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Recipe | Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto Recipe

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto
When I make asparagus, nine times out of ten, I roast it. Steamed asparagus is good and sautรฉed asparagus is better, but neither compare to roasted asparagus. Just like with cauliflower, roasting mellows the flavor of asparagus. It gets caramelized and tender and just perfect in every way. As soon as I saw spring asparagus at the grocery store, I knew I had to buy it, but other than roasting it, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Asparagus for PaniniRoasted Asparagus Pesto
I played around with different ideas and settled on a sandwich. Roasted asparagus sandwich! You never see asparagus on a sandwich, right?! But then the more I thought about it, I realized there’s probably a reason for that–asparagus would be a little bit unwieldy on a sandwich. So I decided to make an asparagus pesto to spread onto the sandwich and I topped that with roasted shiitake mushrooms and Fontina cheese.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Believe it or not, I grilled this on my Griddler, but I can never get nice grill marks on my panini, no matter how long I let it sit on there. Well, the inside still got nice and melty, which is more important than the aesthetics, I think.

Served with a light spring salad, this Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto is a great way to say hello to asparagus season. Hello, asparagus season! I will enjoy the heck out of you!


Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto Recipe

A rustic panini made with shiitake mushrooms, Fontina cheese, and roasted asparagus pesto.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches


  • olive oil mister or cooking spray
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps cut into thick strips
  • 1/4 c. almonds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into four equal pieces and halved lengthwise
  • 1 c. shredded Fontina cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil mister.
  2. Place shiitake mushrooms on one side of baking sheet and place asparagus and garlic cloves on other side. Spray tops with additional olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  3. Transfer asparagus and garlic to food processor. Add almonds and olive oil. Pulse until finely chopped but not mashed; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat electric grill or panini press on high. Spread asparagus pesto on each half of ciabatta bread. Top four bottom pieces of bread with a quarter of the mushrooms and 1/4 cup of cheese. Place other half of bread on top and press down.
  5. Transfer panini to grill and close lid. Grill for about 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

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  • Reply
    Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats
    March 25, 2013 at 7:56 am

    beautiful! And this sounds so wonderful!!

  • Reply
    Cassie | Bake Your Day
    March 25, 2013 at 8:36 am

    These photos are stunning! I would love one of these for breakfast! Asparagus pesto is a great idea!

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    March 25, 2013 at 9:33 am

    When you said asparagus on a sandwich is unwieldy, I immediately thought of Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura wearing a few spears like a walrus and saying “do I have something in my teeth?”

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Oh yum asparagus pesto sounds super good, got to try that out soon!

  • Reply
    shelly (cookies and cups)
    March 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Asparagus Pesto? You are killing me!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian
    March 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I’m not a fan of shiitake mushrooms but these photos are some of the best I’ve seen on your blog โ€“ almost good enough for me to want to eat a shiitake mushroom!

    Roasted asparagus pesto on the other hand? Now that looks like a concoction made in heaven ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you! But how can you not like shiitake mushrooms?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I LOVE Shiitake mushrooms – they are my favorites.

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    March 25, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I posted an asparagus recipe today too – woo hoooooo spring! Roasted asparagus pesto – you are the smartest. ever. EVER. And with almonds, too. Genius. And that photo of the asparagus bunch is unbelievably gorgeous, by the way. Frame-worthy.

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you! Is it weird that asparagus is my favorite thing to photograph? I have about 50 photos from that shoot with asparagus in various poses. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    March 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Good heavens, that looks mighty yummy!

  • Reply
    Alissa N
    March 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    This looks incredible, asparagus and grilled cheese are like my 2 favorite foods right now!! I am kind of considering picking up a panini press because of my new found affection for grilled cheese, do you have a fave brand? (Affiliate link welcome, I love to support my favorite blogs!)

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      I don’t have a panini press, but I do have a Cuisinart Griddler (and since you asked, yup, that is an affiliate link!). Before that, I had a George Foreman grill and I wanted to love it (especially since it turned into a waffle maker!), but the non-stick finish chipped off after a year. We’ve had our Griddler for 2 years now, we use it once or twice a week, and it’s holding up well. Like I mentioned in my post, I can never get those nice grill marks with it, but it cooks everything perfectly. It does pancakes WAY better than our stovetop!

      • Reply
        Alissa N
        March 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        Yay! Thanks!! Just ordered it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Reply
          March 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm

          I hope you like it as much as I like mine! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    ea-the spicy rd
    March 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Oh, my, yum!!! I am so with you about roasted asparagus being the best. I have always loved asparagus, even as a kid, but didn’t discover roasting it until a couple of years ago. Seriously cant wait to make this!!!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I loved asparagus as a kid too! We were weird kids, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Sounds good and looks even better! I like the idea of changing up pesto by using asparagus. Great idea!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    March 25, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Totally drooling over this. I knew I should have bought some of those bulk shitakes last time I was at Whole Foods! I’ve actually never cooked with fontina so I’m really excited to try this. Especially with that crusty ciabatta ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Fontina is my go-to cheese lately. It’s a little more flavorful than mozzarella, but not so flavorful that it competes with other flavors in a recipe. If that makes sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    March 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I can’t wait for the green asparagus season to arrive! The panini looks delectable.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Looks great!! The only way I can get great marks on paninis is when I use butter! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Ah, I should try that next time. I used to use olive oil and that didn’t do the trick, so I figured since I wasn’t getting grill marks anyway, I’d just cut out the fat.

  • Reply
    Katie (The Muffin Myth)
    March 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Wow, you’ve got asparagus already?! I wish spring would hurry up and arrive here! The pesto is a genius idea, love it.

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      We get everything early here! I am completely spoiled.

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    March 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    This looks so yummy! I never thought to make pesto out of asparagus! Mmmm can’t wait to try this! But gotta wait til I actually start seeing some asparagus at the farmers market… ๐Ÿ™

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      I will make pesto out of anything! Sometimes with success, other times not. But this one was a success. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    a farmer in the dell
    March 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    this is my kind of sandwich. Love everything going on in between those slices of bread!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    What a fabulous sandwich! I am craing that asparagus pesto right now.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    March 25, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I love shiitake mushrooms, what an incredible panini!

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board
    March 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I can’t wait for asparagus season here! I love the sounds of an asparagus pesto, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before! And it would be much easier to eat than trying to bite apart stalks of asparagus in your sandwich, though even that would still taste good with the fontina and ciabatta – yum!

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Yeah, I was trying to think of a way to do asparagus on a sandwich that would be easy to bite into. First I thought whole stalks, then I thought I’d try cutting the stalks into small pieces, then I ended up doing pesto. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    March 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    The combination of asparagus and mushrooms sounds fantastic, especially with pesto sauce! And all put together in a sandwich? It sounds like a winner :).

  • Reply
    sarah @ two tarts
    March 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I’m intrigued by the idea of asparagus pesto. Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com
    March 26, 2013 at 2:31 am

    I love how unique this sandwich is! Shiitake and asparagus pesto! Yum! I, too, prefer roasted asparagus over steamed or sauteed – I like to toss asparagus in some olive oil and soy sauce and then grill it.

    • Reply
      March 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      I just got a grill pan so I’ve been wanting to try making asparagus on that!

  • Reply
    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    March 26, 2013 at 2:56 am

    This is one great sandwich. I love asparaguses and in sandwich it will be perfect.

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