Grilled Zucchini and Gruyere Panini with Smoky Pesto

This grilled zucchini and gruyere panini with smoky pesto makes an ultra satisfying vegetarian sandwich! 

When I was in high school, my friends and I used to sneak out at lunch and go to Bagel Bakery, a bagel and sandwich shop just down the road. My friends would usually order a plain bagel, since at the time, they were following 'the bagel diet.' Yes really. Even in the height of the low carb craze. In hindsight, that was probably the worst diet ever. Me, I always ordered a panini. At the time, it made me feel fancy and sophisticated next to my friends with their boring, plain bagel.

I still have a soft spot for paninis. It's probably the melty cheese. Actually, it's definitely the melty cheese. But I can't forget the crunchy, toasty, buttery bread, which I love almost as much. I love this cheesy vegetarian panini, filled with grilled zucchini, melty gruyere and smoky pesto spiked with hot smoked paprika.

Grilled Zucchini and Gruyere Panini with Smoky Pesto

Makes 4

Adapted from Food & WIne Magazine


  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick lengthwise slices
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 4 slices gruyere cheese
  • 8 slices sprouted whole grain bread


  1. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Spray zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until charred on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  2. Mix pesto and smoked paprika.
  3. Divide pesto between four bread slices. Top with grilled zucchini and gruyere then other slice of bread.
  4. Place paninis back on the grill or in a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Press down with a spatula to flatten. Grill about 2 minutes per side until crispy and cheese is melted.