Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Grilled Cheese Panini Recipe

Looking for a healthier alternative to typical grilled cheese? Give this recipe a try! With fresh mozzarella and a blend of other Italian cheeses, you still will get your cheese fix – roasted eggplant and red bell peppers allow you to cut back on some of the fat and calories and add great flavor as well. Dip the sandwiches in marinara sauce for an extra kick! Reduced-fat never tasted better. Want to see how this recipe was created? Check out “Eggplant to the rescue!”.

4 servings


2 Japanese eggplants, sliced 1/2″ thick lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, cut into 5″ pieces OR 4-5″ mini-baguettes
1 roasted red bell pepper, divided into 4 long pieces
2 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4″ thick
1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
1 cup marinara


Heat oven to broil.

Lay eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush olive oil on top of each slice. Sprinkle salt and pepper to season eggplant. Broil 4-5 minutes until eggplant slices are browned and soft (watch carefully, they can burn quickly!).

Heat panini grill to 350 degrees.

To assemble sandwiches, first slice each baguette lengthwise to create top and bottom halves. Build each sandwich as follows:

  • bottom baguette half
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cheese
  • slice eggplant
  • red pepper
  • fresh mozzarella
  • slice eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cheese
  • top baguette half

Press down on the sandwich with your hand to stabilize it and secure the filling within the bread.

Carefully place two sandwiches at a time onto the panini press and grill at a low grill height for 9 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is toasted. Serve hot with marinara for dipping.


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. Louise wrote:

    I just had to tell you Kathy. I was just checking my links from a previous Grilled Cheese Month post I did in 2008 and lo and behold, this link was in my resource section! Good thing I put you in my side-bar this time:)

    Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed this post then as well as now…

    Posted 3.31.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Oh my goodness, one of my very first sandwiches! Eeek…glad I’ve shown some improvement since then, lol. 🙂

      Posted 3.31.11 Reply
  2. Becky wrote:

    I made a slightly modified version of this tonight and it was fabulous! I used a sliced rustic Italian bread, regular eggplant, brushed the bread with pesto (on the inside), and put some fresh baisil in it. I Grilled it like a grilled cheese and they were perfect! The whole family loved them! Thanks!

    Posted 8.14.12 Reply