Triple-Decker Caprese Grilled Cheeze Panini
It's been warm and sunny here in Southern California (surprise, surprise), and our tomato plants are EXPLODING! We're growing 4 different varieties and picking anywhere from 4 to 20 tomatoes a day. It's a good thing we like 'em! We've been making bruschetta, soup, and eating 'em raw with a little olive oil and salt, but this sandwich may be my new favorite way. The best part? You can spread it with your very own, super simple, homemade vegan cheeze! And now you'll have a quick recipe anytime you want spreadable vegan cheese. Don't have cashews? Use any nut you have on hand; fun flavors abound from brazil nuts, macadamias, and pine nuts as well! Keep it gluten-free with gluten-free bread or sub in hearty portobellos for a bread-less alternative. But use three slices anyway- the triple-decker-ness is the best part!
1 cup cashews, soaked
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-4 tablespoons water
1 medium sized tomato, sliced OR 12ish cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
3 slices of bread (GF is that's your jam)
To make the cheeze, combine cashews, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and water in a food processor and mix until smooth. Scoop out, set aside.
Cut your tomatoes and basil, and set aside. Warm up your panini press (or just a greased pan on the stove). Assemble sandwich beginning with a slice of bread, a generous layer of your homemade cheeze, tomato slices, basil, and a sprinkle of pepper. Top with the next slice of bread, and repeat. Spread the final slice of bread with another thin layer of cheeze before topping the sandwich. Place in panini press until golden lines form and cheeze is melty, or grill until golden and crispy on both sides. If you prefer a crunchier sandwich (Alex does), consider toasting your middle slice before adding it to the sandwich. Enjoy immediately with a frosty bev. (Leftover cheezy spread can be stored in the fridge up to a week.)