Food You Can Eat: Grilled Caprese Sandwiches

Image via My version doesn't come out looking nearly as nice as this.

I love a good Caprese salad, don’t you? It’s sliced mozzarella and tomatoes, arugula, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar. Its name is a reference to Capri, where it is thought to have been invented, and the colors reflect Italy’s flag: green, white, and red. But we’re Americans so why stop there? Make a sandwich out of the whole thing and grill it! This recipe serves two, making four sandwiches in total.


8 slices of ciabatta bread sliced from the middle of the loaf, about 1/2″ thick

8 slices of mozzarella, not too thick, and large enough to cover a ciabatta slice

4 plum tomatoes, or maybe a little more, depending on how large your ciabatta slices are, sliced fairly thin

Torn arugula, enough to create a single layer on 4 sandwiches

4 “dollops” of pesto (my very scientific term)

A little olive oil

Some grated Parmesan cheese, maybe about 1/4 cup

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and the Parmesan. Assemble the sandwiches: On each of four slices of ciabatta, add one slice mozzarella (ideally large enough to almost cover your slices), add a layer of tomato slices, top with arugula, add the remaining 4 slices of mozzarella, one each, smear on the pesto, and top with the remaining ciabatta slices. So now you have four sandwiches.

Brush both sides of each sandwich with the Parmesan/olive oil mix. Place in a skillet and toast, and the mozzarella will melt. Flip, and do the other side for a minute or two. Or, better yet, do this on a countertop grill or even better, a panini press, if you have one. With the panini press don’t bother with the Parmesan/olive oil mix, there’s no flipping and it will squish the sandwiches. For that matter, if you have a panini press, do it that way, slice the sandwiches into quarters, and serve as warm party appetizers, they’re almost tapas-like, but what am I talking about, I’m entering Month 13 of this infernal lockdown…



  1. @MatthewCrawley Yum! I am lucky enough to live in a “garden spot”, which includes farmer’s markets offering fresh mozzarella swimming in whey. Also local artisan crusty ciabatta is available. We have made our own pesto from basil from the garden, and the plum/roma tomato plant is soon able to be planted. This is going to be a pleasure to make. I do not have the garden of  @butcherbakertoiletrymaker, but I do have a very curated herb and veg bed. Can’t wait o make this!

  2. Torn arugula

    4 “dollops” of pesto


    Caprese salad is only made with whole basil leaves, forever and ever, amen.  Using arugula and pesto is like having your trailer trash cousin over for a formal dinner party–but that cousin thinks if they wear black tennis shoes with their rented tuxedo it will be fine.

    • Haha I was going to say – where’s this arugula coming from? I don’t object to it though.
      I looove caprese salads and sandwiches. I haven’t done one in too long, I’ll have to remedy that. I like the idea of grilling it with some parm and olive oil. 

      • It is a little maximalist but we are big guys. Plus we had the arugula to use up so why not? Anything to get a little more good nutrients into the diet. I paired this with a bottle of mid-range Chardonnay, which probably negated the health benefits, but life is too short. 

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