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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Grilled Vegetable Pesto Panini

This hearty and healthy sandwich is one delicious vegetarian option at a cookout! A sweet medley of grilled vegetables paired with pesto, fresh mozzarella and a baguette is perfection in summertime.

For a tip, you can grill the veggies well in advance and refrigerate them until needed to assemble for a cold spin on the sandwich!

grilled vegetable pesto panini

Grilled Vegetable Pesto Panini


Main Course

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

10 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Grilled Vegetable Pesto Panini


    For The Sandwiches:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 small Japanese eggplants or 1 medium to large regular eggplant, (cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices)
  • 2 zucchini, (cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices)
  • 1 small red onion, (cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 baguettes, (each about 2 feet long)
  • 1/2 cup Basil Pesto, (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, (drained, sliced)
  • 2 tomatoes, (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 8 large basil leaves, (optional)
  • For The Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, (peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil over the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the eggplant, zucchini, and onions until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Cool completely.
  2. Cut each baguette into 6 pieces. Working with one baguette piece at a time, slice in half and spread both sides with the pesto. Working with the bottom slice of the baguette, stack 2 slices of eggplant, 2 slices zucchini, 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, and 1 slice of roasted pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top half of baguette on top and continue with remaining baguette. (The sandwiches can be made 4 hours ahead. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
  3. For the pesto, In a blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until finely chopped. With the blender still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)



per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
29 grams
11 grams
19 grams
Saturated Fat
5 grams
19 milligrams
632 milligrams
4 grams
7 grams
Unsaturated Fat
13 grams


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