The combination of beets, bacon, and blue cheese is one that I crave on a regular basis. It’s also quite decadent, so makes for a better treat than a regular meal. But this panini is a great way to work this delicious treat into your meal planning without just eating a huge pile of all three ingredients. (And I assume then falling into the happiest chubby nap ever) Plus, paninis are honestly one of the yummiest kinds of sandwiches.
Paninis were not really something I was familiar with growing up. Outside of the classic frying pan grilled cheese, I’d never hand a grilled and pressed sandwich. When I went away for university, there was a cafe that specialized in paninis. And I basically ate nothing but paninis for about a month. Seriously, it was intense. But they had so many awesome flavour combos, that it inspired me to start coming up with my own.
Fill those Paninis with Your Favourite Things
Most of my panini ideas are simple; what are foods that I like? And, can I somehow put all those things into a sandwich? It turns out that yes! Many things are amazing when pressed into a bread roll! My roommate and I had recently hosted a “dinner party” (had our 19 year old friends over and pretended we were classy adults for the night) when I found this combo. We had beets that we’d cut into chunks, and wrapped in slices of bacon and roasted. Then we had skewered them with a piece of blue cheese on top. It was magical, and I’m sure terrible for us. But that was it, a new favourite flavour combination to add to my list.
My big kitchen purchase that year was my very own panini press. A purchase I seriously recommend by the way. (I have this one, but a good quality first time purchase is this one). I know it can be a big decision to make a new kitchen purchase, but this was one I have not regretted. I could probably eat an unimaginable amount of grilled sandwiches. Having the press just makes my sandwich game even more fun!
All Breads are Good Breads!
You can pretty much use any soft style bun for paninis. Most grocery stores that have a bakery section will have something like a half baguette. Or a hoagie bun. Those are perfect. But if you can’t find anything that classically panini shaped, just use your favourite sliced bread. And since we’re coming into summer, if you can get your hands on fresh arugula, that will amp this up even more! All arugula is yummy, but when it’s fresh, fresh, fresh, the pepperiness is much more prominent.
If you want to try your hand at making your own sourdough to use for your sandwich, check out this Simple Overnight Sourdough recipe. Or for another sandwich idea hoe about this Chicken Salad Sandwich.
Beet, Bacon, Blue Cheese Panini
- 1 Large Beet
- 6 Slices of good quality Bacon
- 1/8 of a Red Onion Very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Crumbly Blue Cheese
- 1 cup Arugula
- 2 Soft Panini Buns Or other soft rolls
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat your oven to 425F.
- Slice the top and tail off your beet. Tightly wrap the beet in tin foil, and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until soft all the way through.
- While the beet roasts, prepare the bacon. I like my bacon crispy, but crispy bacon can be hard to slice and eat in a panini. So cook it slightly less than you normally would if you're a crispy bacon fan.
- When the beet is soft, remove from the oven. Let it cool for a few minutes until it can be handled. Unwrap from the tin foil. The skin should be easily pulled away with your fingers. Peel the whole beet. Slice it into thin slices.
- Heat your panini press to medium low heat. (Or a frying pan to medium low)
- Slice open your buns. Layer in half the blue 1/4 of the blue cheese, followed by half the beet, half the bacon, half the onion, and top with another 1/4 of the blue cheese. Place the top half of the bun onto your sandwich. Repeat to build the second panini.
- Gently place your paninis into your press (or into your frying pan). And grill until the bread is golden brown on both sides, and the cheese is nice and melty. (If you're using a frying pan you will have to flip the sandwich. Do this carefully!)
- Remove the paninis from the press. Gently open your sandwich and fill each with half the arugula. Slice in half and serve.