Since 1995 - Non Profit Healthcare Advice

Grilled Vegetable Panini

Vegetables promote overall health and help maintain optimal antioxidant status, important in preventing skin damage due to environmental exposures. What better way to get your antioxidants than by eating delicious roasted vegetables, combined with mozzarella cheese in a basil pesto?

When it comes to skin health and sun exposure, it is important to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Researchers have found that premature aging of the skin and skin cancer involves an interplay between sun damage from ultraviolet¬†(UV)¬†light, nutrition and antioxidant status. UV light promotes formation of highly reactive substances called “free radicals,” which damage cell proteins and DNA. Theoretically, antioxidants such as beta-carotene and other carotenoids can stabilize free radicals and end the damaging chain reactions that they start. Get your antioxidants the tasty way by trying this Grilled Vegetable Panini!



  • 2 small Japanese eggplants or 1 medium to large regular eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 baguettes (each about 2 feet long)
  • 1/2 cup Basil Pesto, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 8 large basil leaves, optional
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup (about) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

In a blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until finely chopped. With the blender still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil over the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the eggplant, zucchini, and onions until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Cool completely. Cut each baguette into 6 pieces. Working with one baguette piece at a time, slice in half and spread both sides with the pesto. Working with the bottom slice of the baguette, stack 2 slices of eggplant, 2 slices zucchini, 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice mozzarella, and 1 slice of roasted pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top half of baguette on top and continue with remaining baguette. (The sandwiches can be made 4 hours ahead. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Amount per serving= 1/2 slice of Panini, Calories 119.8, Calories from Fat 80; 67%, Total Fat 8.9 g, Cholesterol 14.9 mg, Sodium 203.8 mg, Total Carbohydrate 5.7 g, Dietary Fiber 2.3 g, Protein 5.3 g

For more information:

Go to the Diet and Nutrition health topic.