Caprese Panini with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo

A few months ago, I posted about one of my longtime favorite salads: a Caprese Salad with an oh-so-simple Balsamic Dressing. As much as I love cooking and preparing a meal, it doesn’t get much easier, or tastier, than piling together tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil and then drizzling the whole thing in a cascade of herbs, oil and balsamic vinegar.

So, then, what’s an easier lunch than slapping your favorite salad onto a slice of crusty bread, grilling it up, slicing it in half and calling it a sandwich?

Well… yes… Peanut butter and jelly is easier (and fifteen years after elementary school, still a sandwich I indulge in at least twice a week). But this is The Comfort of Cooking, so let’s cook our lunch.

Making an irresistible caprese, even when stuffed between two slices of bread, is all about the fresh ingredients. The fresher the mozzarella, tomato and basil, the better the salad or sandwich. Once toasted together, the melted medley of flavors and aromas can only be described as veggie bliss. So, while you may have had an awesome panini elsewhere, you’ve never had one like you can make at home with your own fresh ingredients- and you don’t even need a panini press (I used a grill pan!).

The sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, with a hint of basil and lemon, is also very simple to make and adds fresh flavor on any number of sandwiches, from BLTs to burgers, chicken, salad, sub or veggie sandwiches, panini, and any other sandwich you can dream up in your kitchen!

Caprese Panini with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo

Caprese Panini with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo

Yield: 2


Panini Ingredients

  • 4 slices country bread, 1/2 inch thick
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, recipe below
  • 4 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 6 slices tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 fresh basil leaves

Mayo Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • 5-6 leaves fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, I used oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Panini Directions
  2. Preheat an electric panini maker, or heat a grill pan up to medium-high heat.
  3. Brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface. Spread the top of each slice with 1 tbsp. sun-dried tomato mayonnaise. Place the cheese on one slice and top with the tomato slices and red onion. Drizzle with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Top with the basil, then with the other bread slice, oiled side up.
  4. Place the sandwich on the panini maker and cook until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes (cook 3 minutes each side if using a grill pan). Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve.
  5. Mayo Directions
  6. Soften the sun-dried tomatoes by placing them in a small pot of simmering water for 4 minutes. Drain. Either chop the tomatoes finely or place them in an electric food processor and pulse for 10-15 seconds on high.
  7. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving so flavors can develop.
  8. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Mayo will last about two days.
  9. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Join the Conversation

  1. Georgia–

    A few minutes ago, this entry popped up in my Google Reader and I melted!

    This is so beautiful… If you didn’t know so already, I adore sandwiches. I want to devote my life to them, in the most normal way possible…

    Marvelous, easy, but impressive, what with the interesting mayo and attention to detail. This is a gorgeous post and I just love it when simple things get the culinary attention they deserve.

    I’m linking this to my Facebook and eventually my website, because I love people who love sandwiches.

    Have a great day. (Except it’s raining in Los Angeles and I’m not okay with it.)

    — Lauren, @ Lauren’s Little Kitchen

  2. Hey Lauren! Yea, I remember reading on your site that you’d like to own a sandwich shop. Consider this caprese panini a little inspiration for your menu! ;) Thanks so much for your kind comments!

  3. What a delicious looking sandwich, I would love this for lunch tomorrow!

  4. This sandwich looks and sounds incredibly easy and delicious. I can’t wait to make this!

  5. Thank you, Christine and Brenda! I’d love to hear how it turns out if you do make it!

  6. MMM I love a good panini! This looks delicious!

  7. Thanks, Jessica! I love your blog… You take such beautiful pictures! I’ll have to check it out some more.

  8. Caprese sandwiches are my absolute favorite! I have never been able to re-create them at home though due to ingredient mishaps :( Yours looks so tasty! And that mayo… wow. I don’t even like mayo that much but that. looks. divine.


  9. Thanks, Jessie! When it doubt, just stick with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and sliced tomatoes on a hunk of Italian or French bread! And I know what you mean about the mayo… I actually don’t like it much either, but this one was very flavorful. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Georgia, had to stop by and tell you that we JUST had this for lunch and it was fabulous!!! So much flavor packed into a simple sandwich. This is the kind of thing I will crave when I need a caprese fix. I Didn’t feel like pulling out the panini maker and did it in the pan on the stovetop – unreal!!! Thanks so much for this.

  11. I stumbled upon your website and then I seen this gorgeous picture of sun dried tomato mayo. I love panini’s and this sounds very flavorful. I really need to purchase of panini grill as my boys love panini sandwiches. Take Care, BAM

  12. Delicious!! I knew it would be good, but this mayo is REALLY spoon licking good :)

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