This vegan panini is so incredibly tasty you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Crisp on the outside, with the creamy mashed potato filling on the inside. SO good.
Have you had a panini before?
Normally, the outside of a sandwich of some sort is spread with some butter or oil, and it's placed into a panini maker to crisp up the outside. Here, my burrito is encased in a tortilla (of course) but there is no need to use any oil, it crisps up just beautifully.
If you don't have a panini maker, you can simply place your Swiss chard and mashed potato burrito on a baking pan and place under the broiler for a few minutes (you just won't have the "fancy grill marks" like you get with the panini maker. No biggie.)
In fact, the broiler is the way I have ALWAYS crisped up the outside of my burritos (when I'm in that mood). It was only recently we turned into panini freakazoids because it's just plain fun and the grill grooves adds an interesting new texture.
As usual, I came upon this recipe quite by accident.
I had some red potatoes on hand, which is pretty rare for us since Jeff really only loves sweet potatoes. But whenever I find myself with red potatoes, I make mashed potatoes because I loves them so very much. Of course, I had to add a token sweet potato to the mix for Jeff so he wouldn't whine. ;)
But while the sweet potato is optional, I highly recommend it to up the nutrient quotient of your mashed potatoes. Plus, the sweetness works great with the slightly bitter chard. (Score one for Jeff!)
Usually I use 1 large red potato per person. You can also use Golden, or russet as well. I also tend to make MORE THAN I need because I like having leftover mashed potatoes on hand to make something like Tempeh Potato Patties for a special brunch the next day.
Have you tried Swiss chard?
If not, PLEASE do.
It's a dark green leafy veggie that is superbly good for you, as all dark green leafies are. Swiss chard is incredibly high in Vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium which help to build strong bones, it's a fab antioxidant, and provides your body with energy as well as protein, fiber, and zinc.
Swiss chard is also a good source of calcium; however, it DOES contain oxylates which might interfere with the uptake of calcium. So I still enjoy it (awesome source of vitamin K!) but rely on other sources for my calcium including leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, broccoli, asparagus, and also beans, and nuts & seeds.
Before you even get started, make sure you have some salsa on hand.
I recommend Sassy's Salsa Asada. But you can use your fave, just be sure it has a sweet element to it, or add a touch of natural sweetener (like maple syrup, coconut nectar, or some chopped dates) to the small amount of salsa you put on top of your panini. Why, you ask? Because it helps to balance the total flavor of the dish and really sends it into orgasmic territory.
Okay, enough blabbering, let me show you how this recipe came together in the end.
Swiss Chard and Potato (Vegan) Panini
Make the mashed potatoes first:
2 large red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (leave skins on for max nutrition)
1 small sweet potato, scrubbed and quartered (again, leave skin on)
Add to taste:
Non-dairy milk (I like plain almond milk)
Organic tamari, or sea salt
Organic Earth Balance, or other non-dairy butter
Add quartered potatoes to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, add a little salt, lower heat to a simmer, and cook potatoes until fork tender, 15-20 minutes or so. Drain, return potatoes to pot, mash, and add remaining ingredients, to taste. Keep warm.
Next, make the Swiss chard
1/4 cup thinly sliced leeks (or onions, but leeks add an amazing flavor that works so well in this dish)
2 cloves garlic
6-8 Swiss chard leaves, stems removed if desired, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon maple syrup or coconut nectar, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or red pepper flakes, or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Step 1: Get your panini maker heating, or turn on your oven broiler.
Step 2: On the stovetop, heat a large pan with a lid. Add a swipe of olive oil with a napkin or paper towel (or use a non-stick pan with 1/4 cup veggie broth or water). Next, add the leeks (or onion) and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are translucent.
Step 3: Add the chopped Swiss chard to the pan, along with a little more broth or water if needed to help cook the chard down. Let cook for 5-10 minutes or until chard is tender to your liking. Add sweetener, lemon juice, spicy pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Stir.
Step 4: Turn heat off, add tortillas to the top of the chard mix, and cover with the lid to heat the tortillas and soften them in the residual steam.
Next, put your panini together
Carefully remove warmed tortillas and place on two separate plates. Spoon desired amount of mashed potatoes on one-half of one tortilla. Cover with 1/2 the Swiss chard. Close tortilla in half.
Carefully place in panini maker and cook for 3 minutes (or on a baking sheet under the broiler until browned - watch carefully!). Bring first panini to a cooling rack so the bottom doesn't get soggy. Repeat these steps for the second panini.
Plate your delectable vegan paninis. Dollop with salsa. Devour!