Eggplant panini

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
20 min
10 min
10 min
The quintessential flavors of Italy shine in this crusty, grilled vegetable sandwich. Think of it as a deconstructed eggplant parmesan casserole—ripe tomato, basil, eggplant and lots of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, the authentic parmesan from Parma-Reggio, Italy. Salting the eggplant before cooking draws out excess moisture, which gives it a meaty texture. Serve this with a chopped salad or a mound of lacy coleslaw on the side for an easy summer meal.



1 small

Table salt

¼ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp

Cooking spray

1 spray(s)

Reduced-calorie whole wheat bread

4 slice(s)

Fresh tomato(es)

1 small, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices


6 leaf/leaves

Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 oz


  1. 1. Cut both ends off the eggplant: the stem and the bottom. Peel then slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Sprinkle these with salt and pepper.
  2. 2. Lightly coat a nonstick panini pan or grill pan with cooking spray; set over medium heat 2 minutes. Add eggplant slices and weight them down with the top of the stovetop panini pan or the bottom of a heavy pot. Cook 6 minutes, turning once, or until softened, compressed and lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board.
  3. 3. Lay 2 slices of bread on a clean, dry surface. On each slice, place a quarter of the cheese, half the eggplant, half the basil and half the tomatoes. Top each with the remaining cheese and then a second slice of bread.
  4. 4. Set the grill pan back over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add sandwiches and weight them down with the top of a panini press or the bottom of a heavy pot. Grill 4 minutes, turning once, or until sandwiches are browned and cheese has melted.
  5. Serving size: 1 sandwich.
  6. NOTE: Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano doesn’t work well in panini: The cheese falls out of the bread under the weight of the press. Instead, look for a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano at the supermarket and use a vegetable peeler or a cheese plane to create thin, even strips for the sandwiches.