Herbed Goat Cheese Panini with Grilled Veggies

This is a delicious, hearty sandwich that's great any time of year. Serve it warm as a tasty winter snack, or at room temp or even chilled as a great addition to any summer afternoon spread. 

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large red pepper, cored and quartered
  • 2 small zucchini, halved widthwise, cut into 8 long slices
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 8 ¼” thick slices
  • Cooking Spray
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TB chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 8 slices light white sandwich bread

      Herbed Goat Cheese

  • ¾ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Instructions 

Spray both sides of eggplant, pepper and zucchini slices lightly with cooking spray and season with salt. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and grill veggies until tender and grill marks are evident (~4 minutes for eggplant and 5-6 for peppers and zucchini).  Toss with thyme and garlic and store chilled, up to 3 days, before assembling panini.
Combine all ingredients to make herbed goat cheese and store, chilled, up to 1 day before assembling sandwiches. 

When ready to cook, bring herbed goat cheese to room temperature. Spread 1 ½ TB on each slice of bread. Top 4 slices of bread with 2 grilled eggplant slices, 1 slice grilled red pepper, and 2 grilled zucchini slices. Top with 2nd slice of bread, goat cheese down. Coat a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Grill panini pressing down lightly, for 2-3 minutes per side or until the bread is toasted and goat cheese melts.  Cut in half diagonally and serve warm, room temperature or chilled.

Notes

To serve these panini as chilled sandwiches, simply spread herbed goat cheese on a small baguette, layer with veggie, and possibly a layer of baby spinach or lettuce/tomato, and wrap tightly before serving.