  • Choose organic vegetables whenever possible to minimize exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals

By making these minor adjustments, you can transform this already healthy panini recipe into an even more nutritious and wholesome meal that satisfies your taste buds while nourishing your body.

Editor's Take: A Flavorful and Satisfying Vegetarian Panini

The combination of marinated portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and seasoned eggplant in this panini recipe creates a delightful medley of flavors and textures. The use of balsamic vinaigrette and ranch dressing adds a tangy and creamy element, while the blend of Swiss and Asiago cheeses brings a rich and savory note. The grilling process enhances the overall taste and provides a satisfying crunch to the focaccia bread. This recipe is a wonderful option for a vegetarian-friendly meal, offering a satisfying and delicious dining experience.

Enhance Your Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for pairing with the savory portobello, eggplant, and red pepper panini.
Grilled Vegetable Salad: A colorful and refreshing salad featuring grilled vegetables, drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette, to complement the hearty flavors of the panini.
Fruit Kabobs: Fresh fruit skewers with a honey-lime glaze, offering a sweet and juicy contrast to the savory and cheesy panini.

Explore These Delightful Vegetarian Sandwich Recipes

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate your favorite vegetables and grill them on skewers for a healthy and delicious meal.
Eggplant Parmesan: Bread and bake slices of eggplant with marinara sauce and cheese for a classic Italian dish.
Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill bell peppers with a mixture of ground meat, rice, and seasonings, then bake until tender for a satisfying meal.
Portobello Mushroom Risotto: Cook creamy risotto with flavorful portobello mushrooms for a comforting and hearty dish.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup: Blend roasted red peppers with broth and seasonings to create a velvety and flavorful soup.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Your Panini

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and crispy on the outside, while remaining tender and juicy on the inside.
Bruschetta: Elevate your appetizer game with a classic bruschetta. Top crispy slices of toasted baguette with a fresh and vibrant mixture of diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic glaze for a burst of flavor in every bite.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Berry Parfait: Layer fresh berries with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola for a light and refreshing dessert. The combination of sweet, tart, and crunchy creates a delightful parfait that is perfect for any time of day.

Why trust this Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a delightful experience with portobello mushrooms, eggplant, and red bell peppers. The marination process infuses the ingredients with rich flavors, while the grilling technique ensures a perfect texture. The combination of Swiss and Asiago cheese adds a luxurious touch, complementing the robust flavors. The use of fat-free balsamic vinaigrette and fat-free ranch dressing ensures a healthier option without compromising taste. The careful instructions and attention to detail make this recipe a trustworthy choice for a delicious panini experience.

Want to share your experience making this delicious Portobello, Eggplant, and Red Pepper Panini? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out!
Can I use a different type of bread for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of bread for this recipe. Focaccia bread works great for paninis, but you can also use ciabatta, sourdough, or any other bread you prefer.
Can I skip the marinating step for the portobello mushrooms?
While marinating the portobello mushrooms adds flavor, you can skip this step if you're short on time. The mushrooms will still be delicious when grilled without marinating.
Can I use a different type of cheese in the panini?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese to suit your taste. Mozzarella, provolone, or cheddar can be great alternatives to Swiss and Asiago cheese.
Can I roast the bell peppers and eggplant ahead of time?
Yes, you can roast the bell peppers and eggplant ahead of time. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using them in the panini.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe vegan by using dairy-free cheese and ranch dressing. You can also substitute the balsamic vinaigrette with a vegan-friendly alternative.

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