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. 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… 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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:)

  4. 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!

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