This vegetarian panini recipe--filled with layers of sautéed kale, garden-fresh tomatoes and melted cheese--makes for an extra-special grilled cheese sandwich. For the best flavor, we like the complexity of aged Gruyère or fontina, but you can use any cheese you have on hand.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2014


Recipe Summary

45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vinegar and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale, water and salt (the pan will be full). Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • To prepare panini: Preheat panini maker to high. Coat one side of each slice of bread with cooking spray. With the sprayed side down, spread the kale mixture on 4 slices of bread (about 1/2 cup per sandwich). Top each with 1/4 cup cheese and 2 slices tomato. Top with the remaining bread, sprayed-side up. Press in the panini maker until crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare filling up to 2 days ahead; refrigerate until ready to use.

Equipment: Panini maker (or see Tip)

To make panini on the stovetop, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 sandwiches in the pan. Place a medium skillet on top and add four 15-ounce cans to weight it down. Cook the sandwiches, turning once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Nutrition Facts

367 calories; protein 18.5g 37% DV; carbohydrates 36.1g 12% DV; exchange other carbs 2.5; dietary fiber 6.6g 26% DV; sugars 8.3g; fat 16.8g 26% DV; saturated fat 6.3g 32% DV; cholesterol 29.7mg 10% DV; vitamin a iu 3709.3IU 74% DV; vitamin c 44.2mg 74% DV; folate 103.8mcg 26% DV; calcium 399.1mg 40% DV; iron 2.3mg 13% DV; magnesium 81.6mg 29% DV; potassium 441.2mg 12% DV; sodium 600.8mg 24% DV; thiamin 0.3mg 25% DV; added sugar 4g.

Reviews (2)

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2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
Super Easy Super Yummy! Made this for a weekend lunch over a holiday weekend when we really needed something light and simple. Easy to assemble and used up some kale which had seen better days. Great way to make something gourmet without the hard work! Pros: easy vegetarian healthy simple Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Great use for Kale Made this with Kale from our CSA box. I will make this again but might use a firmer tomato next time. Definitely a good thing to do with kale. Used a counter-top grill instead of panini press. Pros: Tastes great Cons: Tomato was a tad soggy Read More