On the heels of my Pineapple Dole Whip Float post from last week, I decided to try my hand at another Disney spin-off. This time, with a slightly healthier meal. I had this Veggie Panini on our very first day in Disney World and it was amazing! Being slightly health conscious, I am used to ordering “health” foods while traveling and having them taste awful (I’m looking at you Mr. “Veggie” Burger in MGM studios), so I was blown out of the water when I first tasted this!
What made the sandwich so special were the grilled veggies combined with a slightly salted cheese and perfectly grilled bread. I knew immediately that I had to recreate it for myself once we got home. And let me tell you, it was even better the second time around!
For my version, I used a hearty whole grain bread then added grilled zucchini, red peppers, mushrooms and fresh basil and topped it all off with provolone. And, of course, made a side of sweet potato fries, because why not! Honestly, I make sweet potato fries at least once a week (I love bringing them to work with me), but I have to say, these were the best yet! Instead of my usual spice blend (a mixture of cumin, garlic, and paprika), I mixed it up by playing up their natural sweetness!
- 1 loaf of hearty bread (I used a whole grain)
- 3 bell peppers quartered
- 2 zucchini sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup mushrooms diced
- 6 basil leaves
- 4 slices of provolone cheese
- 3 sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into ½ inch spears
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 pat of butter
- 1 tbs. corn starch
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- A few hours beforehand, slice the sweet potatoes and add them to a large bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for at least 1 hour before proceeding.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375. In a gallon-sized ziploc bag, add the sliced sweet potato as well as the corn-starch and cinnamon. Shake the bag about 5-10 times or until the slices are well coated. Add the olive oil and shake, once again making sure all of the fries are coated. On a baking sheet (I coated mine in PAM ) spread the fries out evenly. Allow to bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Line another baking sheet with parchment paper, and add bell peppers, zucchini and mushrooms. Coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
- Using either a panini press, or a griddle pan over medium-high heat (as I did) add the pat of butter and allow to melt. Add your bread. In order to get "grill marks" (for those of you NOT using a panini press) press down on the bread using a spatula so that it gets a nice sear. Once the outside has been toasted, flip for only a few seconds and allow the other-side to "warm". Flip again (so the soft middle is facing up) and add 1 slice of cheese. Take your grilled veggies from the oven and stack them as you see fit! Serve with sweet potato fries!