Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella Panini with Tomato Mayo

Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella Panini with Tomato Mayo

Ahh, tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella – the classic combination never gets old!  It’s funny to believe that I had never even heard of a Caprese salad until four years ago…and we had to travel all the way to Capri to discover it! Since then, we’ve started growing our own tomatoes and basil just so we can always have these flavors on hand.

While we wait for our larger tomatoes ripen, cherry tomatoes and basil have been the stars of our garden. We developed this simple grilled sandwich to take advantage of the influx of cherry tomatoes. The addition of the homemade mayonnaise mixed with grilled tomato juice puts it over the top – it’s really quite divine!  Make sure not to skip the mayo – it really makes the sandwich (though if you’re running short on time, you could substitute purchased for homemade.)

We love using our grill as much as possible, but if you don’t have one, you can roast the tomatoes and toast the sandwich over the stovetop using a griddle or grill pan.

What are your favorite ways to play with tomatoes and basil?


Cherry Tomato and Mozzarella Panini with Tomato Mayo

1 Star (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4


  • 8 slices of sandwich bread
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 8 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • Handful of basil
  • Kosher salt
  • For the mayonnaise (or, substitute 1/2 cup store-bought mayo)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Immersion blender or a whisk and a strong arm


  1. Prepare your grill to medium-high heat. (If you don’t have a grill, you can roast the tomatoes for 15 minutes in a 400°F oven and finish the sandwich on a grill pan.)
  2. Prepare the homemade mayonnaise: In an immersion blender cup, combine 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of sugar. Place the immersion blender in the cup, turn it on, and slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, letting the mayo thicken before adding too much. You also can make the mayo with a whisk, but it will take several minutes of strong beating – compared to about 30 seconds with the immersion blender.
  3. Grill the tomatoes and bread*: Wash 4 cups of cherry tomatoes. Lightly brush the slices of bread with a bit of oil on each side. Place the tomatoes and bread on the grill and cook with the lid off. Grill the bread until browned (about 1 minute per side), and the tomatoes until they are starting to burst and a little bit charred (about 3 to 5 minutes total).
  4. Finish the mayo: Place the tomatoes in a bowl and carefully mash with a potato masher to extract the juice. Drain the tomatoes completely of the juice, reserving the juice in a small bowl. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the juice into the mayonnaise until is has the consistency of a sauce.
  5. Assemble the sandwich: Place two slices of mozzarella cheese on a piece of bread. Top with 1/4 of the strained tomatoes, a healthy dollop of mayo (don’t be shy!), some torn up pieces of basil. Sprinkle it all with a pinch of kosher salt and top with another slice of bread.
  6. Return the sandwich to the grill and cook until toasty and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately!


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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Will you just start making extras of everything …. I’d pay you to cook for my family!!!

  • Reply
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
    July 28, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    What a fun sandwich! Great use for with fresh tomatoes!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    yummy colourful bread

  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I love the fact that you share how easy it is to make homemade mayo with an immersion blender! It’s what makes homemade mayo do-able for me . . . I just am not patient enough for either the whisk or the dribble by dribble by dribble method! This sammy sounds delicious and I’ll be heading out to the garden as soon as I get home from work!

  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Wow, this looks great!

    So far, my favorite combination of basil and tomatoes is pizza sauced with pesto and tomatoes (and other veg) on top. Yummy!

  • Reply
    Baking Serendipity
    July 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Best summer sandwich yet. And I love that you make it on the grill! Simple, yet full of flavor…a definite winner :)

  • Reply
    July 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    nummy-nummy! now i know exactly what to do with the cherry tomatoes that our generous neighbors brought over today from their over-abundant garden!! thanks. and thanks.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2011 at 8:57 am

    tomato mayo? Sold. This looks great.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2011 at 9:32 am

    What a pretty panini!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    that is mouth watering!

  • Reply
    Lisa in Indianapolis
    August 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Nothing says Summer like fresh basil, homegrown tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic and olive oil. Yum!

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