Looking for new grilled chicken meal ideas for easy weeknight dinners? With the back-to-school rush on or nearly here depending on where you live, you’ll want something convenient to cook up that the whole family will love.
That’s why this grilled chicken panini sandwich recipe is my go-to, busy weeknight dinner since it’s made on an countertop George Foreman Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press. No need to grill outdoors on a buggy night or go out and buy an expensive panini press!
Yes, the fat does collect in the little tray at the bottom, which is a nice feature when grilling chicken. Plus, you can remove the grill plates and wash them in the dishwasher, which is super convenient.
Tasty Greek yogurt marinated chicken
But how to make this grilled chicken panini sandwich recipe special? First, I marinated the chicken breasts in Greek yogurt flavored with my favorite bottled balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Super simple and so very delicious!
For color, I added strips of red pepper. I grilled these on the George Foreman Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press. But to save time, you can use jarred red peppers. I like using jarred red peppers in salads and pasta, too!
The final touch to this quick grilled chicken breast recipe was using a shredded Italian cheese blend. The tart flavor of the Greek yogurt and the sweet flavors of the balsamic vinaigrette and grilled red pepper meshed perfectly with the Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano, and Asiago cheeses. But you can use slices of mozzarella or Swiss instead.
Prepping the yogurt marinated chicken breast
Depending on where you buy your chicken breasts, half a breast may be perfect for one Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich. However, I found that the ones I bought at my grocery store were HUGE and three were more than enough for my family since I was able to trim down two of the larger ones to use on the forth panini sandwich.
You’ll want to flatten and tenderize the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer tool, so the chicken absorbs the marinate better and grills more evenly. I highly recommend using a Jaccard Supertendermatic 48-Blade Tenderizer and highly recommend that you buy yourself one, too.
Remember plan accordingly! Marinate the chicken first thing in the morning when making your grilled chicken panini sandwich recipes for dinner that night.
This Mama’s easy hack for making the perfect Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich
This isn’t in my original instructions for making the grilled chicken panini sandwich recipe. However, if you don’t want your panini to stick to the grill, slather on a thin coating of your favorite olive oil mayonnaise to the outside of the panini sandwich.
If mayo grosses you out, you can use a little of that balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the outside of your Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich. Or just spray the George Foreman Removable Plate Grill and Panini Press with some olive oil cooking spray per my instructions.
While you can use regular white bread or whole wheat bread, try this grilled chicken panini recipe on your favorite gluten free bread. Everything else about this yummy Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich recipe is naturally gluten free!
Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich
- 3-4 half chicken breasts (enough to make 4 sandwiches)
- 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
- 1 large red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 8 strips
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 8 slices bread (whole wheat or gluten free)
- 2 cups shredded italian cheese blend (1/2 cup per panini)
- Combine the Greek yogurt and balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board. Vigorously tenderize both sides of the chicken with a blade meat tenderizer tool until the meat is as flat and even as you can get it.
- Place chicken in a large zip lock plastic baggie. Pour in marinate. Push out extra air and seal.
- Place baggie on a tray or large plate (in case of accidental leaks) in the refrigerator up to 12 hours before grilling.
To grill chicken and peppers:
- Heat grill and coat with cooking spray.
- Remove chicken from baggie and throw out marinade.
- Place half the pepper strips and one of the chicken half breasts on the countertop grill and close. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through – cooking time will depend on how hot your countertop grill gets. Note that peppers take longer to cook than chicken. Peppers should have nice grill marks and be soft when fully cooked.) Keep cooked chicken warm in oven.
- Add another half breast to the grill and repeat process. Remove cooked peppers from countertop grill and place in oven to keep warm.
- Repeat process until all chicken and peppers have been cooked.
To grill paninis:
- Wipe down countertop grill with paper towels and coat with cooking spray.
- Remove cooked chicken and red peppers from oven.
- To assemble panini, spray outside of bread with cooking spray. Then lay bread flat and sprinkle 1/4 cup of Sargento Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian on one slice of bread. Layer chicken, 2 pepper strips, 1/4 cup of Sargento Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian, and the second layer of bread.
- Carefully lay panini down on the hot surface of your grill. (Depending on size of your countertop grill, you may want to do two panini at a time.) Press lid down firmly and apply gentle pressure. Cook until the bread is golden brown. (Cooking time will depend on how hot your countertop grill gets.)
- Remove from grill and place on cutting board. Cut panini on a diagonal with a serrated knife and serve immediately.
- Serving size: 1 sandwich
Originally published on February 20, 2015. Updated with new pictures and information.