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Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto Recipe

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus PestoThis Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto recipe is the perfect way to welcome spring. If you love roasted asparagus, you will love this sandwich!

Steamed Asparagus

When I make asparagus, nine times out of ten, I roast it. Steamed asparagus is good and sautéed 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 MushroomsAbout the Recipe

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 Recipe

Shiitake Panini with Roasted Asparagus Pesto

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
Servings: 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 cup almonds toasted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread cut into four equal pieces and halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese shredded


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil mister.
  • 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.
  • Transfer asparagus and garlic to food processor. Add almonds and olive oil. Pulse until finely chopped but not mashed; season with salt and pepper.
  • 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.
  • Transfer panini to grill and close lid. Grill for about 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
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  • Reply
    March 26, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Wowser, I am LOVING the sound of this combo! So clever

  • Reply
    Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    March 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I’m so hungry right now and that sandwich not only sounds, but looks amazing.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I can imagine biting into a sandwich stuffed with whole asparagus spears wouldn’t make for very attractive eating! This pesto sounds like the perfect solution – sounds so fresh and springy, and I like how you paired it with mushrooms and fontina. I can’t wait to see local asparagus here!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    March 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    i always roast asparagus too – it’s so fast! and yummy! And making pesto, which I love, sounds way easier to eat than all those little stalks in a sandwich 🙂

  • Reply
    Courtney @ The Fig Tree
    March 26, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Wow! Asparagus pesto!? What a GREAT idea. Sounds delicious – especially on a sandwich!

  • Reply
    March 26, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    You certainly outdid yourself with this one! So very creative and it looks beyond delicious! It’s asparagus season now so I have to give this a try. Your pictures are beautiful but I especially love the one of the asparagus bunch. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you–I hope you like it if you make it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
    March 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    This delicious! A great way to use asparagus that will hopefully be going on sale soon!

  • Reply
    angela @ another bite please
    March 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    your photo of the mushroom is so pretty…i love that the mushroom really looks pretty…i’ve alredy pinned this recipe can’t wait to make when asparagus is fresh by us….this is my kind of sandwich!

    • Reply
      March 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Thank you! I love mushrooms–I actually have framed paintings of mushrooms in my living room. 😀

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    March 30, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Only one word for this….BRILLIANT!!!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2013 at 2:15 am

    This looks like a great idea for asparagus. I bet it would be great on pasta too. I’m totally going to try this soon!

    • Reply
      April 12, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      I definitely want to try it on pasta too!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2016 at 2:03 am

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing these details.

  • Reply
    Anupama Chopra
    March 19, 2019 at 5:52 am

    5 stars
    Looks delicious… Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.

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