Herb Pesto Fontina Panini

In this fresh herb pesto fontina panini, I make a quick pesto out of mint, basil, parsley and chives.The pesto is then panini’d with gooey fontina cheese in slices of buttered sourdough.

If you know me even a little bit you know I’m a total pesto lovah. Something about the bright green color and fresh flavor that reminds me of Spring! And making pesto is so gosh darn EASY too.

It’s so easy you’ll be known as the crazy pesto lady with a food blog that has eight grilled cheese recipes and 4 of them contain pesto! Wait. That’s me. Okay forget the crazy part {because I’m not a crazy person}… then again forget the lady part too… it makes me feel old.


How about I skip to the pesto making… and the Fontina melting? K? Okay good.

Pesto is a great way to use and preserve herbs that you may have lingering in your fridge. When making pesto it’s best you use soft leafy herbs like basil, chervil, chives or parsley, even arugula is a great non-herb option too. Just steer clear of the herbs with woody stems i.e. thyme or rosemary.

Smash and roughly chop a small garlic clove.

Grab a handful of fresh mint and tear the leaves away from the tough stems.

Chop up some fresh basil and add the chopped garlic, fresh mint and chopped basil into a food processor, a mini one works excellent here.

Roughly chop some chives. You only need a handful.

And add them in as well.

Grab yet another handful of fresh parsley and roughly chop it.

Those go into the processor too.

Measure out a half a cup of olive oil.

Turn the food processor on…

To give everything a quick chop.

Turn it back on while gently streaming in the olive oil.

Add in the pecorino, put the lid back on and give it a quick pulse.

And there you have it, pesto!

Butter some bread. I really love sourdough. It gets all golden and crispy. It’s my bread of choice for sure.

Lay down some Fontina.

Spoon on a few tablespoons of the fresh herb pesto on to the cheese.

Place a second slice of buttered bread on top, butter side up.

Annnnnnnd press.

Now, I’m no panini expert. BUT, I pretty sure there is a section of my panini that’s missing some tan lines. I blame my inexpensive panini press. I’m looking into an upgrade… so any suggestions of a good panini press are welcomed.

The bread is one with the cheese which is one with the pesto. It’s fabulous.

The crispy factor is out of this world. Word.

And there you have it. Lunch is served.

Hi, my name is Laurie and I’m a pesto junkie. Thank you.


My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!


Herb Pesto Fontina Panini

Fresh herb pesto fontina panini; a pesto out of mint, basil, parsley and chives, then spread it on slices of sourdough with gooey fontina cheese

Yield: makes 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: about 6 to 8 minutes

Total Time: about 30 minutes


1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped

a handful of fresh mint, tough stems removed

a handful of fresh chives, roughly chopped

a large handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of olive oil

1-2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated

8 slices of sourdough bread

slices of fontina cheese (or freshly grated)

salted butter, room temperature


In a small food processor combine the garlic and herbs. Pulse to chop. While the processor is running slowly stream in the olive oil. Add in the grated cheese and pulse to combine.

Preheat a panini press and butter one side of each slice of bread. Lay one slice {butter side down}, top with slices of Fontina and spoon on a few tablespoons of pest and top with the second slice of bread {butter side up}. Press down and grill the panini until deep golden and crispy. Slice and devour.

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27 Responses to “Herb Pesto Fontina Panini”

  1. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — February 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Sigh. My name is Heather and I'm a pesto junkie too. And this is only feeding my addiction 🙂

  2. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — February 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Oh my gracious! I love any kinda of grown up grilled cheesy sandwiches, but that herby pesto? Get in my belly.

  3. #
    Blog is the New Black — February 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Ugh, I LOVE PESTO. And fontina. You just made me swoon.

  4. #
    Grubarazzi — February 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    What a gorgeous pesto. I best this would be the bomb on some angel hair pasta, too!

  5. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I bet you're right!!

  6. #
    Made in Sonoma — February 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    That looks pretty darn delicious!

  7. #
    Sandra M. — February 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Oh wow..I have to make this! I love how you made it and every time I come my mouth is watering just looking at you photos! Well done!!!!

  8. #
    Aarthi — February 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Wow..i love pesto a lot..this one looks so refreshing..Awesome panini..


  9. #
    RavieNomNoms — February 3, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Nom Noms City! This looks awesome Laurie. I love your pesto, that must have such an amazing flavor.

  10. #
    marthameetslucy — February 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Instead of buying a new panini press, try making it in your waffle iron. I know it sounds weird, but it works really well and it tells you when its done. The only caveat is I don't know if it would work in a Belgian waffle iron.

    Love the fontina and pesto combo.

  11. #
    Kiri W. — February 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Mmmm, the fresh pesto looks amazing! 🙂 And fontina cheese always works wonders. Great recipe!

  12. #
    Antonia @ Health Inspirations — February 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I'm literally drooling while reading this. That half-tanned panini looks delicious and I love the pesto idea (I'm sort of a pesto junkie myself!). Your photography is amazing. I only started photography a couple of months ago and was therefore wondering what settings you use?

  13. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Antonia! Thank you so much 🙂 I always shoot in manual mode. Oh and glad to know I'm not the only pesto junkie out there! Have a great weekend!

  14. #
    vegiebug — February 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I could possibly eat 3 of these right now. Your pesto sounds similar to a chimichurri sauce too. I'm a pesto lover just like you 😀 I think it's the green-ness!

  15. #
    Lauren's Latest — February 3, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Pesto lovers unite!

  16. #
    Challice M. — February 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    This made me soooo hungry! I am waiting until the spring comes so I can make stinging nettle pesto! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  17. #
    Cassie/Bake Your Day — February 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Definitely a fool for pesto. I love the combination of flavors in this one!

  18. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — February 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Mmm this panini looks lovely!

  19. #
    Turmericnspice — February 4, 2012 at 5:02 am

    love the pesto it looks awesome

  20. #
    Krissy's Creations — February 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I LOVE pesto, I LOVE fontina, I LOVE paninis. It's like you posted this just for me :). {If only!}.

  21. #
    Emily — February 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I had fontina on a sandwich about 6 months ago for the first time and I will never go to anything else…well maybe goat cheese but still. It is so good. This looks fantastic.

  22. #
    Mary — February 5, 2012 at 5:34 am

    This sounds mouthwatering. As if I wasn't already impatient enough for all my herbs to be ready in the garden! This is on my list to make soon. Thanks!

  23. #
    Veronica Gantley — February 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    What a wonderful recipe. It sounds pretty tasty. I bookmarked it to try later. Thanks for sharing.

  24. #
    Kimberly — February 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I love my Breville Panini maker, it's amazing!

  25. #
    Nichole — February 9, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I like the special better (vito) xo.

  26. #
    kita — February 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Mint in my grilled cheese? Yeah, I could so dig on that. All the flavors sound fresh and wonderful.

  27. #
    munchkin — July 2, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    that looks amazing, i have that for toasting bread, just need the blender, ill try this asap, thanks for the detailed recipe and pictures it helps

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