Authentic Recipes from the Kitchens of Shriya, Nithu & Arthi!

Tomato and Mozzarella Panini (Panera Style)

Tomato Mozzarella Sandwich is one of my favorite sandwiches in the Panera Bread (a chain of bakery-cafe in the U.S. and Canada). It is also a delicious choice of sandwich for vegetarians. I am obsessed with Panera’s bread loafs specially the Ciabatta and Tomato Basil Bread. We buy it at least once in a month and try their sandwiches at home.

This sandwich is a copycat recipe of Panera’s Tomato Mozzarella Panini. I bought the bread from Panera but you can use any thick slices of bread. My other favorite breads for making panini are Italian bread and sour bread.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • Ciabatta bread – one big loaf (or 4 sandwich bread)
  • Mozzarella cheese – 4 slices
  • Fresh basil leaves – 8
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for brushing

For Sun-dried Tomato Pesto:

  • Sun dried tomatoes – 1/3 cup (packed in oil)
  • Parmesan cheese – 1/4 cup
  • Canola oil – 2 tsp
  • Olive oil – 1 tsp
  • Garlic pod – 1
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Roasted Tomatoes:

  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Canola oil – 2 tsp
  • Garlic pod – 1
  • Dried Italian herbs – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Italian herb mix contains: oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage. Can substitute it with the available herbs from the list.

Method of Preparation:

Preparation of Pesto:

Since I didn’t have sun dried tomatoes packed in oil I used the dried ones (4 to 5). In that case rehydrate the tomatoes by adding it in 1/2 cup of warm water for 15-20 minutes.

Strain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Grind it along with the rest of the ingredients given under “Sun-dried Tomato Pesto”. Add one or two tsp of the reserved liquid and grind it to a paste.

I prefer the sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. You can just grind all the ingredients to a fine paste.

Preparation of Roasted tomatoes:

Cut the tomato into thick slices. Two to three slices for each sandwich.

Heat a pan with oil, gently roast the tomatoes with finely chopped garlic. Sprinkle salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. When it starts sizzling turn the tomatoes and add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning on the other side. Remove from pan and transfer it to a plate.

Preparation of the Sandwich:

Chiffonade the basil leaves. Chiffonade is a knife technique used for cutting leafy vegetables into thin strips or ribbons. Roll all the basil leaves together and thinly slice it into ribbons.

Preheat the grill.

Cut the loaf into 4 equal parts. Slice each bread it into half. Spread a teaspoon the pesto on the bottom half of each bread. Place roasted tomatoes on each slice and sprinkle the basil leaves.

Top it with one slice of mozzarella cheese and cover it with the top half of the ciabatta bread. Brush it with olive oil and grill the sandwiches in a panini grill until cheese melts and fine grill marks are formed.

Grill each sandwich for 3 minutes. Make sure the temperature is right for making delicious golden sandwiches.

You can also add other vegetables such as sauted mushrooms, onions and zuchini if you like. Or just enjoy the regular Panera style sandwich.

One Comment

  1. Who needs to go to Panera? This is perfection!