a ham and zucchini panini on a plate
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Ham and Zucchini Panini

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Ham and Zucchini Panini not only rhyme but are in fact a crispy flavorful sandwich with ham, grilled zucchini, and a pesto dressing.

sourdough zucchini and ham panini

Each summer it’s the same. I start the garden in early spring. Get really excited come May when I see sprouted seedlings turn into real producing plants. Then before I know it, I have one amazing crop while others begin to die off. For whatever reason that one amazing crop is usually zucchini. It was the very first crop of anything I learned to grow. Obviously, if you are a gardener yourself, you know just how easy they are to grow.

Going on our last month of summer before things finally start to cool off. Summer is definitely not letting up at the moment though. With temperatures that send me running back inside and have my poor garden wilting to oblivion. But as usual, the zucchini seems to thrive in these temps.

During these months my counters are filled with them. And so the recipes that contain them are endless. But there is no complaining on my part. Zucchini season is filled with abundance and adds a bit of freshness to the dishes they are in. This time, it is a sandwich. A crispy, panini that you can make with or without a press.

Why I Love This Recipe For Ham and Zucchini Panini

I love to make paninis in general. They are crisp, versatile sandwiches that work great for combining rather boring lunch meat and cheeses. Along with garden veggies, that then turn into a delicious gourmet sandwich that works well for a lunch or quick dinner.

This Ham and Zucchini Panini particularly is one I especially love. It is simple but combines those fresh garden flavors we enjoy each year. The freshness of pesto alongside grilled zucchini. It pairs so well. And yet at the same time, I have another great way to use up all that zucchini.

What You’ll Need For Ham and Zucchini Panini

1 small zucchini sliced thinly in long sandwich slices (think sandwich pickles)

4 slices sourdough bread

8-10 slices deli style ham

4-6 tbsp of pesto

olive oil

grill pan (cast iron preferably or a panini press)

Directions

Slice the zucchini into long thin strips. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper. Place a grill pan on medium heat. Drizzle olive oil into the pan. Grill both sides of each slice of zucchini. Place on a plate and set aside. To assemble the paninis, brush one side of the sourdough slices with olive oil.

On the reverse side, spoon a scoop of pesto onto each slice of bread. Spread evenly across.

Then lay a strip of grilled zucchini over the pesto and folded sliced ham over the zucchini (as shown). Place the other side of the bread on.

Then either using a panini press or the cast iron grill pan, it’s time to grill the panini. If using a press, simply turn it on. Place the paninis in, close the lid and wait for the panini press to do its magic. If using a cast iron grill pan.

You will heat the pan until it’s ready. then place each panini inside the pan. You will need to use the back of a spatula or lay something weighted like another pan over the paninis to smash them down. Cook until both sides are golden with well-defined grill marks.

Then lightly layer one side with the zucchini. Next, fold 3-4 slices of the deli ham right on top of the zucchini then top with your other slice of bread.

Tools You May Need To Make a Ham and Zucchini Panini

Cuisinart Panini Press

Cast Iron Grill Pan

Tips For Making Ham and Zucchini Panini

  • When making any sort of panini it is important to spread the outside of your bread with brushed olive oil or even butter spread on. It helps provide a nice crispy outside to the panini. That will result in a golden crust.
  • Be sure to grill the zucchini first for this panini recipe. I had one reader who didn’t and was not happy with the results. Though there are not many steps in this recipe, they are all important to the final result and should not be skipped.

FAQ For Ham and Zucchini Panini

What is the best bread to make paninis with?

I like to use sliced sourdough as the recipe calls for but using Italian-style bread is more traditional. Focaccia, ciabatta and even baguettes work well for panini. If you are a bread baker with a sourdough starter, be sure to check out this recipe for Sourdough Focaccia Bread. It works great for making paninis.

Is a cast-iron skillet or panini press best?

It is all a matter of preference. I like using a panini press to get that even golden grilled crisp outside of the panini. But as shown, I have used a grill pan which only works to crisp up the sandwich and not give it that deep grill mark I can get with a press. If you use a pan, you can weigh the panini down with the spatula or another heavy pan on top while it cooks.

What makes it a panini?

Well, a panini is really just a grilled sandwich made with Italian bread. It doe not have to necessarily be made with a panini press. So if you don’t have one a cast-iron grill pan will work fine.

Serving Suggestions for Ham and Zucchini Panini

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If you try this recipe and love it, I would appreciate you coming back to give it 5 stars!

a ham and zucchini panini on a plate

Ham and Zucchini Panini

Yield: 2 Panini's
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

A cripy grilled sandwhich filled with ham,zucchini and dressed with pesto.

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini sliced thinly in long sandwich slices (think sandwich pickles)
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 8 -10 slices deli sliced ham
  • 4-6 tbsp of Pesto
  • Olive oil for grilling

Instructions

  1. Slice the zucchini into long thin strips. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper.
  2. Place a grill pan on medium heat. Drizzle olive oil into the pan. Grill both sides of each slice of zucchini. Place on a plate and set aside.
  3. To assemble the paninis, brush one side of the sourdough slices with olive oil.
  4. On the reverse side, spoon a scoop of pesto onto each slice of bread. Spread evenly across.
  5. Then lay a strip of grilled zucchini over the pesto and folded sliced ham over the zucchini (as shown).
  6. Place the other side of the bread on. Then either using a panini press or the cast iron grill pan, it's time to grill the panini. If using a press, simply turn it on. Place the paninis in, close the lid and wait for the panini press to do its magic.
  7. If using a cast iron grill pan. You will heat the pan until it's ready. then place each panini inside the pan. You will need to use the back of a spatula or lay something weighted like another pan over the paninis to smash them down.
  8. Cook until both sides are golden with well-defined grill marks.

Notes

You will need a panini press or a cast iron grill pan (recommended)

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 433Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 225mgSodium: 454mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 7gSugar: 16gProtein: 9g

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*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

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