Roasted Veggie Panini with Creamy Chipotle-Lime Dressing

I promise, I’m almost done with talking about food and pregnancy. Literally–I am in the final weeks and while Sara is gone AGAIN this week (this time to New York) for work-related stuff, I’m at home thinking about my starving-yet-nothing-sounds-good-and-I-write-a-food-blog conundrum and she’s off in my favorite city in the world having fun working super hard at the Book Expo America without me. If you want to stop by and see her (and have her sign a cookbook or two), here’s her info:

Javits Center (655 West 34th Street, New York, N.Y.)

Tuesday, June 5
BEA Autographing Area: 11:30-12:00 pm
Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain Booth Autographing: 12:30-2:00 pm

Wednesday, June 6
Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain Booth: 10:30-11:30 am

And so, all alone and large and swollen and hot, I wander the grocery store, picking up random things that have the potential to sound good. And don’t require a lot of time or dishes because neither one of those things are super interesting to me at the moment. Well, dishes are never super interesting, but they’re especially un-interesting right now.

And so we eat sandwiches. Lots of sandwiches. I also fed my kids Ramen for lunch the other day and you would have thought I wrote them each a check for $1 million.

Remember our Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing? The dressing legends are made of? Yeah, in a sudden 5-minute window of “Wow, that sounds good!”, I decided I wanted to make a veggie panini with my random grocery store pickings and that dressing as a sandwich spread. But, of course, I didn’t have the tomatillo salsa. I did, however, have a can of chipotle chilies and I had an idea that was either brilliant or blasphemous. Maybe a little of both. It was awesome.

Everything else stays the same (except buttermilk instead of regular milk–that’s another random grocery store find that sounded delicious)–mayo, cilantro, garlic, a packet of ranch dressing, and the juice of one lime. And then, instead of the tomatillo salsa, I used the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilies.

It was spicy, but not overwhelmingly so; that said, if you can find a can of adobo sauce without the chilies, the sauce won’t be nearly as spicy, so if you like the chipotle flavor without the heat, you could give that a shot.

Place the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, garlic cloves, and ranch in a blender.

Blend until smooth. Add a handful (about 1/2 cup) of roughly chopped cilantro…

and pulse until the desired texture is reached (some people prefer the cilantro almost completely blended and others like some leafiness…totally your call).

Transfer the dressing to a serving container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

You can whip up the dressing a few days ahead of time.

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Wash 2 portobello mushroom caps, 1/2 a pound of asparagus, and a small red onion.

Slice the mushrooms into 1/2″ slices, snap off the tough ends of the asparagus, and slice the onion. Place on the baking sheet…

Drizzle the veggies with 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine (you may need a little more oil on the mushrooms because they tend to soak it up). Roast for 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender (keep an eye on the asparagus because it’s the most temperamental of all the vegetables; when it’s tender-crisp, pull out the whole pan).

While the veggies are roasting, slice 4 ciabatta or focaccia rolls in half lengthise. Spread each side with the Chipotle-Lime Dressing. On the bottom half, place a slice of Provolone or pepper jack (if you want the spice). Spread the top half with guacamole and then top it with another slice of cheese. Place a few slices of roasted red bell pepper on each bottom half and then, when the veggies are done roasting, divide them evenly among the sandwich rolls.

Place the top on each sandwich…
Cook each sandwich in a panini press. If you don’t have a panini press, no worries–check out these awesome tips from Kathy at Panini Happy. When the sandwiches are nice and crispy, let them stand for 2-3 minutes and then slice the sandwiches and then serve immediately. This makes 4 large sandwiches and you will think, “I’m going to eat three bites of this half sandwich and then go lay on the couch like a beached sea creature,” and, instead, eat a whole sandwich because it’s the first thing that has tasted good in the last week. Not that I’m speaking from any kind of firsthand experience.

This post is sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch.



  1. This sounds great! I can totally relate to your “I’m pregnant and nothing sounds good”-ness. I’m only 8 weeks into mine, and I’m not sick or anything, but nothing sounds very good except Olive Garden fettucini. Too bad I can’t afford that every night for the next 7 months!

  2. I completely understand…Nothing has sounded good in the last 4 weeks due to pregnancy. Luckily I have not had that problem at the end of my pregnancies! I wish you could come and cook for me:) Then I could eat this with out doing all the work!! Ha ha:)

  3. You crack me up! I’m in the “everything makes me gag” part of pregnancy (although by every pregnancy calendar and dr. I should be well over it. Ya, right.) and I look longingly at these recipes! I can’t wait until eating and cooking is an exciting thing to do again. I won’t tell you how many boxes of dry Quaker Oatmeal Squares I’ve eaten…so your recipes WILL be marvelous, I just know it. 🙂 Good luck with child birth!

  4. You’re killing me smalls! None of us would judge you if you drove through In-n-Out Burger, got something to eat, and just posted a pic of the leftovers… I’m tired just reading this post! Good for you-and good luck during the last bit of pregnancy.

    1. Oh, I promise, if In-n-Out sounded good (and we had one here), I’d totally be there. Aside from morning sickness, I’ve never lost my appetite, well, EVER before and it’s a very new sensation for me, hahaha! It *has* kept me from gaining 92 pounds, though, which I guess is a bonus… 🙂

  5. That looks sooo good right now. Problem is, I’m also huge and pregnant and hot and lazy and, sadly, this looks like too much work to me right now. Man…that is sad! I’ll pin this and make it when I’m not so pregnant any more.

    1. You would be happy with either, Blendtec has pre programmed buttons for different things you are making, like sauces, smoothies, whole fruit drinks, frozen yogurt. You can’t go wrong either way. I like that Blendtec is locally owned, so if there is a problem I know where to go. I also like supporting local companies. Love mine, I use it everyday at least, sometimes more than once 🙂

  6. I just found your blog and am SUPER excited to be following along. I am always looking for good new recipes. This one looks delicious!
    Alesha <3

  7. Looks so good! I’ve made the cilantro ranch dressing like, close to 1 million times at my house, I swear I have dreams about it at night sometimes. So delish!! And of course it’s gotta make such a yummy sandwich spread, what a good idea. 🙂

  8. My all-time favorite panini is your italian marinated grilled chicken vegetable skewers made panini version with the leftovers. I eat in all summer long … Simply amazing!!! We always double the recipe for leftover panini ingredients for the week. Considering how awesome that one is … I’m going to have to try this one ASAP. thank you for sharing

  9. I am looking for a panini press….which one do you use/like/recommend?

    Thanks…I love your cookbook and website!

  10. You bring back memories of my son’s birth. That made my day since he died a year ago. I love to have happy thoughts of him as a baby and how sweet he was and how much I could love him. Thank you for this posting today.

    Heartburn! and so things with ginger and Rice Chex seemed to be about all I could stand for the month before his birth. I remember going with my husband to a very fancy restaurant in Denver…and the chicken came in a green pesto sauce and it sent me to the ladies room!

    Oh, before I forget…with your pannini I am going to serve a smoothie….3 cups blueberries, 2 small limes peeled, 1 cup pomegranate juice, 1 cup of REAl coconut water–in the bottle and it says TASTE Nirvana on the label that is green (chilled), 2 cups ice cubes and agave nectar to taste. We start out slow on our blender–the other brand–and then slowly increase to high and blend for a minute. If you want you can strain this! but we don’t cuz we are old and need the fiber.

  11. This looks divine. I do not have the pregnancy excuse but often get that “nothing sounds good” feeling when I am over-hungry. I need to add this sandwich to my and my husband’s line-up of Friday favourites for when we eat after the kids go to bed 😛

  12. Just served this to my carnivorous (and skeptical) husband. He looked very surprised and said, “Wow, this is really good!” Score! I loved it, too. We had it with corn on the cob and it was a delicious meal! Thanks!

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