That poor panini press you tucked away is a victim of its own name! Sure, it does a very good job at making its namesake, the delicious sandwich of Italian origin, but that is not all it's capable of making. With a little creativity, you can make almost anything on a panini press and in less time than pan-frying and baking with conventional ovens. Crab and Avocado Cakes? Tomato Salad with Grilled Goat Cheese and Salsa Verde? Chocolate Chip and Heath Ice Cream Sandwiches? Yes, yes, and yes! So grab yours or stock up on one (this one is our favorite) and give it another chance with these 11 Creative Recipes for Panini Presses!
Though paninis are usually used for savory sandwiches, why not use it for dessert? Fire up the press and make a batch of Agave Grilled Peaches. Cut peaches in half and brush the cut side with a mixture of agave, orange juice, and a pinch of black pepper. Heat it flesh side down on the open press for a few minutes for a sweet dessert with a peppery bite.
Oil up your press and cook these patties on medium heat for a mess-free and decadent snack! Packed with sweet and salty morsels of crab, crunchy bread crumbs, and lumps of cool, buttery avocado, Crab and Avocado Cakes need only few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice in order to achieve perfection.
This recipe is perfect for apartment dwellers that are looking for a way around using a grill! Heat up your press and grill sliced and seasoned heirloom tomatoes on high, to form grill marks on both sides and intensify their flavor. Once ready, remove tomatoes, lower the heat, and add sliced goat cheese, then let it sizzle until the dish develops a slight crust. Top with a bright salsa verde and enjoy!
In Argentina, the street food of choice is the choripan, and with good reason! Split a smokey andouille sausage and cook in a closed press to cut cooking time in half and get those beautiful grill marks everyone is after. Pile it high on a sourdough roll then slather on a tangy parsley and garlic laced chimichurri. For extra bonus points, toast the entire sandwich for added crunch.
Arepas, a traditional Venezuelan dish, are versatile and can definitely carry the weight and flavor of spicy fillings like ground beef. To save time and avoid using two pans, cook arepas first in a press to develop a crust while you heat the aromatics for the filling on the stove, then transfer the arepas to the oven as usual. The filling will be ready and waiting by the time the arepas are done and you'll have one less pan to clean.
This recipe is healthy as-is, with it's fluffy quinoa and vitamin rich sweet potato, but cook the assembled cakes on a griddle or press for just a couple minutes for a no-fry treat! The speedy cooking time and the balance of sweet potato with salty and nutty parmesan make this the ideal any-time snack.
Cooking cookies in a panini press? Yes! Preheat your panini press to medium heat and place balls of cookie dough inside and press down very gently. This will flatten the cookies slightly making for thinner, crispier cookies that cook in about half the normal baking time. Once golden brown, carefully remove and cool cookies. Then build your ice cream sandwich as usual and place back on the press to warm the cookies through and melt the ice cream!
Bust out your panini press for a Latin take on a grilled sandwich. This mushroom and cheese torta recipe oozes with creamy cheese and the addition of roasted green chiles and tequila gives it just the right dimension of smokey flavor. A soft bolillo roll that gets grilled until crunchy is the perfect thing to hold all the gooey goodness.
Though named a Cubano, this recipe is technically a medianoche, a variation on the traditional Cubano Sandwich. It consists of roast pork, ham, mustard, swiss cheese, and dill pickles – the difference lies in the sweeter egg bread it is served on, similar to Challah. Why is it called a medianoche? Because this toasted sandwich is exactly what you'd want to eat when the clock strikes 12am. Heat up this sandwich on the press until golden brown and cut it down to middle to reveal the stringy, melty cheese and a heaping helping of pork.
This simple but delicious recipe calls for deli turkey, muenster cheese, and creamy avocados. Use bolillos or French sandwich rolls, and toast them in a press with butter for extra flavor (and no dirty pans)! To build even more flavor, throw the deli turkey on the press for 30 seconds before you build your sandwich for a subtle smoked turkey sandwich.