Vegan Mofo Day 27: White Bean Apple Rosemary Panini

I’ve had my lovely little Cusinart griddler for months now and although I’ve made some tasty pancakes and some sexy tofu (just look at those grill marks) I haven’t made one of the things I was most excited about when I first got it, paninis! I know I’ve mentioned it before but I swear, the more I use that grill the more I love it, I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a multitasker like moi, or because I got it for free, but it’s beginning to become a permanent fixture on my countertop. Ok, I’ll stop proclaiming my love for small appliances now, before things start to get weird.

Panini’s are so easy to make and soooo much better then regular sandwiches, no one can dispute the fact that a toasted sandwich is better then an untoasted sandwich. You can use any kind of bread you’d like, ciabatta, semolina, French bread, rye, or plain ol’ slices of white.  I decided to go the fancy route and picked up a loaf of sourdough apple flax bread from a local bakery, I wanted to do this Panini justice and the stuff I had home just wasn’t going to cut it.

I came across an article on Panini making in the July/August issue of Vegetarian Times and got all inspired, but after looking through the recipes I realized that I was either missing ingredients or wasn’t in the mood for the flavour combinations. I came across Vegan Homemade’s post on Rosemary earlier in the day and just couldn’t shake the craving for those scones, so what else could I do besides give in? Apples, rosemary, cream cheese, now things were starting to sound good. I liked the idea of using a chickpea spread like in this recipe, but I knew it wouldn’t go well with the other flavours, so instead I came up with a creamy white bean spread. I initially wasn’t planning on adding the sweet potato chips but I thought the Panini was in need of something extra and as it turns out, they were the perfect choice. This thing was a party in my mouth! Savoury mixed with a little bit of sweet from the apples and sweet potato, total yumminess. I know not everyone has a Panini press, but don’t you fret, these are easy enough to whip up with a skillet or grill pan.

White Bean Apple Rosemary Panini
Makes 4 sandwiches
Inspired by Vegetarian Times

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of ciabatta or bread of your choosing
  • 1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 recipe of Sweet Potato Chips
  • 1 recipe of Herbed White Bean Pure (recipe below)

Directions:

Place toasted walnuts in food processor and pulse until roughly ground.

Spread white bean puree on 4 slices of bread. Top with ground walnuts, apple slices and sweet potato chips. Spread remaining 4 bread slices with white bean spread; close sandwiches.

Spray panini with cooking spray. Coat skillet or grill pan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Place panini in pan; weight with smaller-diameter saucepan weighted with 2 cans. Cook 3 minutes. Flip, replace weight, and cook 2 minutes. If using a panini maker, cook for 8 minutes or until bread is fully toasted.

Herbed White Bean Spread
Adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-oz can (1 1/2 cups) cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese (ie. Tofutti)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except rosemary and basil. Purée until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. If the mixture seems too thick, add some water a little at a time. Add thyme and basil and purée briefly to incorporate ingredients.

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