Southwestern Cheese Panini

Southwestern Cheese Panini

19 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2007

Lots of colorful vegetables and salsa make this cheesy panini prettier than any grilled cheese you've ever seen. The small amount of Cheddar cheese in this sandwich goes a long way because it is shredded and sharp. Serve with a mixed salad and you've got a delightful lunch or light supper. If you happen to have a panini maker, go ahead and skip Step 3 and grill the panini according to the manufacturer's directions.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup prepared salsa
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeño pepper, (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Have four 15-ounce cans and a medium skillet (not nonstick) ready by the stove.
  2. Combine Cheddar, zucchini, carrot, onion, salsa and jalapeno (if using) in a medium bowl. Divide among 4 slices of bread and top with the remaining bread.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 panini in the pan. Place the medium skillet on top of the panini, then weigh it down with the cans. Cook the panini until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, flip the panini, replace the top skillet and cans, and cook until the second side is golden, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with another 1 teaspoon oil and the remaining panini.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 sandwich
  • Per serving: 331 calories; 14 g fat(5 g sat); 5 g fiber; 37 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 12 mcg folate; 30 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 4 g added sugars; 2,737 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C; 299 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 577 mg sodium; 181 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (55% daily value), Calcium (30% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 1½ vegetable, 1 high fat meat

Reviews 19

December 01, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Surprisingly good! I was just a bit skeptical about this sandwich--I thought that the shredded zucchini, carrots, and chopped onions might be too bland and raw tasting. I was wrong. This is a really tasty, unique blend of ingredients; the sandwiches were extremely easy to make; and both my husband and I enjoyed them very much. Pros: Fast, easy, and tasty
June 02, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Yummy! Versatile. Such a yummy and quick meal. Didn't have time to pickle our jalepeno so we just used 1/4-1/2 finely chopped fresh one and it worked great. Spicy and delicious! Can't wait to make again and mix up the veggie choices!
May 16, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
So quick and easy! Yum! I love this sandwich! Very easy and used ingredients I had in the house. My variation was to use 1 ounce of Chedddar Jack, 2 TBS of hormel bacon bits, and 1/8 of cup of salsa. Grilled it on whole wheat, whole grain bread. My calorie count worked out to be 289 for the sandwich. Will definitely make this again! Pros: Tasty, Filling and easy!
October 08, 2012
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By: Estate Girl
This sandwich is fabulous I love this fresh tasting sandwich. I use homemade salsa and pickled jalapeno, Cabot 75 percent redused fat cheddar and some Healthy Life bead at only 35 calories per slice. I enjoy two sandwiches for very few calories and a lot of great taste. I grated my zucchini in the small holes of a grater. If you have the time pat dry the zucchini on paper towels but If not, it will not be the end of the sandwich. Pros: Tasty, inexpensive, healthy. Cons: None
July 19, 2012
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By: leah_tran
Will without a doubt make it regularly For time I purchased some salsa from a local Mexican restaurant. This made all the difference. I didn't even need cheese or Jalepeno as the spiciness from the salsa was terrific and the vegetables and mmmmmm Pros: Great Taste Cons: Nothing but goodness
June 27, 2012
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By: Erin McCormick
Delicious & Quick! These fancy paninis have become a staple in our house. We've used summer squash instead of zucchini and added in tomatoes/roasted garlic/avocado, you name it. The combination of salsa, cheddar and veggies is really good and healthy. I would make sure to get a lot of the liquid out of your veggies after grating them, or else your bread will get soggy. So quick and easy! Kids will love them too. Pros: Few ingredients, flavorful, quick, easy Cons: Can get soggy
June 22, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Very tasty, quick, cheap, easy Nice recipe. Instead of shredding I either peeled or thinly cut the vegetables, but that's because I don't have anything good to shred them with! Didn't ruin the integrity of the sandwich though. The salsa part makes this sandwich nicely customizable, and gives it interesting flavor. I'd make this again.
January 30, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
So delish! These are the perfect quick dinner. They're flavorful and filling without having many ingredients in them. The cheese goes a long way and the jalapenos added a nice hit of spiciness. Will definitely be adding these to my weekly rotation! Pros: Quick, easy, filling
January 11, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Quick, healthy and tasty!!! Made these for lunch and my kids even loved them! We also spread a small amount of guacamole on one side fo the bread. Didn't have issues with soggy bread because I used a quick spray of canola oil and then made sure the pan was hot before cooking. Pros: Healthy and tasty
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