Tomato Basil Roasted Pepper Vegan Panini

Two things there are never enough of: hours in the day - and counter space in the kitchen.

Sorry waffle iron, ice cream machine and panini press, you guys are banned to the back of the cabinet shelf until I have use for you. My Vitamix, Nespresso, juicer and humble toaster own permanent spots. Lucky plug-ins. So when I crave a freshly grilled panini - I have to lug out my shiny, wide-bodied press. Not really fair when you take a look at what this simple machine (just plug and press!) can do to a few slices of bread and some sandwich toppings.

This vegan Tomato Basil Pepperjack Roasted Pepper Panini is one of my go-to favorites when I'm craving something in the "grilled cheese" family. It never disappoints...

Sometimes I will add just a few shreds of Daiya cheese (or even skip it altogether) and other times I'll pretty much empty however much is currently left in the bag (vegan cheese bonanza) - a downpour of silky vegan cheese shreds over top my Earth Balance slathered bread. Splurge.

But besides the grilled cheese euphoria that occurs based on my many childhood memories of the dish - I mostly love this panini for the combination of aromatic flavors - sweet basil, bold and juicy red roasted bell peppers - the kind you have to pry out of a jar and slice into thin shiny ribbons - bright tomato swimming with garden-fresh seeds, plenty of fine black pepper - maybe some harissa for extra spiciness - and sometimes some spinach stuffed in there too.

Pair this panini with a warm bowl of tomato or veggie soup for a meal to cheer up any average or gloomy day... Recipe for my roasted tomato soup..

Maybe some refreshing green juice too.. (recipe idea: green bell pepper + green apple + lemon + ginger + cucumber)

Vegan Tomato Basil Pepperjack Roasted Pepper Panini
makes one sandwich

2 slices sourdough bread (or multigrain)
2 tsp vegan buttery spread – spread on the outside layer of each slice of bread
5 thin slices tomato (1 small tomato)
handful fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup Daiya pepperjack cheese (or less, or more)
a few thin slices roasted red or yellow pepper (from a jar)
fine black pepper to taste
1 cup baby spinach - wilts down during grilling (optional - included in nutrition calculation)

optional: onion, harissa, squirt of lemon juice, sprouts, other veggies..

Nutritional Info from caloriecount.com - estimate per sandwich as shown above:

Calories: 377, Fat: 14g, Protein: 10g, Carbs: 49g, Iron: 20% Calcium: 7%, Vita A: 90%, VitaC: 147% Fiber: 5g

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