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Caprese Panini – Vegan

5 from 2 votes

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Marry a crusty, chewy, herb-topped ciabatta roll with a tangy, smooth, vegan, mozzarella sauce, balanced out with a juicy sweet tomato and aromatic fresh basil; and you’ve got a culinary match made in vegan food heaven with this Vegan Caprese Panini! caprese panini held in hand and on white plate with green salad

Oh, how I love to sink my teeth into thick layers of crusty bread with a warm gooey flavorful filling spilling out! Messy? Probably…Delicious? Definitely!

After topping a pizza with my yummy Vegan Cashew Mozzarella Cheese Sauce,  I was playing around with different ways to use up the rest of the tangy sauce, spied some extra tomatoes on my counter along with the basil and knew I’d be making a Caprese panini. 

Looking for another tasty vegan sandwich, try my:

What is a panini?

Isn’t a panini just a grilled sandwich? Well…kind of…

A panini is technically just a small Italian bread roll. We’ve come to know a panini as being a grilled sandwich gently pressed and cooked in a panini maker (affiliate link). 

This panini is made special with a blend of herbs in light flavored oil brushed over a crusty Italian roll before grilling for extra flavor. I use half a recipe for my Vegan Cashew Mozzarella. If you want to see the full recipe, click here. 

The sandwich is gently pressed – (not too hard or the cheese sauce will squeeze out!) in a panini maker and grilled just until the bread is crusty and toasted and the filling is slightly warmed. This recipe makes enough for four people and doesn’t really keep well so be sure to adjust the ingredients if you are only making it for fewer.

Pin now to save for later:two halves of caprese panini sandwiches held in hand with text overaly

To make this Vegan Caprese Panini you will need:

(Please scroll to find a handy printable recipe card below with complete instructions and ingredient amounts.)

For the herbed oil:

ingredients for infused oil including onion and garlic powders, italian seasoning, olive oil, sea salt and sugar

  • light flavored oil such as avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian seasoning 
  • garlic and onion powders
  • salt
  • sugar

For the cashew mozzarella sauce:

Ingredients for mozzarella cheese sauce including raw cashews, nutritional yeast, tapioca flour, garlic and onion powders and lemon juice.
Not pictured is white miso paste which is optional but really gives this cheese spread and tangy flavor.

For the sandwich:

three types of strong crusty bread appropriate for paninis included ciabatta and telera rolls

  • Ciabatta or similar Italian flat rolls
  • roma tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves

Making the herb-infused oil:

Use a light tasting oil. I know a lot of vegan cooks like to use coconut oil. In this case, it really will be too flavorful. I have made this sandwich using melted vegan butter. Again, I feel it is too flavorful. Just use a light oil such as a light tasting olive oil or avocado oil.

I like to make the flavored oil ahead of time so the dried herbs have a chance to soften and the flavors infuse well. 

Making the Cashew Mozzarella Sauce:

If you are new to using cashews in vegan sauces, please see the original post for Vegan Cashew Mozzarella.

You will need to soak and drain the raw cashews. Use hot water for soaking the cashews. Drain the used water and use fresh water for blending. Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

cashew cheese cooking with some lumps on wooden spoon
This sauce is a little lumpy still. Keep stirring and cooking.

Transfer to a medium-sized saucepan and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. It will start to get bubbly and thick. You will start to see some lumps form.

Give it another minute stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan and you will notice that the lumps “disappear” – probably because it’s all one big lump now! But the cashew cheese mixture will be very smooth now and look almost satin-like. Set it aside. 

Putting the panini sandwich together:

Slice the tomatoes, pluck the basil leaves, and preheat your panini maker.

If your panini rolls aren’t already sliced, carefully slice and spread the oil on the outside crusty top and bottom of each piece. 

brushing infused olive oil on ciabatta bread with the fixings for caprese panini including tomato, basil , infused oil, and vegan mozzarella

Spread a layer of the prepared cashew mozzarella on the side of each roll. Add the tomato slices and basil leaves and put each sandwich together.

Cooking one or two sandwiches at a time (depending on the size of your grill), gently press the lid of the panini maker down. Don’t latch or the fillings will squish out. 

two caprese paninis on panini grill ready to be cooked

Watch carefully to make sure your sandwich doesn’t overcook. My panini maker will cook the sandwich in under five minutes. Your panini sandwich will be lightly golden brown and you will be able to see the panini marks from the grill.

Serve your sandwich with a nice bowl of tomato soup or fresh green salad.

caprese panini on white plate with green salad

And  now for the recipe

I hope you enjoy the recipe, but don’t say good-bye! Sign-up here for recipe tips and kitchen wisdom. I also invite you to email me with any questions you have. When you become a part of the Veggie Fun Kitchen Community, you’ll learn to cook great tasting recipes the whole family will enjoy! (No spam here! I will never share your email, and you can unsubscribe whenever you want!)

caprese panini on white plate with green salad

Caprese Panini - Vegan

Marry a crusty, chewy, herb-topped ciabatta roll with a tangy, smooth, vegan, mozzarella sauce, balanced out with a juicy sweet tomato and aromatic fresh basil; and you've got a culinary match made in vegan food heaven with this Vegan Caprese Panini!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caprese panini, vegan panini, Vegan sandwich
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 288kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Equipment

  • high-speed blender
  • saucepan
  • panini maker

Ingredients

Herb-Infused Oil

  • 2 Tablespoons oil such as avocado or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Cashew Mozzarella

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • hot water for soaking, drain after soaked
  • 1 cup room temperature for blending
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice bottled is fine
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour

The Panini Sandwich

  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 3 ciabatta rolls

Instructions

Herb-Infused Oil

  • Mix the oil with the herbs, garlic and onion powders, sugar and salt, and set aside. It will be quite thick but will soften as it sits.

Cashew Mozzarella

  • Cover raw cashews with very hot water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water from the cashews and discard the soaking water.
  • Add the soaked cashews and drained cashews to a high-speed blender along with the fresh water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso paste, garlic and onion powders, salt, and tapioca flour.
  • Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes or until creamy and smooth.
  • Pour contents of the blender into a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Heat on medium for about 5-6 minutes stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan. The mixture will first develop lumps and then suddenly will be smooth, thick, and glossy. Set aside.
    cashew cheese fully cooked showing a smooth and glossy finish

The Panini Sandwich

  • Slice the tomatoes and set aside.
  • Pluck the fresh basil leaves from the stems and set aside.
  • Slice the panini rolls and set aside.
  • Brush the infused oil onto the crusty outside of each piece of roll. Keep in mind this will need to cover all 8 halves.
  • Spread a little cashew mozzarella on both sides of each bun.
  • Add tomatoes and fresh basil to make and put the tops onto four sandwiches.
  • Cooking one or two at a time, put on panini maker and gently press the top down. Don't latch.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes or until outside is golden brown and the lines have cooked into the sandwich.

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 529mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 2mg
By on June 15th, 2020

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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