Something miraculous happened last night. My husband cooked for us on his day off after like 3 weeks. He was supposed to make Chole which are Indian Chickpeas in a Tomato Gravy, however he ended up making what I call... Hubby's Kale Chane aur Chole which translates to Hubby's Black Beans & Chickpeas. I thought I was the chef around the house, but surprisingly his dish was really good. Of course, I thanked him for cooking a great meal and hopefully that positive reinforcement will encourage him to cook for me once a week, here is to hoping! 🙂
And now let's talk ITALIAN! Today I bring you Vegetarian Bell Pepper Pesto Panini. My inspiration for this deliciously amazing mind-blowing sandwich comes from a cute little cafe in Montreal named Claude Postel situated diagonally across the Notre Dame Cathedral. I was in Montreal last in 2004 and I've been meaning to make this sandwich for the past 7 years, I KNOW, talk about procrastination.
While going thru my refrigerator today I found some basil I recently purchased and instantly thought of making pesto. Pesto reminded me of that amazing sandwich at Claude Postel. Although I clearly remember there being red & green bell peppers, pesto, and cheese in the sandwich, I am not sure what else was in it. I had no luck locating an online menu for this incredible cafe. So I did the next best thing and added sliced tomatoes to this sandwich, I mean you really can't go wrong with sliced tomatoes, cheese, and pesto.
Just for this sandwich alone, I hope my husband and I can make a trip to Montreal this year. Montreal is truly one of the most beautiful cities in all of North America. The old cobblestone streets and French speaking city literally makes you feel as though you are walking the charming streets of Paris. The crazy part is I thought Montreal was slightly better than Paris, I know the Parisians will hate me. But from what I've heard Quebec City is even nicer than Montreal. Can it possibly be? So to honor the panini I once enjoyed at Claude Postel in Montreal, I named my panini version, "The Montreal Panini."
NUTRITION: Bell Peppers are a great source of Vitamins A, B6, and C. Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A and C. Cheese is a good source of Calcium and Protein. Whole Wheat Bread is a great source of Fiber and Protein. Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K and a very good source of Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin A. Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Lemon is an excellent source of Vitamin C.
INGREDIENTS (makes 5-6 panini sandwiches):
- Vegan Basil Pesto - double this recipe!
- Plum Tomatoes - 2 (sliced horizontally)
- Red Bell Pepper - 1 (sliced vertically)
- Green Bell Pepper - 1 (sliced vertically)
- Whole Wheat Bread - 2 slices at a time
- Cheese (combination of Mozzarella and Parmesan) - small handfuls at a time
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - sprinkle on top (optional)
1. Make the pesto first ---> Vegan Basil Pesto. Make sure you double this recipe.
2. Get your vegetables.
3. Slice your vegetables... red pepper, green pepper, and tomatoes.
4. Take 2 slices of bread.
5. Spread pesto - generously!
6. Place 1 slice of bread on the Cuisinart Griddler Panini Press and top with cheese.
7. Top with green bell peppers.
8. Top with red bell peppers.
9. Top with tomatoes.
10. At this point sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes for some added kick. I forgot to take a picture.
11. Top with more cheese.
12. Top with the 2nd slice of bread.
13. Press the panini maker down and let it go to work until the green light comes on.
14. This is what you should have.
15. Slice into half... the aroma of pesto and cheese smells insanely delicious. I sat there eating my sandwich reminiscing about the beautiful city of Montreal! 🙂
TELL ME: What food have you tried to re-create from a past trip? Share the restaurant and city with us!