This panini is like a, “HOLD THE PHONE,” crazy good, crispy, melty, flavor explosion, “WHY HAVE I NEVER MADE THIS SANDWICH BEFORE?” My sentence can be as long as I want. DELICIOUS!
When you bite into this panini you get a big buttery crunch from the outside. Then on the inside, you have hot melted cheese, warm oven roasted turkey, bright herb flavor from the pesto, juicy plump cherry tomatoes and the fresh green bite of the spinach. Did you hear me say hot melted cheese? Just making sure.
I have to say this may be one of the best sandwiches I have ever made. The last time hubs and I were at Trader Joe’s (my current obsession) they were giving small samples of turkey paninis. Shamefully, I went to take two because someone acts all shy when it comes to sample tables, and I have to do the dirty work. So I grabbed my two samples and walked away as discreetly as I could, trying my best not to look like a greedy lady who wants all the paninis for herself.
Like a sucker, I bought almost everything they were selling so I could make them at home: their Tuscan bread, pesto, Havarti cheese and deli turkey. Hubs and I thought their panini was so good! They had a big panini press which I don’t have, and they used roasted red peppers in their panini which I didn’t want, but I knew I could make a good version at home anyway.
I slathered the basil pesto on one slice of bread only. On the other slice of bread I added 2 slices of Havarti cheese and 3 slices of thin deli turkey. I decided to add baby spinach and cherry tomatoes to my panini, because I wanted to give it more color and a fresh bite. Also, I hate wasting produce (but I am guilty of it sometimes) so I try to use as much as I can.
The store sample version only had a little pesto and no spinach or tomatoes. My version was definitely cheesier too.
Please note that the Tuscan Pane bread from Trader Joe’s is heavenly. It is artisan made, it is a vegan product and it has a hearty chewy texture. It is amazing for toasting. I highly recommend this bread!
I am so fancy! Look at my panini press!
This is how I turn my humble little sandwich into a crispy, melty panini. I butter the outside of the bread and put it down on the hot grill pan. Make sure you butter both sides. Then I take a piece of aluminum foil and place it on top of the sandwich. I top the foil with a big jar or can. I used a big jar of pasta sauce here and it worked amazingly. After the first side crisps up, flip it over and crisp the other side the same way.
I have to say, my panini was wayyyy more crispy than the Tader Joe’s sample. Look at those deep golden brown grill marks!
My brain is always thinking about what I can cook up, and I love that I am not afraid of getting creative. I find inspiration everywhere… even when I am sneaking samples in a grocery store.
Trader Joe's Inspired Panini
2 Slices Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane Bread (or another hearty white bread)
2 Slices Havarti Cheese
3 Slices Thin Deli Turkey
1 1/2 Tablespoons Jarred Pesto
3-4 Halved Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Baby Spinach
1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine
1. Heat grill pan on stove to medium high heat.
2. Add cheese and turkey to one slice of bread and top with spinach and tomatoes. Add pesto to the other slice of bread and close to make sandwich. Butter both outsides of bread.
3. Place sandwich on grill pan. Place a piece of foil on top of the sandwich and add a big jar or can on top to press down. Cook 1st side until golden brown, about 3-4 Minutes. Flip and repeat on other side.
4. Slice in half diagonally and Enjoy!