When I started Yoga, I knew it wasn’t just another exercise on top of my daily routine; it is a change of life style. I had to consider my food choices. Saying goodbye to junk foods was my biggest struggle… it was depressing — until I found a way to enjoy foods that are as tasty and yet still healthy. A special thanks to Bev of BevCooks.Com for this delightfully sinless Chicken Pesto Panini — one of my favorite “feel-good” foods.
Chicken Pesto Panini
What it took for 2 Panini:
For the Chicken Marinade:
* 1 lemon
* 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 3 chicken breast halves
For the Pesto:
* 4 cups arugula
* 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Rest:
* 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
* 2 10-inch artisan french baguettes, sliced in half lengthwise
* 2 roasted red peppers (from a jar) sliced into strips
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella (or fresh would be even better!)
Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and add the chicken. Toss to coat, cover and stick in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 4.
In a food processor, combine the arugula, walnuts, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until you get pesto.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and boil 2 minutes, until bright green. Transfer to a bowl with ice water to stop the cooking. You just blanched!
Heat an indoor (or outdoor!) grill to a medium heat and brush with oil. Add the chicken and grill until cooked through with nice grill marks on both sides, 10 minutes total. Remove from heat, cover and let rest about 5 minutes. Slice chicken into strips.
Spread the pesto on the bottom half of each baguette. Arrange the chicken slices on top of the pesto. Follow with strips of roasted red pepper, asparagus and lots of good mozzarella. Top with baguette lid. Is lid right? That’s not right.
Place the panini on the grill and press it down with something really heavy. I used my Les Creuset, ha! I really did though. Once the cheese starts to melt and you see grill marks on the bottom, flip, press and finish grilling.
Slice it diagonally and enjoy with a glass of lemondade. It is exceptionally refreshing, fun and healthy.