It's No Sacrifice

I have no idea who won the Pancake Day race in Olney. Mardi Gras beads have been stashed away. Paczkis and other sweet treats are indulgences of yesterday. Ash Wednesday, the sobering season of Lent starts with a no meat fast day. On the menu -- hot satisfying veggie paninis.

Panini literally means little bread, Italian for a sandwich. Delicious and nutritious vegetarian panini is easy to prepare using ingredients you may even have on hand. Fresh mushrooms add a thick meaty texture to a vegetarian treat. Try other types of sliced mushrooms, grated Swiss cheese and spinach for a different taste.

And if Father Michael happens to ask about Lenten sacrifice, I'll simply say we had grilled cheese sandwiches for supper. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. As for Friday's fish, I'm thinkin' lobster roll. Waddaya think?

1 tbsp olive oil
2 large portabella mushroom caps
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced into thin strips
¼ cup chopped green olives
6 ounces soft goat cheese
1 cup baby arugula leaves
8 slices sourdough bread, ¾ inch thick

Using a small spoon, scrape the undersides of each mushroom cap to remove the black "gills" before slicing each mushroom cap in half. Slice the mushrooms into strips crossways.

Heat oil in medium sized frying pan over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until until the mushrooms are tender and natural juices are released. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the cheese, chopped olives and red pepper; spread evenly on bottom half of four bread slices. Arrange the mushrooms, and spinach leaves, evenly on top of cheese mixture. Top each with a plain bread slice and press firmly.

Place sandwich in preheated sandwich grill (according to manufacturer’s directions) for about 5-6 minutes or melt a pat of butter in a fry pan and brown each side about 4 minutes each until lightly browned. Cut sandwiches in half to serve. Makes four sandwiches.


  1. Your idea of Lent DEFINITELY appeals to me! I'm a big panini fan--or, come to think of it, grilled cheese fan--and I think this combination sounds wonderful.


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