This Grilled Summer Vegetable Panini has all your favorite summer veggies in a crispy, cheesy panini and you don’t even need a panini maker.  Perfect for summer family road trips, picnics and beach days, this vegetarian sandwich comes with an easy and bold flavor booster. It’s a veggie deluxe grilled cheese.

Holding a half of the panini with lots of melted cheese strings

I want to introduce you to my new favorite sandwich spread, sun-dried tomato paste. Sun-dried tomatoes are blended with garlic and fresh basil. It makes the easiest and best sandwich spread inspired by my Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto that also doubles as a pasta sauce.

Grilled summer vegetable panini on a cutting board cut in half

Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite ways to add sweet flavor to salads If you can find the -dried tomatoes in oil with herbs, even better and this works so well for this recipe.

For this Italian-inspired Grilled Summer Vegetable Panini, I like to use meaty eggplant, summer zucchini (courgette) and grilled bell peppers. All are simply seasoned with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Dried basil is also a delicious option.

Can you eat eggplant peel?

I urge you to completely remove the eggplant peel for this recipe. When I’ve made this panini without peeling the eggplant, I find that the peel gets tough and you end up pulling the eggplant of the sandwich when you take a bite. Also, I chop the bell pepper into pieces because the same thing can happen.

3 halves of a Grilled summer vegetable panini from above on a board with a knife and fresh herbs

No Panini Maker, No Problem

You don’t need a panini maker for this sandwich (I don’t have mine anymore). Use your indoor or outdoor grill. If you don’t have either, use a heavy skillet just like you’re making a grilled cheese. Sauté the vegetables in the pan before making the panini.

Bread Options

You can use any bread of your choice, from sliced sourdough to ciabatta.

Yield: 4

Grilled Summer Vegetable Panini

Grilled eggplant, zucchini bell pepper and cheese oozing from the panini

Grilled eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini and cheese with a delicious sun-dried tomato spread.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 8 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons oil from the sun-dried tomatoes (see note)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 8 small/4 large fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices of eggplant, peeled and sliced vertically
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into large pieces
  • 8 slices zucchini/courgette, sliced vertically
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • 8 slices of bread of your choice
  • 8 slices provolone, cheese


  1. Preheat grill on medium.
  2. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, oil, garlic and basil to a blender. Blend until a paste forms, add more oil as needed.
  3. Brush the vegetables with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano on both sides.
  4. Grill the vegetables on both sides until they are tender and browned. Or sauté in a heavy skillet until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Brush 1 side of each slice of bread, turn with the oil side faced down and lay out on a board. Spread an even layer of the sun-dried tomato mix on each slice of bread. Lay 1 slice of cheese on 4 slices of bread. Top each of them with a slice of eggplant, bell pepper and 2 slices of zucchini/courgetti. Top each with a slice of cheese. Take the tops of the bread and place, sun-dried tomato paste down. Brush the tops with olive oil.
  6. Place the sandwiches on the grill and grill (or in the heavy pan) until the cheese starts to melt and they are browned, turn and repeat. Serve immediately.


If you can’t find sun-dried tomatoes in oil, substitute olive oil

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 373Total Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 39mgSodium 964mgCarbohydrates 45gProtein 27g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.