Chicken Pesto Panini on the Blackstone

Looking to step up your sandwich game? A Chicken Pesto Panini made on a Blackstone Griddle is a game-changer. The combination of tender chicken, rich pesto, and melted mozzarella pressed between crispy sourdough bread offers a flavor explosion in every bite. Cooking on the Blackstone Griddle ensures your panini gets a perfect sear, enhancing the natural flavors of the ingredients.

You start by marinating chicken with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, then searing it on the Blackstone Griddle until it’s perfectly cooked. Pair this with a generous spread of pesto sauce on sourdough bread, add some mozzarella cheese, and you have a mouth-watering meal ready in minutes. Using the griddle not only adds convenience but also elevates the taste and texture of the panini.

Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together or just need a quick dinner, this Chicken Pesto Panini recipe is versatile and foolproof. The Blackstone Griddle makes it easy to achieve that delightful crust, while the fresh ingredients blend seamlessly to create a satisfying sandwich you’ll want to make again and again.

Building the Perfect Chicken Pesto Panini

Creating a delicious Chicken Pesto Panini requires selecting fresh ingredients, making a scrumptious pesto sauce, and cooking the sandwich to perfection. Following these steps will ensure a flavorful result.

Ingredient Selection and Prep

Start with fresh chicken breasts, mozzarella cheese, and ciabatta or sourdough bread. Slice the chicken into pieces about ½-inch thick.

Prepare your veggies: slice tomatoes and wash spinach leaves.

For the best taste, use fresh mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. Opt for high-quality olive oil and fresh basil.

Crafting the Pesto

In a food processor, blend 2 cups of fresh basil leaves with ½ cup of olive oil.

Add ⅓ cup of pine nuts, 2 cloves of garlic, and ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese.

Finish by seasoning with salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice.

This homemade pesto will add a burst of flavor unmatched by store-bought alternatives.

Assembling the Panini

Spread a generous layer of pesto on the inside of each bread slice.

Layer slices of chicken breast, fresh mozzarella cheese, and sliced tomatoes.

Add a few spinach leaves for extra crunch.

Place the top slice on and press lightly to hold everything together.

Cooking Instructions

Preheat your Blackstone Griddle to medium-high heat.

Brush a bit of olive oil on the griddle surface.

Place the panini on the griddle and press down with a grill press or another heavy object.

Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted, ensuring the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

By following these steps, your Chicken Pesto Panini will turn out flavorful and delicious every time.

Additional Tips and Variations

A sizzling chicken pesto panini cooks on the hot blackstone griddle, with steam rising and the aroma of fresh basil and melted cheese filling the air

When making a Chicken Pesto Panini on a Blackstone griddle, consider these tips and variations. These will help you adapt the recipe to your dietary preferences and cooking methods, as well as offer serving and storage suggestions.

Healthy Adaptations

To make your Chicken Pesto Panini healthier, opt for whole wheat bread instead of sourdough or ciabatta. Whole wheat bread increases dietary fiber and decreases sodium and fat.

Use Lean Chicken: Substitute chicken thighs with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This reduces calories and fat while increasing protein content.

Reduced-Fat Pesto: Purchase or make a low-fat version of pesto. This can lower the overall calories and fat in your sandwich.

Add Greens: Incorporate spinach or arugula. Both are rich in vitamins A and C and boost fiber content.

Alternate Cooking Methods

If you don’t have a Blackstone griddle, there are other ways to prepare your Pesto Chicken Panini.

Panini Maker: This is a straightforward substitute. Preheat the panini maker and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

George Foreman Grill: Another great alternative, the George Foreman Grill also helps reduce fat by draining excess oil. Follow the same cooking instructions.

Oven Grilling: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Use an oven-safe pan or a baking sheet to cook your sandwich. Cook until the chicken hits the same internal temperature.

Skillet: You can also use a stovetop skillet. Make sure to press the sandwich with another heavy pan or a press.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Serve your Chicken Pesto Panini with light, complementary side dishes to balance flavors and nutrients.

Salads: A fresh salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, and onions pairs well. This adds vitamins A and C to your meal.

Roasted Vegetables: Try roasting vegetables like bell peppers and zucchini. These are rich in fiber and vitamins.

Soups: A side of tomato or basil soup can be a great addition. The flavors go well together and make a comforting meal.

Healthy Chips: Baked or air-fried vegetable chips provide a crunchy side without extra fat or calories.

Storage and Reheating

Proper storage and reheating will help maintain the quality and safety of your Chicken Pesto Panini.

Storage: Store your panini in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Reheating Options:

  1. Oven: Preheat to 350°F. Wrap the panini in foil to retain moisture and heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Skillet: Heat a skillet to medium and reheat your sandwich for about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  3. Microwave: While not ideal, you can microwave it for 1-2 minutes. This may make the bread soggy.

Following these tips will help you enjoy delicious and versatile Chicken Pesto Panini meals.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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