The Figgy Panini Delight is a warm, caramelized sweet fig, topped with a gooey, creamy vegan cheese nestled between two crispy brown slices of gluten-free bread that have been bathed in melted nut butter. This is not just your average sandwich or dessert!
Combining the taste of refreshing fruit with the caramelized sweetness of coconut palm sugar and nut butter with a hint of cinnamon, topped with the creamy goodness of vegan cheese is well . . . quite a conundrum. Is it a great sandwich, with the sweet and salty goodness, or is it a dessert? It’s both! This could be the new PB&J! Choose your bread and you are on your way. I titled this post gluten-free and vegan because the recipe is what’s on the inside. When selecting a bread to use it may be helpful to first read my post on the Battle of the Gluten-free Breads. If your primary concern is that this panini is gluten-free then any of the three breads in that post will work for you. If your primary concern is that there are no animal products, then of the three breads Schar will be your choice.
I have to admit that until recent times all that a fig meant to me was a Fig Newton or Fig Newman. The robust sweetness of the dried fig had never piqued my interest in fresh figs. Then one day in the grocery store, I found myself staring at a bunch of fresh figs. They looked interesting and inviting, if you will. Yeah, that’s a scary look into the mind of a food blogger! I decided today was the day. I left the store with fresh figs in hand. After cutting one open and tasting it I was surprised. It was not at all the thick sweetness that I had expected. It was sweet, but balanced by an almost tart complement that hit the palate at the finish. At this aha moment I finally understood the lure of this fruit. It’s mild flavor was one that could enhance dishes sweet or savory — a raw salad or a cooked panini! Figs are also quite the unsung hero in the nutrient world. Their level of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is unsurpassed by equal servings of apples or strawberries.
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