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Easy Mozzarella and Eggplant Panini | Tara Teaspoon

An easy mozzarella and eggplant panini gets it’s extra delicious flavor from smokey cheese and sun-dried tomato spread. What a great way to eat vegetarian for dinner!

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Some Italian flare for a weeknight dinner is always good. I’m preparing for the Winter Games by celebrating delicious internationally inspired meals–and this one touts the flavors of Italy. Smoked, fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and a Mediterranean staple, eggplant.


Mozzarella and eggplant panini on plate with water

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Eggplant and mozzarella go together so well. I decided to use a grill press for these sandwiches, so my eggplant isn’t getting the smokiness it would if I cooked it on an outdoor grill or really charred the skin, like I do for baba ganoush (a smokey eggplant dip). For that depth of flavor I used smoked mozzarella. It’s still got that fresh, soft taste like other fresh mozzarellas but with a unique smokey balance.

I use a panini press, or grill press to make these right on the countertop. It’s my favorite way to make grilled, toasty sandwiches. Plus I can grill my eggplant on it before making the sandwich. Two for one!


Using a smoked cheese gives this Mozzarella And Eggplant Panini a fantastic flavor. What a great vegetarian dinner!


I love this press, and there are other great ones out there. The thing is, you don’t actually need one! You can sauté the eggplant right in a skillet on the stove, or broil it in the oven, and then use tools in your kitchen to make your own panini press! Check out the method here:

Eggplant and Mozzarella panini press diy set up

I’m a sucker for good sandwich spreads, so I knew I wanted something more than just a drizzle of vinegar for the compliment. Sun-dried tomatoes were just the thing. And I love that you can buy sun-dried tomato spread already prepared.

If you want, you can make your own like my friend over at A Farm Girl Dabbles. Or use some of my sun-dried tomato pesto if you’ve got it on hand. It’s simply a great way to bring acidic, tomatoey flavor to this mozzarella and eggplant panini.

Mozzarella and eggplant panini how to

Is eggplant a fruit or a vegetable?

Eggplant is also called aubergine. And it is in fact a fruit! It’s a species of nightshade fruit and is related to the tomato and potato! It’s cooked like a vegetable though, and is really great sliced thinly and grilled, just like in these mozzarella and eggplant panini.

Feel free to swap the smoked mozzarella for regular fresh mozzarella. I know sometimes folks don’t love smoked cheeses. But I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this delicious sandwich! Enjoy!


5 from 1 vote
Eggplant and mozzarella panini in parchment
Easy Eggplant and Mozzarella Panini
Work Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
An easy eggplant and mozzarella panini gets it's extra delicious flavor from smokey cheese and sun-dried tomato spread. What a great way to eat vegetarian for dinner!
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: eggplant, panini, smokey cheese
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Calories: 381 kcal
  • 1 eggplant about 1 lb, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 loaf or 4 ciabatta rolls
  • cup sun-dried tomato spread
  • 4 to 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, smoked sliced
  1. Heat a grill pan on the stove or a grill press. Brush eggplant slices with 1 tbsp olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until marked and just soft, 4 to 6 min (turning once if using a grill pan).
  2. Cut bread into 4 pieces; slice pieces or rolls in half lengthwise. Cover one side of each sandwich with tomato spread. Divide grilled eggplant between sandwiches, add cheese and top with other slices of bread.
  3. Brush sandwiches with olive oil and rill until cheese is melting and bread is just crisp, 4 to 5 min.
Recipe Notes

Smoked cheese adds a delicious depth to this vegetarian meal.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Eggplant and Mozzarella Panini
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 381 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 743mg 31%
Potassium 262mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 62g 21%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 5g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 3.2%
Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 3%
Iron 2.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

I’m celebrating all things international this month during the 2018 Winter Games with some of my food blogger friends. Be sure to click over  and enter the Instagram giveaway! You have the chance to win.

2018 Winter Games food blogger giveaway
Prizes include a JK Adams Walnut Whitewashed Cheese Board, Emile Henry Baking Dish SetKuhn Rikon Colori Culinary Knife Set, Silpat Classics Mat Set, Joseph Joseph Nesting Bowl Set, Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker, Kerrygold Butter and Cheese Package, and a Breville Thermal Pro 5 qt. Saute Pan. You could win one!

Be sure to check out these other great international recipes from some of my fellow food bloggers who are also participating in the Food Blogger Winter Games event, posting delicious recipes that are internationally inspired!  Share a recipe on Instagram you made from another culture using the hashtag #foodbloggerwintergames while you are at it!

GermanyPork and Sauerkraut Cabbage Rolls
ItalyItalian Sausage and Peppers
KoreaKorean Pancakes with Scallions (Pajeon or Pa Jun)
MexicoVerde Chicken Enchiladas

Recipe by Tara Bench and Vanessa Seder. Photographs by Rita Maas. Originally published LHJ Mar 2009.

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