Since childhood, grilled cheese has been one of my favorite sandwiches.

But these days, I prefer a more grown-up flavor than the American cheese slices my mom used to melt over buttered bread for me.

So I had to try the new recipe I found in Eating Well’s latest issue. It’s got a sophisticated flavor that pairs well with my favorite tomato-basil soup.

And it’s so easy to make, I shared the recipe with my brother who’s always looking for fast vegetarian recipes.

Try it for a fancy lunch without the fuss.


Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 1 panini

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Equipment: Panini maker (or see tip)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

8 cups chopped kale

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

8 slices country bread (¼ inch thick), preferably whole-wheat

Olive oil cooking spray

1 cup shredded Gruyère or fontina cheese

1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices

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 ½ cup per sandwich).

Top each with ¼ cup cheese and 2 tomato slices. Top with the remaining bread, sprayed-side up. Press in the panini maker until crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition per serving: 407 calories; 17 g fat (6 g sat, 6 g mono); 30 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 8 g total sugars; 23 g protein; 8 g fiber; 537 mg sodium; 942 mg potassium.

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.

Source: Eating Well May/June 2014

Contact M. Clare Haefner at or (254) 501-7551.

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