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Recipe | Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto

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Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto
When I make asparagus, nine times out of ten, I roast it. Steamed asparagus is good and sautéed asparagus is better, but neither compare to roasted asparagus. Just like with cauliflower, roasting mellows the flavor of asparagus. It gets caramelized and tender and just perfect in every way. As soon as I saw spring asparagus at the grocery store, I knew I had to buy it, but other than roasting it, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Asparagus for PaniniRoasted Asparagus Pesto
I played around with different ideas and settled on a sandwich. Roasted asparagus sandwich! You never see asparagus on a sandwich, right?! But then the more I thought about it, I realized there’s probably a reason for that–asparagus would be a little bit unwieldy on a sandwich. So I decided to make an asparagus pesto to spread onto the sandwich and I topped that with roasted shiitake mushrooms and Fontina cheese.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Believe it or not, I grilled this on my Griddler, but I can never get nice grill marks on my panini, no matter how long I let it sit on there. Well, the inside still got nice and melty, which is more important than the aesthetics, I think.

Served with a light spring salad, this Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto is a great way to say hello to asparagus season. Hello, asparagus season! I will enjoy the heck out of you!

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Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto Recipe

A rustic panini made with shiitake mushrooms, Fontina cheese, and roasted asparagus pesto.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • olive oil mister or cooking spray
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps cut into thick strips
  • 1/4 c. almonds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into four equal pieces and halved lengthwise
  • 1 c. shredded Fontina cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil mister.
  2. Place shiitake mushrooms on one side of baking sheet and place asparagus and garlic cloves on other side. Spray tops with additional olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  3. Transfer asparagus and garlic to food processor. Add almonds and olive oil. Pulse until finely chopped but not mashed; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat electric grill or panini press on high. Spread asparagus pesto on each half of ciabatta bread. Top four bottom pieces of bread with a quarter of the mushrooms and 1/4 cup of cheese. Place other half of bread on top and press down.
  5. Transfer panini to grill and close lid. Grill for about 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

About

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.


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CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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