Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Panini

When a friend welcomes her first baby, we regale her with cute little outfits and diaper cakes. With the second baby comes more practical items – lots of burp cloths, socks (you can never have enough socks) and monogrammed items (to distinguish from the gifts for the first child). By the time she gets to her third, the baby is all set on gear. The baby shower is all for the mom!

Today, I’m excited to share these Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Panini for a virtual baby shower, celebrating my friend Aggie from Aggie’s Kitchen! There are nearly 40 of us (scroll down for the full list) sharing Italian-themed dishes on our blogs in honor of Aggie and the new little boy she’s expecting (baby #3!) – I couldn’t be happier for her.

Aggie's Virtual Baby Shower!

You may recognize this smashed chickpea and avocado combination from Two Peas and Their Pod – it’s a favorite of Maria’s, and Aggie later gave it her own zesty spin with lemon, feta and arugula. Well, after I saw that Aggie suggested it among her list of “Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant”, I thought I’d make my own Italian-inspired panini version for her. I even got the colors of the flag in there, how about that? 🙂

This is definitely one of those vegetarian sandwiches where you hardly miss not having meat. The chickpeas are so substantial, and if you leave them chunky enough, provide great texture. I started with the smashed chickpeas and avocados (did you know that Sicily is a big producer of avocados? Aggie is Sicilian!) and brought lemon, basil and Italian parsley into the salad. Then for the panini I spread basil pesto on Italian bread, layered the salad in with roasted red bell peppers and some sharp, nutty Asiago cheese and grilled it. Talk about some crave-worthy vegetarian panini!

We’ve set up an enormous virtual buffet table of baby shower goodies today – be sure to check them out! Wishing you all the best, Aggie!!

Sundried Tomato Hummus from Robyn of Add a Pinch
Melon & Prosicutto Balls from Paula of bell’alimento
Bruschetta from Sheila of Eat2gather
Jalapeno Poppers from Ali of Gimme Some Oven
Grilled Naan White Pizza Bites from Jamie of Mom’s Cooking Club
Watermelon Feta Bites with Basil Olive Oil from Sandy of Reluctant Entertainer
Pesto Caprese Fried Wontons from Julie of The Little Kitchen
Blue Cheese Wedge Salad Crostini from Cheryl of TidyMom

Toasted Coconut Milkshakes from Bev of Bev Cooks
Lemon Cream Soda from Angie of Eclectic Recipes
Peach Sorbet Bellini and Spritzers from Shaina of Food for My Family
Non Alcoholic Berry Spritzer from Lisa of Jersey Girl Cooks
Virgin Peach & Raspberry Bellinis from Milisa of Miss in the Kitchen
Italian Basil Sparkling Lemonade from Marly of Namely Marly
Italian Sodas from Laura of Real Mom Kitchen
Cafe Mocha Punch / or Iced Cafe Mocha from Amy of She Wears Many Hats

Italian Chopped Salad in a Jar {with Creamy Caesar Dressing} from Brenda of a farmgirl’s dabbles
Caprese Salad with Mozzarella Crisps from Christine of Cook the Story
Pesto Pasta Stuffed Tomatoes from Suzanne of Kokocooks
Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad from Liz of The Lemon Bowl
Herbed Israeli Couscous Salad with Tomato and Mozzarella from Rachel of Rachel Cooks
Chickpea, Avocado, & Feta Salad from Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod
Lentil and Chickpea Layered Salad from Lisa of With Style & Grace

Chicken Cacciatore from Meagan of A Zesty Bite
Zucchini, Bell Pepper & Edamame Stir-Fry from Cassie of Bake Your Day
Potato-Crusted Vegetarian Quiche with Zucchini, Tomatoes & Feta from Dara of Cookin’ Canuck
“Straw & Hay” Tagliatelle in Cream Sauce from Flavia of Flavia’s Flavors
Grilled Italian Chicken with Veggie & Bow Tie Pasta from Katie of Katie’s Cucina
Grilled Naan Pizza with Summer Veggies & Turkey Sausage from Kelley of Mountain Mama Cooks
Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Panini from Kathy of Panini Happy

Fresh Blueberry Shortbread with Lemon Cream Frosting from Sommer of A Spicy Perspective
Crostata di Mango from Lora of Cake Duchess
Italian Ice from Kristen of Dine & Dish
Roasted Banana and Nutella S’mores Bruschetta from Jenny of Picky Palate
Italian Cream Cake from Deborah of Taste and Tell
Panna cotta from Leslie of The hungry housewife
Fortune Cookies from Shari of Tickled Red
Baby Vanilla Bean Scones a la Starbucks from Tara of Unsophisticook

Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Panini


Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Panini

By Kathy Strahs,

Inspired by the Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich recipe, by Maria Lichty at Two Peas and Their Pod, and the Lemony Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich with Lemon and Arugula recipe, by Aggie Goodman at Aggie’s Kitchen

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 panini


Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed and peeled
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 8 slices Italian bread, sliced from a dense bakery loaf
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted red bell peppers
  • 4 ounces Asiago or other sharp cheese, sliced


  1. Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas and avocado together with a fork or potato masher (it doesn’t need to be smooth – in fact, I think it tastes best with a chunky texture). Mix in the basil, parsley, scallions and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. For each sandwich: Spread butter on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Flip over both slices and spread a thin layer of pesto on the other side of each slice. Top one slice with cheese, a generous amount of smashed chickpea and avocado salad, roasted red bell peppers and more cheese. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered 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. Mmm—I want this for lunch today!

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  2. Marly wrote:

    This looks fabulous…and right up my alley! It is perfect for a baby shower. I’m so glad to be a part of this event with you!

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  3. katie wrote:

    Love the combo of two favorites to make one heck of a sandwich!

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  4. A fun roundup and how sweet of you’ll to throw a virtual shower, cool.
    Love everything about this sandwich.

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  5. JulieD wrote:

    So pretty and perfect for Aggie! Thank you, Kathy, for joining in on the baby shower fun!

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  6. Oh! I love the smashed chickpea and avocado sandwich from Two Peas. Your take on it brings it to a whole new mouth-watering level. Yum! Love being part of this event for Aggie with you.

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  7. Love avocado hummus and so glad to see it deconstructed in this panini, Kathy! Yummy recipe to celebrate Aggie 🙂

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  8. Suzanne wrote:

    That sandwich looks soooo good! I want to take a big bite out of those pictures.

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  9. Fabulous, Kathy! I’ve made the sandwich from Aggie’s recipe and grilled it – the grilling is absolutely wonderful with the creamy avocados. Now I must try your version!!

    Posted 8.26.13 Reply
  10. Love this sandwich, Kathy!!

    Posted 8.27.13 Reply
  11. Aggie wrote:

    Oh Kathy I love your twist on this sandwich so much! It looks delicious! Thank you so much for the well wishes!! xoxo

    Ps…did not know about Sicily and avocados!!

    Posted 8.27.13 Reply
  12. Great sandwich! I think I’ll be making this for lunch this week. Love all the great food at Aggie’s virtual party!

    Posted 8.28.13 Reply
  13. Love this combination. Perfect for a shower! Thanks for sharing Kathy!

    Posted 8.29.13 Reply
  14. leslie wrote:

    I would be more than happy to sink my teeth into that sandwich!!!!! perfect for Aggies shower!

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  15. Ooh, what a fantastic sandwich! I need one right now!

    Posted 8.30.13 Reply
  16. Justine wrote:

    This was fantastic! The chick peas really bumped it up, making it more filling, and gave it a veggie-burger kinda flavor. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 9.1.13 Reply
    • Kathy Strahs wrote:

      I’m so glad you liked it, Justine! 🙂

      Posted 9.1.13 Reply
  17. Stacey wrote:

    The day you posted this recipe I knew I had to try it! I followed your directions to the T with the help of my garden and it was a blissfully delicious success 🙂 You definitely do want to leave the chickpeas chunky so thank you for that tip. My sister came over today and wasn’t a fan of a meatless meal so just for her (gotta love sisters) I added two crispy strips of turkey bacon. I am ashamed to say but I don’t think I will make the panini without turkey bacon ever again!

    Posted 9.1.13 Reply
  18. I’m dying to try this recipe 🙂 it looks so incredible, you couldn’t have chosen a better combination!

    Posted 9.4.13 Reply
  19. preeti wrote:

    This looks so good! I have to go home and try this today 🙂

    Posted 10.14.13 Reply