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This tomato artichoke two cheese panini with pesto aioli is bursting with fresh flavors and gooey cheese! It’s a hearty vegetarian sandwich that even meat-eaters will love!
This is the perfect sandwich to enjoy this summer! Imagine all those beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market…or your own garden…sandwiched between herbaceous slices of focaccia with artichokes, fresh basil, mozzarella, provolone and pesto aioli!
It’s gooey and messy and sooooo delicious!
Ingredients for This Tomato Artichoke Panini
When it comes to panini, foundation is everything! In this case, it’s the bread. You gotta start with bread that can hold up to heat and pressure and (mostly) keep all your ingredients in tact.
I think the go-to for a lot of panini is ciabatta or focaccia. I noticed that Lidl had whole loaves of focaccia on special, and when I got there, I instead found individual rounds that are absolutely perfect for sandwiches!
You may not have a Lidl where you live, but I highly recommend using focaccia from your favorite local bakery or grocery. You may find a plain focaccia simply seasoned with olive oil that will work just fine. If you can get your hands on a loaf flavored with herbs or other savory toppings, that will definitely elevate this sandwich!
Other ingredients include:
- Sliced provolone cheese
- Fresh mozzarella
- Artichoke hearts (in brine)
- Fresh basil
- Light mayonnaise
- Prepared pesto
- Lemon juice
- Salt + pepper
- olive oil
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Helpful Tips for Preparing These Panini
You’ll combine light mayo with prepared pesto and little lemon juice to make a shortcut aioli. You can certainly make pesto from scratch and I might’ve done so had I not already had an open jar in my fridge. The aioli is a vehicle to add more basil and tangy notes.
Artichokes packed in brine are full of water and have the potential to make your panini soggy. At the very least, you may end up with brine running down your hands as you take a big bite. To remedy this, place the artichoke hearts between paper towels or in a tea towel and give them a little squeeze to remove most of the water.
I used a grill pan (a non-stick skillet works, too) and a cast iron skillet to press my sandwiches. Any heavy pan or pot, or a brick wrapped in foil can be used as a press. Here’s another trick — heat up your “press” on a separate burner before placing it on top of your sandwiches to help them cook from the top down as well. You’ll optimize melting without burning your bread. Just be sure to use oven mitts when handling the hot “press”.
How to Assemble These Panini
- Slather some pesto aioli on the bread tops. Place a slice of provolone on the bottoms.
- Add tomatoes on top of the provolone. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add artichoke hearts and torn basil on top of the tomatoes.
- Layer the fresh mozzarella last.
Top the sandwich with the other slice of bread and they’re ready to grill!
Other Sandwich Recipes to Try
- Grilled Cheese with Ricotta, Chicken + Fig
- Kimchi Grilled Cheese
- Air Fryer Spicy Fish on Hawaiian Rolls
- Steak Sliders with Pears + Blue Cheese
Tomato Artichoke Two Cheese Panini with Pesto Aioli
- grill pan or panini press
- 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp prepared basil pesto
- 1 – 2 tsp lemon juice to taste
- 12 oz focaccia bread (or 4 individual, sandwich sized loaves) sliced in half
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 8 slices heirloom tomatoes or your favorite tomato
- kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 12 artichoke hearts (packed in brine) halved, squeezed to remove excess liquid
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
- olive oil
- Prepare the pesto aioli by combining mayo, pesto and lemon juice (to taste) in a small bowl.
- Spread 1 tbsp of aioli on each of the 4 bread tops.
- On each bread bottom, layer the ingredients as follows:1 slice of provolone, 2 slices of tomato, salt + pepper, 6 artichoke heart halves, 2 torn basil leaves, 1/4 of the mozzarella slices. Place the bread tops on.
- Preheat a grill pan or non-stick skillet over medium heat. You may also preheat a cast iron skillet, large soup pot, or foil-covered brick (any heavy cooking tool) on a separate burner to serve as a "press".
- Oil the grill pan with olive oil. Place your sandwiches in the pan, working in batches if necessary. Brush or drizzle olive oil on top of the sandwiches to prevent them sticking to the bottom of your "press".
- Place the "press" on top of the sandwiches and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Carefull remove the "press" with oven mitts. Flip the sandwiches over, replace the "press" and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
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