Ingredients

¼ – ½ sliced onion

¼ – ½ sliced bell pepper

1-2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

8 slices pumpernickel bread

¼ lb deli-sliced pepperoni

8-16 slices provolone cheese

½- 1 cup Pesto, store- bought or homemade (recipe below)

Homemade Pesto Ingredients

1-2 cups firmly packed,  fresh basil leaves

½ – 1 cup firmly packed, fresh parsley leaves

2-3 cloves grated/chopped garlic

¼ – ½ cup peanuts/pine nuts

1 lemon

¼ – ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ – ½ cup extra- virgin olive oil

 

Pesto Preparation

1.  In a food processor combine basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts/peanuts, lemon zest with the juice from lemon and Parmesan cheese.

2.  While processing, pour in extra- virgin olive oil.  Add necessary amount of oil to reach desired thickness. Makes roughly ¾ cup.

Sandwich Preparation

1. Turn on Panini/sandwich maker or place non-stick skillet on stovetop over medium heat.

2. In a skillet on stovetop over medium- high heat, sauté onion and pepper slices with olive oil until onion is translucent and/or vegetables are tender.

3. Spread pesto on one side of each piece of pumpernickel bread.

4. On top of pesto side of 4 slices of bread, layer each one with a couple of pepperoni slices and 1-2 slices provolone cheese.  Spoon on onions and bell peppers.

5. Add another couple of slices of pepperoni on top of peppers and onions.  Form a sandwich by placing a piece of bread on top, pesto side down.

6. Place in Panini/sandwich maker or skillet.  Cook until cheese is melted.  If cooking in skillet, flip sandwich halfway through.  Serves 4.

Alternatives

Original Ingredient: Replace With:
bell pepper mild peppers (cubanelle, poblano, or Anaheim), medium heat  to hot peppers (fresno, jalapeño, chipotle in adobo,  serrano or habanero peppers), or any type of pepper
extra-virgin olive oil vegetable oil, butter/margarine, or dairy-free margarine
pumpernickel bread brown rice bread, rice bread, or any type of sliced bread
deli-sliced pepperoni thinly sliced soy-based pepperoni, pancetta, prosciutto, salami, ham, corn beef, pastrami, turkey or pre-packaged pepperoni
provolone cheese any type of sliced cheese or soy-based cheese
basil tarragon, arugula,  or mint
parsley chervil or cilantro
garlic cloves ¼ – ½ tsp garlic powder or ½ – 1tsp minced garlic
peanuts/pine nuts sunflower seeds, almonds, chickpeas (drain and dry), or any type of nuts
lemon lime
Parmesan cheese soy-based cheese or any type of grated cheese

 

Tips

– Even if you don’t own a Panini/sandwich maker, a simple trick can be used to create your own.  When using a skillet, press sandwich together by placing a second skillet on top, using a heavy can to fully press down on sandwich.

– Store left over pesto in refrigerator for a few days in sealed airtight container.  Top off with a layer of olive oil or plastic wrap directly on top.  For long-term storage, place in freezer.

– When grating lemon/ lime zest using a zester/grater, grate only outer yellow/green layer where the essential oils and flavors are located.

– Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

– For an alternate way to make garlic paste, peel and finely chop garlic.  Add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic and rub garlic repeatedly with sides of knife.

– Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

– Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling.

– To maintain longer freshness, wash herbs immediately when you bring them home from the store.  Dry off and store wrapped up in paper towels in a Ziploc® Brand Bag in refrigerator.

– To maintain longer freshness, gently wash and dry basil.  Place in a jar or vase with water, and store in a cool location away from direct sunlight.  Do not refrigerate.

– Remove ribs and seeds of hot peppers to reduce heat.

– Toast nuts in non-stick skillet on stovetop over medium- or medium-low heat to enhance flavor.  While toasting, gently shake skillet to turn nuts to brown all sides evenly.  As soon as you smell them or are golden brown, remove from heat.  It only takes a few minutes.

– Due to their high concentration of oil, it is best to store nuts in freezer to maintain longer freshness.