Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pesto Panini Pizza

This is so tasty! The idea came to me one day when I was craving pesto, veggies and feta cheese.  I have included a cheat version in case you are super pressed for time.  Either way, this is a quick, delicious and healthy meal that you can enjoy for lunch or dinner!  The recipe below is for two pizza panini (I didn't realize panini in plural form is panini until this entry).

2 pieces panini bread
Pesto (see below)
1/2 tomato thinly sliced
1 roasted red or yellow pepper
4 jarred artichokes (with or without stems)
1/4 cup reduced fat or fat-free crumbled feta cheese
Fresh chopped basil to taste (I use about 2 tablespoons)


For the pesto, you can find simple recipes anywhere online and tweak them to your taste.  Many recipes call for basil leaves and pine nuts.  I like to use spinach as well simply because of it's high nutritional value and a mix of walnuts and pine nuts.  Here is what I do: in a blender combine 1 cup spinach, 1 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup walnuts, 3 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh ground black pepper and sea salt to taste.  Mmmmmm :-)

Alternatively, you can cheat and use a ready made pesto...I have tried Trader Joe's and it's pretty yummy as well:

As for the roasted pepper, all you need to do is brush it with olive oil and some salt, place in the oven set to "broil" on the highest rack.  Keep checking on it and when you start to see black spots appear on the skin, turn the pepper over.  When you begin seeing the dark spots again, remove from the oven and wait for the pepper to cool.  Now you can gently remove the seeds, pulp and skin from the pepper and cut into desired size pieces.

Or, you can cheat again...and this is a great way to do it:

Now pre-heat the oven to 350...spread a nice thin layer of pesto on the panini bread:

Add the thinly sliced tomatoes, roasted red pepper pieces and sliced artichokes:

PS- I use these artichokes (nope I don't work for TJ's :-) ):

Add the crumbled feta and fresh basil and pop into the oven for ~25 minutes (longer or shorter depending on preference)


Note: you can hold off on the basil before popping into the oven and garnish with it after it's done (personal preference) 


Solitary Diner said...

I really wish Trader Joe's would come to Canada. Those ready-to-use ingredients look fabulous.

Solmaz Amirnazmi said...

They are quite convenient...I hope it returns to Canada as well!