This simple caprese panini with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and tomato is an easy and delicious vegetarian lunch you can make in 10 minutes.Jump to Recipe
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We all love a good caprese sandwich, but you know what’s even better? A toasty caprese panini made with basil pesto, fresh tomato, and creamy mozzarella cheese.
These three simple ingredients are transformed into a whole new sandwich simply by toasting it on a panini press or frying pan. The cheese becomes gooey and melts in your mouth, the tomatoes get extra juicy and warm, and the pesto adds a depth of flavor to this toasted sandwich that rivals fresh basil. So next time you’re craving a bright and fresh yet crispy sandwich, try this caprese panini recipe – it’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s vegetarian. What’s not to love?
What Goes In A Caprese Panini
Traditionally, three ingredients make up a caprese sandwich: tomato, mozzarella, and basil. However, our caprese panini recipe is made with basil pesto (rather than fresh basil) for a unique spin on the classic sandwich that doesn’t rely on fresh herbs. Meaning you can easily make this panini any time of the year!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this caprese panini:
- Basil pesto
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Sliced tomato
- Fresh Italian or French bread
How To Make A Caprese Panini
Making a panini at home really only takes 2 simple steps – assemble the sandwich, then toast it on a panini press, frying pan, or cast iron skillet. Here’s how to make a caprese panini sandwich:
- Butter the outsides of two slices of bread, then set one aside and put one butter side down on a plate.
- Spread basil pesto on the not-buttered side of the bread, then top with a layer of fresh mozzarella.
- Add a layer of sliced tomato, then add another layer of fresh mozzarella.
- Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread (butter side up), then carefully transfer to a panini press or frying pan.
There are a few different ways you can cook a panini at home – check out our Pesto Chicken & Spinach panini recipe here for more detailed information and tips for making the best homemade panini.
Try our caprese panini recipe with pesto for a quick and easy vegetarian lunch and let us know what you think in the comments!
Love this recipe? You may enjoy these recipes, too:
- Pesto Chicken & Spinach Panini
- Pepperoni Pizza Panini
- Chipotle Chicken Melt
- Basil Pesto Caprese Sandwich
Caprese Panini With Pesto
- 2 slices fresh bakery bread French or Italian
- 2 tsp butter
- 2 tsp basil pesto
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella sliced
- 2 slices red vine tomato
- First, assemble the panini. Spread about 1 tsp butter on the outside of each slice of bread, then carefully place one slice of bread butter side down on a plate. Spread the basil pesto onto the bread, then top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the tomato slices, then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Close the sandwich with the remaining slice of bread, butter side up.
- Heat a cast iron pan over medium-low heat. Carefully transfer the panini to the pan once it's warm and cook until the bottom is crisped and golden-brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until the bottom is crisped and golden-brown again, another 3 to 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can use a preheated grill press on top of the sandwich to crisp both sides at once and avoid flipping your panini.)
- Transfer panini to a cutting board and slice diagonally in half. Serve immediately.