Crispy bread, creamy pesto, and loads of warm, savory veggies—are you drooling yet? These superb sandwiches are the answer to all your mealtime woes. Yellow squash and spinach are sautéd with tangy red onions and sun-dried tomatoes to create the perfect plant-based panini filling. Make sure to whip up an extra large batch of the homemade white bean pesto (which gets a cheesy boost from nutritional yeast) so you can use leftovers as a pizza sauce or a dip for raw veggies. Press it all between two slices of whole wheat bread, and you have an excellent meal on your hands. Take it up a notch by adding a cup of tomato soup on the side!

Tip: If you don’t have a panini press, toast the sandwiches in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, turning once. Press sandwiches with a heavy skillet while they cook.

For more awesome vegan sandwich recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Nancy Macklin, RDN,


  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and liquid (aquafaba) reserved
  • 1 large yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 8 slices whole grain bread


  • For pesto, in a food processor combine the first five ingredients (through cayenne pepper). Cover and pulse until smooth, gradually adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved aquafaba to reach desired consistency. In a small bowl combine beans and half of the pesto. Mash beans with a fork until mostly smooth.
  • In a large skillet cook summer squash, onion, and sun-dried tomatoes over medium 3 to 4 minutes or until squash is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Stir in spinach just until wilted; remove from heat.
  • Spread remaining pesto on four slices of bread and bean mixture on other four slices. Press vegetables into bean mixture. Top with pesto-spread slices of bread.
  • Heat panini press to medium-high. Add a sandwich; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until bread is toasted. Serve immediately.

Comments (18)

(5 from 7 votes)

Recipe Rating

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This was delicious. I also added cilantro to the pesto hummus because it had some around. I think if I made this in the future, I would cut the vegetables and sun dried tomatoes into a small dice, cook them, and mix them into the hummus mixture to make it easier to assemble and eat. When they're left in large pieces, chunks of veggie fall out as you eat it.


Did not like this recipe


Delicious and filling. I will be making this again


Can I sub ground flax for the pine nuts in the pesto part of the recipe? My husband is nut free.


I found this on the internet: "Pine nuts in pesto can easily be replaced by other nuts: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and even sunflower seeds, are all a perfect pine nut replacement."


Hemp seeds might be a good sub for pine nuts. Similar mouthfeel.


What can I sub for pine nuts in the pesto part of the recipe? Ground flax, maybe??


This looks really good

Beth Ann

where can you find whole grain bread that looks like this? I don’t think Dave’s bread will get crisp like the photo?


Ezekiel bread

Selah Beisel

I do not have a sandwich presser, what could I use instead?

Liz Turner

Toast each sandwich in a dry skillet over medium heat, and use a second skillet (with a couple of soup cans inside) to weigh it down. You'll need to flip each sandwich to toast on both sides.


I toasted the bread in the toaster. However I’m adding a panini press to my Christmas list

Elise Ching

I picked up a George Foreman Grill at my local thrift store many years ago and use it to make panini-style sandwiches and a bunch of other things. The grates are non-stick; perfect for no oil cooking. They come in a variety of sizes too.


Very pretty and flavorful. It will be a family favorite!

Joyce Breuninger

I have not yet made this, but it sounds phenomenal. My husband cannot eat anything with nutritional yeast due to HS, can you provide a substitute?


I just left it out and didn’t notice any lack of flavor.

Joyce Breuninger

What could be used in place of nutritional yeast? My husband has HS, a skin condition, and cannot eat it.

About the Author

Headshot of Nancy Macklin

About the Author

Nancy Macklin, RDN

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Macklin worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals. Find her on LinkedIn.
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