More Than Sandwiches: 10 Ways to Use Your Panini Press Every Day

Certainly you don't need a panini press to make grilled sandwiches, but if you happen to have one of these appliances, it can do much more than the name implies. A multitasking panini maker can be used to cook all sorts of foods quickly, creatively, and often healthfully.

From dinner to dessert, on busy weeknights or when it's too cold to grill outdoors, here are ten more uses for a panini press:

1. Vegetables: Use the panini press as a mini grill to make sweet, smoky asparagus, eggplant, sweet potato slices, kale — you name it. Before grilling, brush or toss the vegetables with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2. Meat: Thin, boneless cuts of meat can be cooked quickly without the need for a lot of fat. A panini press is great for making bacon and kebabs, too.

3. Tofu: Marinate sliced tofu during the day (try these lemongrass and Korean BBQ marinades) and then throw it in the panini press for an easy dinner.

4. Halloumi: When grilled, halloumi cheese develops a golden crust with a milky soft center. It's wonderful as an appetizer or salad topper.

5. Mochi: Both savory and sweet varieties of mochi are delicious on the grill, where these glutinous rice cakes turn crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside.

6. Polenta: Grill polenta slices in the panini press and use them as a base for dinner or dessert.

7. Fruit: Sprinkle sliced fruit (pineapple, stone fruits, and figs are especially good) with a little sugar and grill it in the panini press for an excellent dessert on its own or alongside cake.

8. Pound cake: Speaking of cake, how about a slice of warm, toasty pound cake? Brush the sides with butter before pressing.

9. Mini cakes: Check out this idea for baking tiny cakes in a panini press.

10. Ice cream cones: Homemade cones! This brilliant recipe comes from Panini Happy.

Got more ideas? Share them in the comments.

Related: Making Multitaskers of Unitaskers: Share Your Stories!

(Image: Williams-Sonoma, Breville Panini Press)