These Pesto Meatball Paninis are a satisfying weekday lunch or dinner! Italian meatballs on toasted sourdough bread with lots of cheese.
These Paninis are very easy to make and are super versatile. They are a great way to utilize some pesto that you may have in the fridge or pantry. What makes a really good meatball sub you might ask? Well… It all starts with a juicy, flavorful meatball. For this recipe you can choose to use frozen meatballs if you’d like, you can make your own or you can certainly buy pre-made/pre-packaged meatballs in the meat section. I’ve tried them all, and they all will work great. It’s really up to you and what you have time for. Outside of the meatballs, marinara sauce, fresh basil, fresh garlic, mozzarella and parmesan cheese are key ingredients for the recipe! Let’s not forget about the pesto butter, it’s literally amazing and you’ll want to use it on everything, not just the Meatball Paninis!
I LOVE pesto! I usually like to add it to salads, sandwiches and pasta! Adding pesto to these paninis is basically like having the pesto work overtime for you. The pesto is already loaded with basil, garlic and parmesan. Adding that to the butter means there’s no need for a ton of additional ingredients!
WHAT IS A PANINI?
A panini is a grilled sandwich made from bread other than sliced bread.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A PANINI PRESS?
No worries! You can certainly use a heavy bottom frying pan like a cast iron skillet or grill a panini.
WHAT TYPE OF CHEESE SHOULD I USE?
It’s totally up to you! I just recommend using soft, high-moisture cheeses like mozzarella to give you that gooey cheese pull. I also like to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for additional flavor, but that’s totally optional.
WHAT TYPE OF BREAD SHOULD I USE?
You’ll want to use a bread that holds its shape pretty well. Like focaccia, ciabatta, a baguette, or sourdough bread which is what I used for this Pesto Meatball Panini recipe.
Questions about this Pesto Meatball Panini? Did you make this recipe? Let me know in the comments below! Tag me #chefelizabethreese on Instagram, I’d love to see your creations!
Pesto Meatball Panini
- ½ Bag Frozen meatballs of your choice or 1 Package of 6-8 Raw pre-made meatballs (Can be found in the meat section)
- 4 Slices Italian Sourdough Bread
- 1 Jar Marinara Sauce
- ¼ Cup Pesto
- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
- 1 Clove Minced Garlic
- 1 Teaspoon Chopped Fresh Basil
- 4 Slices Mozzarella or Provolone Cheese
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 365°F, if you’re using raw pre-made meatballs.
- Place the meatballs on a sheet tray lined with foil and a wired rack on top and cook the meatballs in the oven until done. Set aside.
- In a deep skillet, over medium heat, add the marinara, fresh basil and garlic.
- Add the cooked meatballs (from the oven or the frozen meatballs, no need to thaw if you’re using frozen) and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and place a lid on top.
- Simmer the meatballs for about 25 ish to 30 minutes.
- While the meatballs are simmering, prepare the pesto butter by combining the room temperature butter and pesto together until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat a panini grill or regular pan to medium high. Spray with a little non-stick cooking spray.
- Spread pesto butter on one side of the bread then add 2 slices of mozzarella cheese on top.
- Slice about 3 meatballs with a little marinara sauce (not too much because you don’t want a soggy sandwich) in half and place on top of the cheese. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. Close the sandwich.
- Spread the top and bottom of the sandwich with a little more pesto butter and grill on the press until golden. Remove, cut in half and enjoy!