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Chicken Caprese Panini

A summer favorite; this chicken caprese panini includes grilled chicken, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, artisan bread brushed with basil oil, and a balsamic drizzle.

Top down shot of two chicken caprese sandwiches drizzled with a balsamic reduction with a honey dipper and basil leaves.

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It’s tomato season!!! You know what that means??

Caprese!!! And lots of it. Because it’s one of those dishes that you just can’t get enough of. The combination of fresh tomatoes (hopefully homegrown or at least locally grown), fresh mozzarella, fragrant basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt is downright heavenly.

If you too are a caprese lover, I know you will adore this panini.

It’s got a few elements going on, but it’s really very simple to make and takes less than 30 minutes.

Sandwiched between the two slices of bread is a piece of marinated grilled chicken (which you cook right in the panini press!!), fresh mozzarella, and tomato slices. Sounds pretty basic, right???

But that’s not all!!! The bread is brushed with this amazingly flavorful basil oil and the panini is drizzled with a balsamic reduction. BANG!! Flavor explosion!!!!

Top down shot of two chicken caprese sandwiches drizzled with a balsamic reduction with a honey dipper and basil leaves.

So what do you need to make this sandwich? ( + substitutions)

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Red pepper flakes: Optional. They add a small amount of heat, but not much.
  • Black pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar: The greater the quality the better.
  • Chicken tenderloins: The size of the tenderloins work perfectly for this sandwich, however, you could use chicken breasts instead. You will simply need to cut them into smaller pieces.
  • Artisan bread: I highly recommend sourdough, but the choice is up to you. The sandwich does have a tendency to get a bit soggy, so I would suggest that you use a heartier bread. In other words, skip the floppy white bread!
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Tomato: Feel free to use whichever variety you like or have on hand. I prefer to use a good slicing tomato like a beefsteak, black krim, or Cherokee purple as they are juicy and have lots of flavor.

How do you make this chicken caprese panini? ( + tips)

Begin by making the basil oil. Add the olive oil, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Top down shot of basil oil with spoon in small glass jar.

Next, place the chicken tenderloins between two layers of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pound lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick.

Transfer the chicken to a shallow dish or a plastic baggy, add 3/8 cup of the basil oil, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Top down shot of chicken marinating in basil oil.

Preheat your panini press.

Once heated, place the chicken tenderloins on the panini press, close the lid, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the chicken has golden brown grill marks and is thoroughly cooked. Set aside.

Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, then reduce heat to medium-low.

Top down shot of balsamic reduction in a small saucepan.

To assemble the sandwiches: Layer one slice of bread with one piece of chicken, two slices of tomato, and two slices of mozzarella.

Ingredients for paninis on white surface with a slice of bread topped with a piece of chicken.

Top with a second slice of bread and brush the top side of sandwich with basil oil. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Place the sandwiches on the panini press with the basil oil brushed side facing down. Brush tops of sandwiches with basil oil, close the lid, and cook for three minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.

Drizzle sandwiches with balsamic vinegar reduction and serve warm.

How to store

I recommended storing the elements of this sandwich separately and making them fresh as the sandwiches have a tendency to get soggy, however, you can refrigerate the prepared them in an airtight container for up to three days. The chicken tenderloins will keep for up to four days and the basil oil for up to three days. Both should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Top down shot of half of a chicken caprese panini topped with a sprig of basil.
Close-up of chicken caprese panini topped with basil leaves.

Some more of my favorite sandwiches:

  • Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese w/ Bacon Onion Jam: All the jalapeno popper goodness packed between two slices of buttery, grilled bread; melted cheddar and cream cheese, roasted jalapenos, and bacon onion jam. This sweet and savory sandwich is comfort food at it’s finest.
  • Spicy Kimchi Reuben: Fresh twist on a classic. This Spicy Kimchi Reuben is layered with corned beef, a spicy mayo kimchi mixture, and pepper jack cheese. Ready in just 15 minutes.
  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Sandwich w/ Lemon Dill Aioli: This bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich is fresh and hearty making it great for brunch, lunch, or even dinner. It’s loaded with crispy bacon, fried over-easy eggs, melted Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, and homemade lemon dill aioli.

If you make these chicken caprese panini I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Top down shot of two chicken caprese sandwiches drizzled with a balsamic reduction with a honey dipper and basil leaves.

Chicken Caprese Panini

Yield: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A summer favorite; this chicken caprese panini includes grilled chicken, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, artisan bread brushed with basil oil, and a balsamic drizzle.

Ingredients

Basil Oil

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the sandwiches

  • 4 chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 8 slices artisan bread, preferably sourdough 
  • 1 large slicing tomato, thinly sliced 
  • 8 slices of fresh mozzarella 

Instructions

  1. To make the basil oil: Add olive oil, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. Place the chicken tenderloins between two layers of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pound lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are 1/3 to 1/2-inch thick.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a shallow dish or a plastic baggy and add 3/8 cup of the basil oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat your panini press.
  5. Place the chicken tenderloins on the panini press, close the lid, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the chicken has golden brown grill marks and is thoroughly cooked. Set aside.
  6. Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan, then reduce heat to medium-low.
  7. To assemble the sandwiches: Layer one slice of bread with one piece of chicken, two slices of tomato, and two slices of mozzarella. Top with a second slice of bread and brush top of sandwich with basil oil. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  8. Place sandwiches on the panini press with the basil oil brushed side facing down. Brush tops of sandwiches with basil oil, close the lid, and cook for three minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown.
  9. Drizzle sandwiches with balsamic vinegar reduction and serve warm.

Storage: I recommended storing the elements of this sandwich separately and making them fresh as the sandwiches have a tendency to get soggy, however, you can refrigerate the prepared them in an airtight container for up to three days. The chicken tenderloins will keep for up to four days and the basil oil for up to three days. Both should be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 sandwiches Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 701Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 998mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 32g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

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