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Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini

    For all of my fellow lemon lovers out there, this one is for you. Lemon zest and fresh basil make these about the most fresh-tasting grilled cheese sandwiches you’re going to find.

    Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini - The Lemon Bowl

    I don’t know about you, but cheese is the reason I could never be a vegan. In fact, the only thing I’ve craved more  during this pregnancy is hearty, bakery-style bread. This Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini from my friend Kathy Stahs’ new cookbook, The Ultimate Panini Press, is pretty much heaven on a plate. Filled with fresh basil, bright lemon zest and a tangy combination of feta and mozzarella cheeses, it hits the spot on every level.

    Panini Press Cookbook Cover - The Lemon Bowl

    Since I don’t own a panini press, my friend let me borrow her panini pan which is essentially a grill pan with a heavy lid. The panini cooked up in less than 5 minutes with a golden crust and perfectly melted cheese. With recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, I quickly discovered why my friend told me she would miss her pan while I used it!

    It looks like I will be adding a panini press to my Christmas wish list….Kathy’s Greek Lamb Panini with Feta, Tapenade and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is next on my list!

    No fork required.

    Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini Square - The Lemon Bowl

    Lemon-Basil Grilled Cheese Panini

    4.67 stars average
    Lemon zest and fresh basil make these about the most fresh-tasting grilled cheese sandwiches you’re going to find.
    PREP: 5 mins
    COOK: 5 mins
    TOTAL: 10 mins
    Servings: 4


    • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella (about 1 cup)
    • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 slices Italian or sourdough bread (sliced from a dense bakery loaf)


    • Heat the panini press to medium-high heat.
    • Toss together the mozzarella, feta, lemon zest, and basil in a medium-size bowl.
    • For each sandwich: Brush olive oil on two slices of bread to flavor the outside of the sandwich. Flip over one slice and top the other side with a layer of the cheese mixture. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, oiled side up.
    • Grill two panini at a time, with the lid closed, until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.


    Calories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 57.5gProtein: 20.5gFat: 12.4gSaturated Fat: 5.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7.2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 870mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2g
    SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!

    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:


    1. I made this for lunch a couple of days ago, and it was wonderful! Even my husband who is usually lacking in enthusiasm for new things really enjoyed it. I ended up making them in pita breads (my real bread turned out to be moldy) in a frying pan with a large plate to hold them down. Maybe not as elegant as a real panini, but definitely worth making. I’ll be doing this often.

    2. A panini press is too specialized for my small kitchen, so I’m working on figuring out how to do this without either a grill pan or a panini press. Definitely worth trying, however I do it, because the flavor mix sounds absolutely wonderful. I do love lemons and am also a huge fan of feta cheese. Maybe this would be a good way to use some of the sheep’s milk feta I bought last week… :-)

      1. I completely understand Susan!! Honestly, you could use a frying pan or griddle, place tin foil on top of the sandwich and top it with a brick or another heavy item. :) Let me know if you try it!!

    3. Liz, this sounds so awesome!! I think it would be great with my homemade sour dough/whole wheat/ flax meal bread!! It’s made with a sour dough starter that I’ve had for years!! Need to put feta cheese and fresh basil on my grocery list!!!:-)

        1. Well, I’ve been at it for over 52 years, Liz!! That’s how long my dear husband and I have been married!! I started out by copying his mother’s recipes. (Smart, don’t you think???:-)) “the way to a man’s heart….”, right?:-) We always had a huge garden, so I needed lots of recipes!! Nowadays websites like yours give me lots of new ideas for making fresh, healthy meals!! Thanks, Liz!!

    4. Would never ever of thought of using lemon zest in a Panini! Never tried it with feta either but love the idea, so original! I’m with you on the cheese love, that and butter! Could never be vegan. Adding this one to the must make pile!

      1. haha – So sad that it took me so long to realize I could do vertical photos!!!!! Thank you again. :) PS: The lemon is incredible in this panini!! And yes, I’m biased. :)

      1. I NEED ONE TOO!! I had to borrow one to review this book and I’m officially sold. lol good call on the bacon. I ate it twice yesterday…..

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