Bring the flavors of the theme park to your home kitchen with Disney World’s veggie panini! It’s simple and tasty, with a dash of that Disney magic.
I tend to lean towards healthier options when traveling, but ordering “healthy” foods often leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with Disney World’s veggie panini. Although a simple trio, the subtle char of the grilled vegetables with the slightly salty cheese and crispy grilled bread makes for an incredible sandwich, so I just had to recreate it. And let me tell you, it was even better the second time!
Why You’ll Love This Veggie Panini
Flavor and texture variation – The selected vegetables give the sandwich savory notes and vegetal sweetness. The mushrooms also add an earthy meatiness that makes the sandwich more filling. In terms of textures, the panini is soft, tender, crisp, and slightly chewy – it has it all.
Crispy exterior – Not only is the bread toasted, but there are grill marks!
Affordable – You can whip up several veggie paninis without spending much money at the grocery store. Cheese, bread, and a few purchases from the produce section are all you need.
Veggie Panini Ingredients Notes
- Bread: Go with a hearty loaf to stand up to the veggies, cheese, and heat this recipe calls for. I used whole grain, but white will also work.
- Bell peppers: Red bell peppers are the sweetest, while orange and yellow fall somewhere in the middle, and green has a more bitter, vegetal taste— the first three work best in the paninis.
- Zucchini: Although considered a summer vegetable, it’s available year-round (thank you, agricultural advancements).
- Mushrooms: Use any fresh mushrooms you like. Button, porcini, or portobello mushrooms are popular go-tos.
- Basil: Use Italian sweet basil, which has a peppery aroma and a sweeter flavor than other varieties.
- Cheese: Provolone melts well, adds a mildly rich, milky quality to each sandwich, and helps keep the vegetables in place.
How to Make This Veggie Panini
- Roast the vegetables: Transfer them to the parchment-lined sheet, toss in oil and seasonings, then roast for 10-15 minutes. The goal is to soften the vegetables and develop a bit of color on them.
- Assemble and press: Sandwich cheese and vegetables between two slices of bread, add butter or oil to a panini press and leave the sandwich press to work its magic. If you don’t have a panini press, grab a griddle pan, add butter/oil, then add the sandwich to the pan. Once done, push the sandwich down with a spatula or weigh it down with a heavy cast-iron skillet. The added weight will help mimic the ridges on a panini press.
Variations, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips
Make it vegan – Instead of dairy cheese, use your favorite vegan cheese or replace it with your favorite sandwich spread. A roasted garlic spread or hummus would taste delicious on this sandwich. Also, ensure you use Earth Balance or olive oil instead of butter.
Use any vegetables you like – Eggplant, onion, carrots, leafy greens; use whatever you like or what is currently in season. Just take into account that roast time may vary.
Try different cheeses – Cheddar, goat cheese, mozzarella, fontina; all taste great with vegetables and crispy bread.
Brush with cooking fat instead – Apply a thin coat of butter or oil to the outside of each sandwich instead of adding it to the press or griddle. Doing so helps the bread toast more evenly and gets the exterior crisper because there’s a nice, even layer of fat on the outside.
Storage and Freezer Tips
Do not freeze veggie paninis, as vegetables do not fare well in the freezer due to moisture content; however, refrigeration is fine.
How to Reheat
Warm your veggie panini and the fries in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes. You may want to add the fries 5 minutes beforehand since they often need a little longer to warm through. Alternatively, use an air fryer to speed up the process.
- 3 bell peppers, quartered
- 2 zucchini, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup mushrooms ,diced
- 6 basil leaves
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 4 slices of provolone cheese
- 1 pat of butter
- 1 loaf bread (I used whole grain)
- 4 slices of provolone cheese
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and add bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and basil leaves. Coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
- Assemble the paninis by add 1 slice of cheese each and stack the grilled veggies on top.
- Using either a panini press, or a griddle pan over medium-high heat, add the pat of butter and allow to melt. Add the panini. 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).