Tempeh. Many run from this word, as it is unknown to most. However, I’ve slowly started to notice it’s becoming more and more ‘trendy’. I started to explore this tempeh, what makes it both intimidating and attractive? Fermented whole soybeans with mold, similar to tofu. Tempeh is a meat substitute, it’s firm, dry and chewy and the best part about it is that you can get it smoked- tastes like bacon!! Which is why when I first tried tempeh, it was smoked and I found it delicious. At Candle Cafe, a vegan restaurant in New York, their menu featured many variations of tempeh. I got a smoked temeph sandwich with roasted red pepper, roasted zucchini, arugula, with a tomato spread on whole grain bread.
Ways we can use temeph in panini form: replace your grilled meat with grilled temeph, try it smoked, grill it with some veggies on the panini with a soy sauce, and naturally add it into your next panini :).
*Did you notice the great panini grill marks on the tempeh?
One of my favorite movies is Ratatouille, not just because I’m a foodie, because it’s just the greatest. The title was clever, the plot was cute, and the location was perfect. The ambiance and theme made me absolutely fall in love with this movie. This also sparked my interest in Ratatouille… What exactly is Ratatouille and how can this be made in a panini?
Ratatouille, which I assumed was French, actually originated from Occitania. Occitania is a historical region in southern Europe which includes Monaco, parts of Spain and Italy, and the southern half of France. This dish is a small representation of each these regions. Usually, this dish is prepared by cooking each vegetable by itself and then layering it. Over time, this dish has adapted to many different versions and methods of making. The most modern approach to making ratatouille is by grilling it, which is how this relates to Sani Panini…
Peppers (your preference of red or green bell peppers)
Assembling (salad or layers):
1. Peel the eggplant
2. Cut the eggplant and zucchini into thin circles, relatively the same size
3. Drizzle olive oil and salt over the eggplant and zuchinni
4. Grill on the panini for 2 minutes
5. While they are grilling, start cutting the peppers and onions in slices and then cut in half. So that the length of the peppers and onions are similar to the diameter of the zucchini and eggplant.
6. In a bowl, mash the garlic and add peppers, onions, olive oil and salt
7. Take the eggplant and zucchini off of the panini and add the peppers and onions for 2 minutes
8. Cut the tomatoes into slices (doesn’t matter if you are using cherry tomatoes or regular tomatoes)
9. Take the peppers and onions off and cook the tomatoes for 1 minute
10. You can add all the ingredients to the panini now, just to warm them up, but leave the panini open
11. Chop some basil
12. Take all ingredients off of the panini and either mix together in a bowl with the basil OR you can layer them on a plate
*If you are making this into a salad, you can cut the veggies into thick cubes rather than slices. I also like adding a touch of balsamic, just a little!!
**This makes great for leftovers! You can add this into your eggs in the morning, or fry an egg and place on top. You can also eat the salad cold, room temp, or hot. While layering the veggies is best hot!
Healthier than bread and a creative way to make ordinary wraps taste even better is a Panini Wrap!! I have featured recipes on my blog before on how to make a delicious panini wrap, but don’t often see them on menus. So, I was thrilled when I went to this great little deli in Charleston, South Carolina called Dellz Deli; which featured a whole menu of grilled wraps and pitas.
This place has only about 6 barstools… .and that’s it. The line was huge wrapped around the corner and just by the looks of the people in line, it attracted everyone!
Inside was an interactive place where the owner and her son knew their customers by name!
They are known for their “goddess dressing”, which is their secret sauce that they give you to put on your sandwich. And whatever it was, it was amazing! Here is a picture of my grilled wrap with the goddess dressing on the side.
Their menu consists of seasonal items and the freshest ingredients. My wrap had brown rice and an assortment of different kinds of fresh veggies, and with the goddess sauce on the side it was delicious!!!
For my recipe on how to make great wrap panini’s check out this post by clicking on this link >> http://sanipanini.com/2012/11/19/thats-a-wrap/
For all you Vegans and Vegetarians out there- I have a great panini for you! This recipe includes a major flavor booster: hummus! My favorite type of hummus is one with extra lemon and lots of garlic. Hummus is extremely easy to make. It simply consists of using a food processor to blend garbanzo beans, lemon, tahini, garlic, salt, olive oil, an optional jalapeño, and paprika for looks! If you are unfamiliar with the ingredient tahini, it is a grounded sesame seed paste that originated from the Middle East. On the other hand, store-bought hummus is also a great option because of the various flavors! You can leave it as is or make it your own by adding more lemon, crushed red pepper, etc. Roasted garlic, jalapeño, and roasted red pepper are amongst my personal favorites.
Depending on your tastes and veggies you want to add into this panini, you can alter the type of hummus you use too!
Your favorite vegan bread or lavash wrap
Any hummus you’d like
Lettuce (or Spinach or Arugula)
Salt and Pepper
1. Cut and clean your red pepper and onion into slices
2. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper
3. Grill on the panini for 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables become tender
5. Cut tomatoes and cucumbers into slices
6. Wash and chop lettuce
4. Spread hummus on both slices of bread or lavash wrap
5. Add the grilled red pepper and onion to bread or lavash
6. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce
7. Wrap your lavash or add your second piece of bread
8. Grill in the panini for 3 minutes
9. Cut in halves and then serve
The colors in this panini are fantastic!!
TIP: Before adding the veggies inside the sandwich, grill them on the panini to enhance their flavor!
Salad? On a panini? What?? Usually the response I would expect to hear, but after reading this post I’m hoping you all would reconsider. A salad on a panini is actually very delicious!
Ingredients for Salad:
Assembling the Salad:
1. Take slices of bacon and grill on panini
2. Once it’s the desired texture (firm, but not too crunchy) take it off the panini
3. Cut the romaine length-wise, right down the middle to form two large pieces
4. Lightly spread olive oil to the open, face-side-up of the lettuce
5. Sprinkle with salt and peper
6. Grill on panini until warm and when the lettuce gets those nice grill marks
7. Meanwhile, crumble the bacon
8. Take lettuce out and put on a plate
9. Drizzle dressing on top of the grilled lettuce, then add the crumbled bacon on top of that
Dressing: Most dressings would work great with this, homemade or pre-made. Depending on your dressing, you could add different types of cheese. Caesar is a great option, with parmesan cheese. Or a balasmic dressing with bleu cheese, or even just a simple bleu cheese dressing. The opportunities are endless!!
I found my own little oasis inside the ‘desert’ of Detroit, Michigan at a little place called Russell Street Deli. Here people line up around the block, even in the dead of winter, just to wait to be seated. The seating in the Deli is very unique, they have limited seating with only about 8 tables. Each of these tables sit 6 people and they fill up these tables no matter how big or small your party. If you go with a group less than 5, then plan on sitting and interacting with complete strangers! I really loved this concept! They have a great breakfast and lunch menu, and I was drawn to their vegetarian side. I like ordering vegetarian sandwiches because I feel that the sandwiches are the most unique, creative and have the most variety of ingredients. The trick to create that perfect sandwich (restaurant permitting) is to customize, maybe add my own choice of meat to a vegetarian sandwich. When I was there, I ordered a grilled avocado melt. The melt was served on grilled pumpernickel with avocado, tomato, provolone, lettuce, red onion, and my addition of smoked turkey, with a garlic mayo spread- all grilled of course!
Up close shot:
Contrary to common belief, Detroit is a city on the rebound with a recent infusion of great restaurants just like Russell Street Deli. It’s full of life and booming restaurants and shops. Russell Street Deli is located right in the middle of the Detroit Eastern Market, where venders come from all over the state of Michigan to sell their homegrown crops and produce from vegetables to meats, and even seasonal goods such as Christmas trees, holly, etc. There are speciality stores for wines, cheese, seafood, nuts, spices and so much! If you are ever in the area, I would highly suggest stopping by on a Saturday (be sure to get there early)!