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Spinach, Basil, and Feta Panini (Wave 1)

Drawing half of its ingredients from the list of Sonoma Power Foods, this grilled Italian sandwich packs a nutritional punch that makes for a satisfying and delicious lunch. The spinach alone is rich in carotenoids, folate, vitamin K, and magnesium.

Start to Finish: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
4 6-inch whole-wheat hoagie rolls, split; 8 slices whole-wheat bread; or 2 whole-wheat pita bread rounds halved crosswise and split horizontally
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
8 thin tomato slices (1 medium tomato)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
Nonstick olive oil cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Place hoagie roll bottoms or 4 of the bread slices or 4 pita pieces on a work surface; divide half of the spinach leaves among them. Top spinach with tomato and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Add red onion slices and basil. Top with feta and remaining spinach. Top with hoagie roll tops, remaining bread slices, or pita pieces. Press down firmly.
  2. Lightly coat an unheated Panini griddle, covered indoor electric grill, or large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat griddle, grill, or skillet over medium heat or heat according to manufacturer’s directions. Add sandwiches, in batches if necessary.
  3. If using griddle or grill, close lid and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until bread is toasted.
  4. If using skillet, place a heavy plate on top of sandwiches. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bottoms are toasted. Carefully remove place, which may be hot. Turn sandwiches and top with the plate. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until bread is toasted.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 315 calories, 12 g protein, 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 53 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 10 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 57 weighted glycemic index

Variation

  • Replace feta cheese with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

Portabello, Mozzarella, and Pesto Panini
Spread each sandwich bread with 2 tablespoons pesto. Top with 1 roasted portabello mushroom, 2 slices tomato, 2 slices fresh mozzarella, and 2 ounces Balsamic Red Onions. Or use leftover grilled vegetables in place of portabellos.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 358 calories, 22 g protein, 25 g total fat (10 g saturated fat), 20 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 40 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 21 weighted glycemic index

Apple, Ham, and Swiss Cheese Panini
Spread each sandwich bread with 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard. Top with 2 slices of Black Forest ham (2 ounces per sandwich); 2 slices of a Granny Smith apple, cored; and 2 slices of Swiss or Gruyère cheese.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 425 calories, 22 g protein, 11 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 62 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 30 mg cholesterol, 900 mg sodium, 63 weighted glycemic index

Cuban Sandwich
Spread each sandwich bread with 1 teaspoon yellow mustard. Top with 1 1/2 ounces leftover roast pork tenderloin, sliced thin, and 1/2 ounce. Black Forest ham or sliced deli ham. Top with thin slices of Swiss cheese and julienne pickles.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 380 calories, 24 g protein, 11 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 49 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 40 mg cholesterol, 700 mg sodium, 72 weighted glycemic index

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