Cheesy Green Panini with Dandelions and Broccolini (VIDEO)
Updated: Jan 9
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Since I didn't grow up in the USA and having a sandwich for lunch is very uncommon for me. In fact my lunches weren't much different from dinner, except dinners were larger and a more complex meal. In Ukraine, our lunches began with soup (yes light soup or broth eaten every day), then veggies, a protein and some kind of grains. But in my new home country it is soup, salad, a salad or sandwich that are the preferred lunch items, and that's what I prepare for my husband.
This month, St Patrick's Day is celebrated and on that day, people usually wear the color green. During this month we have a funny family rule in our house that everyone must go by, including my husband. Our rule is involves the color of green but instead of wearing it, we eat it and more specifically, the eating of Greens!!! The sandwich recipe that I am sharing with you today is healthy and delish. The beautiful melting of cheese does make this sandwich irresistible, but it is the use of greens that makes it incredibly healthy and delicious!
Let's talk about the greens for a minute. All greens will work in this recipe. Please, use any you have on a hand, using one, two or more varieties of greens. You can experiment with any greens you like. All greens are good for you in moderation and some have more health benefits than others. In my house I consistently use a wide variety of greens and veggies. In switching it up, my family receives a constant sampling of new tastes, textures and health options.
For this particular recipe I selected a combo of some bitter and sweet greens.
I choose dandelions and broccolini in the video, but keep in mind that you are the king of your sandwich!
Here the list of the greens, that can work well
- mustard greens (a little bitter just like dandelions) and kale
- arugula (peppery taste) and spinach
- endive and broccolini
- turnips greens and baby bok choy
- collard greens and sweet chard collard greens and sweet chard
There are so many greens in which to choose, and I love them all. Bitter ones aren't for everybody, but I'm sure if you eat them on a regular basis you will love them. My children have no problem eating a variety of greens.
What makes greens bitter and why is it a good thing?
Have you wondered why some greens are bitter? Bitterness is a good thing, and there are ways to avoid it during the cooking process.
Leafy vegetables contain a chemical compound known as glucosinolates and cause them to taste slightly bitter. These types of greens are members of the brassica family, also known as cruciferous veggies or cabbage family. This glucosinolates component has been well studied. Dorothy Rybaczyk-Pathak from the University of New Mexico studied the effects of this compound.
In her discoveries regarding veggies with high levels of glucosinolates, she stated, "The observed pattern of risk reduction indicates that the breakdown products of glucosinolates in veggies like cabbage may affect both the initiation phase of carcinogenesis – by decreasing the amount of DNA damage and cell mutation – and the promotion phase, by blocking the processes that inhibit programmed cell death and stimulate unregulated cell growth”. Please, read this study here.
I have to confess that the dandelions are one of those greens I would never buy in Ukraine, since it's considered to be a weed. My mom has never understood why I like to pay for weeds. In Ukraine for many generations, they have been using the whole plant for different uses in their cooking and as a medicine. They also use other very unusual greens like nettles, or bear's garlic.
What makes dandelion greens a super food?
Dandelion greens are packed with health-promoting nutrients. They are extremely low in carbs, and sugar and naturally filled with phytochemicals They are packed with vitamins like A, C, K, and B9. Dandelions are very high in mineral content like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Also, these greens are excellent for people with high sugar levels, for they contain a few bioactive compounds that work against type 2 diabetes. Please, check this study here.
But my favorite benefit is that dandelion greens are very rich in inulin. For those who know me, I'm a big lover of healthy gut foods, like probiotic (fermented foods), please visit my page to see more about which foods promote healthy growth of good bacteria in your gut by feeding good bacteria and that eating prebiotic foods are as important as probiotic foods. Inulin is one of the best of prebiotic fibers (soluble fiber) and eating on regular basis foods high in inulin will keep your gut happy.
Why should you eat your greens with fat?
Greens are packed with vitamins and minerals. Fats from animal and vegetable sources provide a concentrated source of energy in the diet; they also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. Fats as part of a meal slow down nutrient absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes.
So, please when you think about healthy eating remember that the eating of greens with fat is just as important as veggies and fruit for daily intake.
What do you need to make this panini?
The good news is that you don't need a panini press to make paninis at home. You can easily use any press you have on hand like a spare iron pan or really anything that can press and let all that goodness melt nicely.
- good quality bread
- cheese that can melt
- greens of your choice
- onion and garlic
Let's do it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Autor: Inna of innichkachef.com
Yielded: two sandwiches
4 slices of good quality bread (I used sourdough bread)
4-6 slices of cheese (I used Irish cheese)
half bunch of dandelion greens
half bunch of broccolini greens
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to the taste
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
Wash your greens very well and dry. Chop the greens but not into small pieces.
In the pan add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Add salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes on low heat.
3. Add butter to the pan along with greens and a pinch of nutmeg.
4. Stir all the ingredients and let it cook on low heat for a few minutes, then cover and continue to cook for a few more minutes. The greens should be slightly soft and a very bright green color. Set aside.
5. On cast iron pan on medium to low heat add a little bit of butter or olive oil and place your bread in the pan topping it with some cheese. Next, spoon over the greens mixture and let the cheese melt.
6. Then place one slice of bread on top of the other slice and press. (Another pan can work).
7. Wait a minute and flip the sandwich. Cook for another minute or so.
8. Move to the cutting board and cut the sandwich in half.
I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon or Pinterest.