Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini

We’ve eaten too much, we’ve shopped too much…it’s time to lighten things up a little, don’t you think? I’ve got just the thing: Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini. Lemon zest and fresh basil make these about the most fresh-tasting grilled cheese sandwiches you’re going to find.

As grilled cheese sandwiches go, these are actually a little lighter than most. You might recall this post from a few years ago where I mentioned that feta and mozzarella are a bit lower in fat than other cheeses. I’m fighting the urge to say “tastes great, less filling”…but yeah, pretty much. 🙂 Normally, I butter the bread before grilling, but I do love how well olive oil pairs with lemon and feta, so that’s what I use for these panini.

Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini, served at my cookbook launch party at Whole Foods in SeptemberWhole Foods served this beautiful platter of my Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini at a cookbook party they hosted for me in their Del Mar store a few months ago. It makes terrific party food, and also makes a great accompaniment to soups, such as roasted red pepper or tomato.


Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini

Recipe by Kathy Strahs, PaniniHappy.com

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 panini


  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded mozzarella
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 slices Italian or sourdough bread, sliced from a dense bakery loaf


  1. Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.
  2. Toss together the mozzarella, feta, lemon zest, and basil in a medium-size bowl.
  3. For each sandwich: Brush olive oil on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Flip over one slice and top the other side with a layer of the cheese mixture. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, oiled side up.
  4. Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.



KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. Mike from Class wrote:

    One of my favorite recipes from your book. Love it!

    Posted 12.2.13 Reply
  2. Yum! This panini sounds perfect right now! 🙂

    Posted 12.2.13 Reply
  3. Don’t know why I haven’t tried this one yet. It has all the flavors I love.

    Posted 12.2.13 Reply
  4. Great flavor combo, Kathy! 🙂

    Posted 12.3.13 Reply
  5. This looks AMAZING!!!!

    Posted 12.3.13 Reply
  6. Yummy! Thinking this will be our dinner menu tonight!

    Posted 12.3.13 Reply
  7. Can’t believe I’ve never been to your blog before. I’ve sure been missing out! I am in love with paninis. They are by far my all time favorite lunch. Happy to have found your blog. 🙂

    Posted 12.3.13 Reply
  8. This looks crazy good. I am such a lemon fanatic so this is a must try.

    Posted 12.4.13 Reply
  9. Um… I’m drooling… Oh my gosh, I LOVE THIS!

    Posted 12.5.13 Reply
  10. Aggie wrote:

    I seriously love everything about this!

    Posted 12.6.13 Reply
  11. Carla wrote:

    Made this last night- whole family loved it. Unbelievably delicious .

    Posted 5.5.14 Reply