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House-Grilled Eggplant Panini with Cheese and Tomatoes

Updated on June 5, 2016
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, teaching grades 3-5. She is now a Library Media Specialist in an elementary school.

House-grilled Eggplant Panini pictured as an appetizer here.  So delicious!
House-grilled Eggplant Panini pictured as an appetizer here. So delicious!
Source

By Lortta Kelly, "My favorite, I use it on italian toast. top with melted cheese, or I use it in my pasta with grated cheese. I could not ask for a better produ

Grilled Eggplant

If you are looking for a quick and delicious, gourmet-style appetizer that will impress your friends and family, here it is. I've always enjoyed cooking thinly-sliced eggplant in a frying pan, scattered with fresh parmesan cheese, and ripe diced tomatoes. One day I decided to change it up a bit, and this is what I came up with. I call it the House Grilled Eggplant Panini - so yummy and it looks really fancy!

The most important part of this delicious recipe is the eggplant. Because eggplants come in all sizes, you can have fun with the look of your paninis. I haven't made these with baby eggplants, but I bet they would be incredibly good too. In this recipe, I am using a medium-sized eggplant. The eggplant needs to be sliced 1/4 inch thick, and it needs to be charred slightly or grilled. A house grill pan will work well for this task. The cheese can be varied, depending on your preferences - I've used provolone, farmer's cheese, and mozzarella. Fresh herbs top it off nicely - basil, oregano, or parsley.

5 stars from 2 ratings of Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: Appetizers for four people or meals for two people
Source
Fresh ingredients make this appetizer/meal enticing. Basil can even be grown in a pot on your porch, for quick access.
Fresh ingredients make this appetizer/meal enticing. Basil can even be grown in a pot on your porch, for quick access. | Source

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced in round 1/4 inch pieces, leaave skin on
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 ounces freshly shredded parmesan cheese, this can be bought pre-shredded, but fresh is essential
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half length-wise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large tomato, thinly-sliced
  • 4 ounces provolone, mozzarella, or farmers cheese, thin, round slices (can be pre-sliced at local deli)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, oregano, or parsley, chopped

Pictures by Author

Rubbing garlic on a hot-oiled pan is a great way to infuse flavor into your cooking.
Rubbing garlic on a hot-oiled pan is a great way to infuse flavor into your cooking.
Pressing down on each slice causes the juices to be released and the eggplant will begin to steam and sizzle.
Pressing down on each slice causes the juices to be released and the eggplant will begin to steam and sizzle.
Once they are assembled, flipping is unneccessary.  Simply cover for a couple of minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
Once they are assembled, flipping is unneccessary. Simply cover for a couple of minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
The grill marks give the eggplant great flavor and pizazz.
The grill marks give the eggplant great flavor and pizazz.

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the eggplant by washing it off and drying it. Trim the top and bottom off and discard. Now begin slicing into 1/4 inch slices. You will need 4 slices per person, so you should end up with at least 16 slices.
  2. Next, heat your grill pan on medium-high heat. Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil in pan and coat the bottom evenly with oil. Cut the garlic clove in half length-wise, and place cut sides down in the pan. Once the oil is hot, rub the garlic along the bottom of the pan, then remove. This gives the oil a wonderful garlic flavor.
  3. Place eggplant in pan. After about 5 minutes, press on eggplant with a fork, releasing the juices. Allow to cook for 5 more minutes. Now flip the eggplant, and repeat.
  4. While the eggplant is sizzling, slice the medium-sized tomato and mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices, dice the basil and roma tomato, and set aside.
  5. Layer every other slice of eggplant with sliced mozzarella, sliced tomato, basil, and one more slice of mozarella. Place another eggplant slice on top. Cover with lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes. This will give the mozerrella time to melt.
  6. Place 2 eggplant paninis on each plate for appetizers. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with shredded parmesan and diced tomatoes.
  7. If serving as a meal, place 4 eggplant paninis on each plate.

Appetizer Portions (double for meal portions)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 sandwiches
Calories 375
Calories from Fat252
% Daily Value *
Fat 28 g43%
Saturated fat 10 g50%
Carbohydrates 11 g4%
Sugar 4 g
Fiber 5 g20%
Protein 18 g36%
Cholesterol 47 mg16%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

The Health Benefits of Eggplant

Eggplant is actually very good for you and has many health benefits. According to Medical News Today, eggplant has the following health benefits:

  • Eggplants contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrients which support heart health.
  • "Polyphenols in eggplant have been found to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They protect body cells from damage caused by free radicals and in turn prevent tumor growth and invasion and spread of cancer cells. They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death.."
  • Nasunin, an anthocyanin is found inside the eggplant skin. It is a "powerful antioxidant that protects the lipids comprising cell membranes in brain cells from free radical damage. It has also been proven to help facilitate the transport of nutrients into the cell and wastes out.."
  • "Research has also shown that anthocyanins inhibit neuroinflammation and facilitate blood flow to the brain. This helps prevent age-related mental disorders and also improves memory."
  • "Eggplant skin is full of fiber, potassium and magnesium and antioxidants. In fact, its phenolic content makes it such a potent free radical scavenger that the eggplant is ranked among the top 10 vegetables in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity."

Comments

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    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      I love grilled eggplant. What a fantastic idea! Voted up and shared! Take care, Kelley

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Yummy! I love grilled eggplant with tomatoes and mozarella but I have not tried it yet as a sandwich. Well done. Voted up and SHARED.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This sounds fabulous and I love your photos!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Wow, these look delicious. Voted up and shared!

    • beaddve1800 profile image

      beaddve1800 5 years ago from Toronto

      Great recipe! Shared!

    • sadie423 profile image

      sadie423 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Looks great! I am always looking for new ways to use all the eggplant from the garden!

    • Rosie writes profile image
      Author

      Rosie writes 5 years ago from Virginia

      Wow! Thanks for all the great comments. I'm the only eggplant lover in my family, so it is good to know there are others out there too! I made this recipe yesterday for myself, paired with a glass of red wine - savored every bite!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You caught my attention with your title as we love eggplant and are successfully growing Chinese eggplants in our garden this year and are looking towards a bumper crop. This recipe looks and sounds delicious!!! Voted up, useful and beautiful. Thanks!

    • clothespinnedlove profile image

      clothespinnedlove 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Yummm...eggplant is my fav

    • Rosie writes profile image
      Author

      Rosie writes 5 years ago from Virginia

      Peggy, I envy you having what sounds like a large garden. My little raised boxes don't produce much other than herbs and tomatoes. Thanks for the comment and voting up!

    • articlesocean profile image

      Saira Sheikh 5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Hmmm, This looks just delicious :). Hoping to try this recipe out this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Looks yum... am gonna give it a try for sure

    • Dr Pooja profile image

      Dr Pooja 5 years ago

      Simple yet delicious looking recipe.Will try soon

    • Lot Rillera profile image

      Lot Rillera 5 years ago from Philippines

      looks delicious and wanted to taste it. We always have eggplant during weekdays, we grilled it too. I wanna try this one during the weekend. . printed this one. thanks for sharing

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Yum! These sound delicious. Thank you, voted up!

    • donabhatt profile image

      donabhatt 5 years ago from Hyderabad

      This looks delicious. I am definitely going to try this out.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      This looks delicious! I'm sure that it would wow any set of dinner guests.

    • Rosie writes profile image
      Author

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks for all the comments everyone. I actually made this for guests a couple of weeks ago, who had never had eggplant before. I used this long skinny eggplant that I bought at a fresh market. Everyone loved them - it was a big hit!

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      I never thought eggplants could be a sandwich filling, but looking at your recipe, it they could be a delicious filling! Thanks for sharing your recipe. :)

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