Loaded with grilled, marinated chicken, sauteed onions and peppers, and a handful of Monterey Jack cheese, this Chicken Fajita Panini is one delicious sandwich!
I love a good sandwich. No, check that. I love a great sandwich. As my wife will tell you, I’m always on the hunt for a delicious sandwich. Hoagies, subs, po’ boys, grinders…I’m not picky about the name. I just need it to be delicious! I suspect that my love of sandwiches probably contributes slightly to my love of baking rustic breads. It’s hard to beat a slice of perfectly chewy Italian bread…especially when it’s topped with a variety of Italian meats and cheeses! But I went a different direction today. We made a batch of delicious chicken fajitas recently. I started wondering what would happen if I turned those fajitas into a sandwich. It didn’t take long before these Chicken Fajita Paninis were invented! Loaded with grilled, marinated chicken and topped with a pile of sauteed onions and peppers and a handful of Monterey Jack cheese, this Chicken Fajita Panini claims a pretty high ranking on my list of favorite sandwiches!
The secret to making these Chicken Fajita Paninis taste so darned good is the marinade. The chicken gets marinated overnight in a flavorful and simple mixture that makes a world of difference when it comes to taste. (I know it looks like a lot of ingredients in the marinade, but it’s not that bad. It only takes about 10 minutes to make…and it’s so worth the time it takes. Trust me on this one!) This time, I chose to cook the chicken indoors using a grill pan, but this is a great recipe for the grill, too! The onions and peppers will still have to be sauteed indoors, but the chicken will taste even better off of a grill. In fact, you could get adventurous and grill the sandwiches once they’re assembled. (You might need to wrap each one in aluminum foil just to keep the insides from falling out on the grill, though. Full disclosure: I haven’t tried grilling the sandwiches outdoors yet, but I think I need to fix that problem soon!)
Need some more sandwich inspiration? Try this New Orleans-style Muffaletta or this Crazy Sriracha Grilled Cheese! What is your favorite sandwich? I’m always hunting for inspiration…be it a new combination or just an old favorite!
Chicken Fajita Paninis
For the Chicken Marinade
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp onion powder
For the Sandwiches
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil divided
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2 bell peppers sliced (I like to use 1 red and 1 green)
- 1½ cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 4 large Ciabatta rolls halved
- salsa for dipping (optional)
- In a small bowl, add all of the Marinade ingredients and whisk together until well combined. Use a fork to pierce each chicken breast in several places and then place the chicken breasts in a medium-sized glass baking dish. Pour Marinade over the chicken breasts; cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and sliced peppers. Saute for 5-6 minutes, and then add the sliced onions. Continue sautéing over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-18 more minutes or until peppers and onions are soft.
- Meanwhile, place another large frying pan or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and place in the pan. Discard marinade. Cook chicken until done (~15-18 minutes), flipping after 10 minutes.
- Once chicken is done, transfer to a cutting board and slice into ¾” strips.
- Place a grill pan or frying pan over medium heat and brush with the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil. Place the bottom half of each ciabatta roll in the pan. Top each sandwich with ¼ cup of Monterey Jack cheese, 1/3 cup of sautéed onions and peppers, and several strips of grilled chicken. Sprinkle a little more Monterey Jack cheese on top and then place the remaining half of the ciabatta roll on top. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side, or until cheese is fully melted.
- Serve hot with a side of salsa for dipping (optional).