Entrees, Greg's Vegan Gourmet, Vegan Food

Easy Vegan Chicken Pesto Panini (20 Minute Recipe)


Have you been seeing video after video of amazing restaurant quality sandwiches while scrolling through your instagram? Do you get immeditately disappointed after coming face to face with the realization that there is no way you will ever be able to replicate that perfectly golden bread? Not to mention the gooey melted cheese and quantity of sauce it would need to make it feel like the real deal. Well, that’s where I’ve got you covered. Try this Easy Vegan Chicken Pesto Panini for an easy 20 minute lunch recipe!


Air fried chicken cutlets and homemade vegan pesto layered on a bed of sourdough, vegan cheese and red onion make for the perfect lunch panini.

What is a vegan chicken pesto panini?

What ingredients are in a vegan chicken pesto panini?

For this easy homemade recipe, I recommend using nothing but fresh ingredients for best results. Head to your local bakery for your favourite focaccia, ciabatta or baguette. Sourdough has always been my bread of choice. If you don’t grow your own herbs, head to the store to pick up some fresh basil, garlic, and red onion or shallots. And See the below list of ingredients for the chicken pesto panini recipe and my top recommendations to make this the panini sandwich:

Ingredients for the panini:

  • slices of vegan fresh mozzarella cheese or provolone cheese (I used Gusta and Daiya)
  • extra firm tofu
  • veggies (tomato, spinach, arugula)
  • Optional: lightly salted chips for extra crunch
  • Fresh sourdough
  • vegan butter or olive oil for cooking
  • panini press

How to make an easy vegan chicken pesto panini?

Steps to make the sandwich:

The steps to this plant based sandwich recipe are quick and easy. Follow these simple instructions to make a hearty sandwich in the comfort of your own home.

First things first, you need to make the flavourful party of this recipe! I like to use simple ingredients to make the fresh basil pesto sauce. Not only that, but making it vegan is very easy! Simply combine the ingredients into a food processor and blend until the ideal consistency.

In a small bowl, toss the cutlets of tofu in a mixture of breadcrumbs and flour before baking to replace the typical chicken breasts. With a quick 10 minutes in the air fryer, you will have perfectly crunchy exterior. If baking instead, douse the tofu chunks in cooking spray or vegetable oil for best results.

Now the fun part! Begin to layer the vegan cheese slices, protein, vegan pesto and vegetables before pressing in the panini. In less than five minutes you have the perfect weekday lunch idea.


FAQ about vegan chicken pesto panini recipes

How Many calories in a chicken pesto panini?

I recommend using MyFitnessPal for accurate information regarding fiber, carbohydrates, salt(sodium), potassium etc.

What kind of bread should I use for panini’s?

I recommend a firm loaf of bread that will withstand the press of the hot panini without breaking such as sourdough or a ciabatta bun.

Should you spray your panini press?

Yes! I like to spray the press with cooking oil or vegan butter before cooking for a golden brown sandwich with flavor.

What goes with pesto chicken?

I recommend sides like soups or salads to go with a panini sandwich. Try this herb meatball and dumpling soup recipe or this vegan chicken pretzel crunch salad for a deliciously filling flavor pairing.

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Easy Vegan Chicken Pesto Panini (20 Minute Recipe)

  • Author: Gregs Vegan Gourmet
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 1


Air fried chicken cutlets and homemade vegan pesto layered on a bed of sourdough, vegan cheese and red onion make for the perfect lunch panini.


The Sandwich:

  • 2 slices sourdough bread or ciabatta
  • 1/4 diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter

Seitan Chicken:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 3/41 cup vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • (Optional) Replace seitan with 1 block extra firm tofu


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp paprika salt & pepper to taste
  • 21/2 cups broth for simmering
  • oil for frying


  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup kale
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • generous pinch of salt


    1. Make the seitan chicken: Whisk together seitan dry ingredients until combined. Add broth and stir until it forms a dough ball.
    2. Knead a few times with your hands until dough has no dry spots.
    3. Add rest of broth to instant pot. Rip off chunks of seitan and add to pot. Cook on “manual” for 15 minutes. Once it is done, quick release steam.
    4. Meanwhile, whisk together breading ingredients. When seitan is done, toss in the breading mixture until coated.
    5. Heat a large frying pan with oil. When hot, add seitan and fry a few minutes per side until crispy and golden brown. Remove from pan and plate into a paper towel-lined bowl to rest. (If you have access to an air fryer, fry on 400 degrees F for 10 minutes until golden brown).
    6. Make the pesto: Add pesto ingredients to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth(ish).
    7. Onto each slice of bread, layer the pesto blend, vegan cheese, and seitan chicken and red onion.
    8. Add to oil coated panini press and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown and crunchy on both sides. Remove from heat and serve.


Store leftover seitan chicken in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a frying pan or in the oven until crispy.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15

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