Perfect Pesto Picnic Panini

by Chrissy

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Although society (and mother earth) would tell us that Summer is over, my belly (and the local air temp of 82 degrees) is saying it is most definitely not.  Yes, it’s quite the opposite, actually. The weather is finally hot, the nasty overcast skies have at long last yielded to the brightly shining sun’s demand for attention.


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And I am completely okay with it all. The Fall can just wait another month or so.


Good thing Labor Day brought out some good end-of-summer sales; now I am stocked up for the upcoming Summer 2011: Round 2, September Edition.


This is why I love So Cal, and why I am firmly planted in San Diego.


So, what to do with all of these glorious “Summer” nights and weekends?

This question has two answers: one of them, to attend local fun events, such as the Taste of Downtown. [You still have time to buy your tickets!] The other is…..


P-I-C-N-I-C   T-I-M-E !


I bring you, the Perfect Pesto Picnic Panini.



Makes 4 panini sandwiches


4 individual ciabatta rolls, cut in half.

1 cup packed arugula

8 artichoke hearts

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in olive oil

1/2 cup pesto or pesto spread*

8 large slices of rotisserie chicken deli meat

4 slices of smoked Gouda cheese, or provolone


*Little Yellow Note: A thicker pesto spread holds up a little better in a Panini than regular pesto. An awesome recipe for the spread is forthcoming so stay tuned!



Heat up a grill pan , or better yet, the George Foreman. Yes, use the George Foreman if you have one, since it’s the perfect Panini press.


Place a halved ciabatta roll onto the grill to get a nice toast on both sides. After about 2 minutes, remove from the grill and place onto a cutting board to assemble the sandwich. Spread the pesto on both sides of the bread. Add the slice of cheese. Then add 2 artichoke hearts, roughly chopped, a quarter of the sun-dried tomatoes, fold and pile on the meat, top off with a handful of arugula. Finally, place the top onto the sandwich and place onto the George Foreman and close the lid. Grill to perfection. Cut the sandwich into half triangles and wrap immediately in foil. Place in picnic basket and enjoy under the sun.


From the Little Yellow Kitchen,







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12 Comments to “Perfect Pesto Picnic Panini”

  1. I’m so jealous of the lovely weather that you’re having. I wish it was still summer here! I love how colourful these paninis are; I can’t wait to try them.

  2. beautiful sunset pic! I have been making pesto like it’s my job to use up all of my fresh basil. I love it so much! Your sandwiches look fantastic!

  3. These look soooo good! Can you bring that picnic to work soon? 😉 Great photos!

  4. Another yummy, yet easy, meal idea. I especially love sandwiches in HOT weather (like it is now).
    Thank you, Great idea…all those ingredients with the panini bread. WINNER!

  5. I’m totally with you on the fall situation. Everyone in the blogdom is making fall recipes… and I say heck no to that! September is one of the hottest months in Alberta. We’re dying up here!

  6. I love your photos, AND the fact that you added artichoke hearts to your Panini!

  7. AWESOME! It’s still in the high 80s here…so I’m still wanting to bbq!

  8. This looks so good! I love pesto. I didn’t get into it until recently but lately I adore it!

  9. Chrissy

    Yes, and we are dying down here! So hot! I am so glad we are on the same page… as much as I LOVE pumpkin and fall veggies, it’s just not time to give into them.

  10. Chrissy

    Thank you Tiffany! Mmm artichoke hearts were a great addition, you have to sort of squeeze the juice from them, so they don’t make the bread soggy, but they add a great flavor!

  11. Look at those stripes of red and green – love it! This does sound like an awesome panini!