You should never underestimate the power of the eggplant. Not unlike myself, with a little love and attention this spongy, bitter nightshade transforms into a glorious, succulent, and dare I say, meaty dish. It goes in everything: dips, salads, pasta, casseroles, or my personal favorite, the king of convenience – sandwiches.
Being vegan, vegetarian, or even just hungry isn’t a hardship when you’ve got savory eggplant loaded with hummus, sweet basil, and roasted red peppers. Ready to level-up? Grill it. Press it, smash it, heat it and don’t stop until this baby is a golden, crusty masterpiece that has your tastebuds screaming “get on me.”
This panini is simple, elegant, delicious, and the best part is you don’t even need a fork; just two hands and an appetite for awesome.
2 ciabatta rolls
2-3 1/2” eggplant slices
4 fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp. prepared hummus
1 roasted red pepper, halved
Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium/medium-high heat.
Brush each side of your eggplant slices with some olive oil using a basting brush or clean hands, and transfer to the hot skillet.
Cook each side of the eggplant about 5 minutes, until they’re golden brown and soft but not mushy.
Meanwhile, slice ciabatta rolls in half and spread 1 Tbsp. of hummus on the top of each.
Next, layer 1 large or 2 small fresh basil leaves, followed by 1/2 of a whole roasted red pepper (mine were from a jar) and cooked eggplant slices.
Top with the other half of the ciabatta roll and either brush each side with more olive oil and return to your hot pan (pressing with another pan weighed with whatever heavy item you have in your kitchen, usually cans) or transfer to panini press.
Cook 3 mins on each side if using the homemade press method, or 4 minutes on a panini press set to medium heat.
Serving suggestion: Hot, with copious amounts of vegetables.
And a side of dog. (Or a dog by your side!)