Do you ever get in the mood for a gourmet sandwich?! We got a panini maker for our wedding a few years ago, and I used to make all sorts of yummy sandwiches, grilled cheese, wraps, breakfast burritos, etc. on there. Ever since I started my clean eating journey, I haven’t really used it that much because, well… I’d rather have pancakes. With the exception of a few brands I like, bread just isn’t what it used to be.
I get that white bread is chemical filled, lab-made, and yucky… but it makes a sandwich taste a lot better. So most times, I just skip the sandwich altogether.
I started making cauliflower pizza crusts a few months ago. At first, I was totally against it. I HATE the smell of cauliflower, so it took me awhile to even attempt it. But once I did, I was hooked. Pizza crust made from cauliflower doesn’t taste anything like steamed cauliflower.
I started thinking about how I could make other “bread products” with cauliflower today (since I just bought the 3 pound bag from Costco) and I decided to give a panini a chance! It was super yum, and once you get through the annoying cooking of the cauliflower, it’s a breeze.
Ideally, you’ll have planned this meal ahead so that you can do a few things to prep.
-Pre-cook your chicken if you’re making a chicken panini. I cooked chicken tenderloins in the crockpot with water, basil, and cumin. I keep them stored in the fridge throughout the week to make lunches and other meals quickly, without having to over think it or take too much time from my day.
-Chop your cauliflower into small pieces, load it into a food processor, and rice it. Once it’s riced, steam it in the microwave for 5 minutes (this is the smelly part!)
-Drain all the liquid you can out of the cauliflower at this point by using a tea towel, clean dish towel, or paper towels (paper towels are the hardest, they rip easily and you end up losing lots of your cauliflower).
When you’re ready to make your sandwich, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine 2 cups of riced, drained cauliflower (about half a head) with 1 egg white, seasoning of choice (I used fresh basil and garlic powder), and 1/2 tablespoon shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese. Mix well and divide into two sections. Put each section onto the parchment paper, and form into a square. Make them thin enough to cook through evenly, but still thick enough to be “bread”. Cook for 10 minutes, flip over, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Time to make your sandwich! Put all sandwich toppings on one slice of cauliflower bread, and cover with the additional slice. Warm in a panini maker or in a pan stove top.
Like I said, the prep work is slightly painful, but if you can do lots of this in advance, it won’t be much harder than making any other clean meal!
If you follow the 21 Day Fix and you prepare your panini exactly as I described, you’ll be using – 2 greens, 1 blue, 1/2 red per sandwich. Calorie count is around 230 calories for the entire sandwich.