Who hasn’t been to a restaurant recently without panini on the menu? Grilled panini have exploded in popularity in today’s American restaurants and fast-food chains. The combination of fresh ingredients and warm toasted bread make a perfect complement for soup on a cold day, a casual lunch with fries or chips, or a quick, on-the-go meal. Panini are a favorite menu item for many people, promising satisfaction, fresh tastes, and bold flavors.

As expected, the origins of panini (singular: panino) hearken back to Italy, where it was known as a simple sandwich to satisfy workers looking for a quick lunch. Panini, meaning small bread, were originally comprised of a rustic, artisan style bread, stuffed with a cured meat – something that could be prepared beforehand and kept without refrigeration. Panini started popping up more commonly in Italian paninoteche (sandwich shops) during the 1960s. As a hot new trend, big U.S. cities like New York began serving panini in the 1970s and 1980s. As the panini’s popularity grew, the sandwich evolved from a simple loaf stuffed with cured meats, to include vegetables, cheese, and even spreads. Over the years, they discovered that while panini were good as is, toasted panini were even better! The first were originally toasted in fry pans, but electric grilled presses became favored as their prevalence increased. Today we find many varieties of panini that include fresh meats, cured meats, leafy greens, fresh or grilled vegetables, hard and soft cheeses with an equal variety of spreads!

We invite you to explore with us our take on the panino using our newest Zesteez flavor!

We’ve used our Zesteez versatile Mint Cilantro Chutney as an infused tofu marinade. Combined with fresh mozzarella, red onions, firm tofu, and some simple salt and pepper, we’ve created an easy, flavorful sandwich anyone can enjoy! As panini are typically made with firmer breads like ciabatta, focaccia, or a baguette, we have chosen a cracked sourdough for its texture and complementary flavor.

Did you know?

The hallmark of a panini is not the grilling or toasting of the bread. Panini can be served as is, or even with the bread