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Black Bean, Mushroom + Cheese Cuban Panini

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Big Kids Plate
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Why we love it:

Using mashed black beans similarly to how you’d put hummus on a sandwich gives this panini a Cuban feel, especially when combined with pickles and gruyere which are hallmarks of a classic pressed Cuban. Putting some pressure on the sandwich while toasting is what makes it a panini, but do be careful not to squeeze out the beans!


  • 2 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 12 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 15-ounce can Black Beans
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 12 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard (divided)
  • 1 cup Pickles
  • 8 ounces Gruyere (or sliced swiss)
  • 4 Torpedo Rolls (look for Cuban rolls, or something with a soft crust, brioche can work and Portuguese rolls too)
  • 1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)

Cooking Instructions


    Remove the stem from the portobellos and dust with a clean, dry towel to remove any dirt. Slice into thin slices through the cap.

    Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side until cooked through - about 2 minutes longer. Remove to a plate.


    Meanwhile, open and drain the beans. Place in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon paprika,
    ½ teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dijon, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mash with a fork until the beans are a thick paste and mostly smooth.

  • 3. SLICE + PREP

    Slice the pickles into rounds, if needed. Slice or grate your cheese, if needed.


    Assemble your paninis. Open the rolls and spread the mayo evenly on one side; the remaining dijon on the other side. Top with the cheese and the pickles. Spread the beans thickly on the other side and nestle the mushrooms in place; put the bread together.


    If you have a panini press, use it!

    If not, wipe out the large sauté pan you used for the mushrooms and return to the stovetop - it doesn’t have to be fully cleaned. Melt ½ of the butter in the sauté pan and add the sandwiches, swirling them around to the get the bottoms of the bread to absorb the butter. Place a weight on the sandwiches to press them firmly into the pan. For this, another heavy pan works well, as does a smaller casserole dish, or even a dinner plate with a few cookbooks on top.

    Sear for about 4 - 5 minutes. Remove the weight and carefully flip the sandwiches. Add the remaining butter to the pan and swirl the bread so the bottom piece picks up the butter. Replace the weight and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes or until the bread is well toasted and golden brown and the cheese is melted.

    During this time if it’s browning too quickly, flip the sandwiches sooner or turn down the heat.

  • 6. SERVING

    Remove from the pan and slice in ½ on an angle. Serve with fruit, chips, or a side salad.

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    use your favorite GF roll
    tempeh or tofu, or use thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant
    garbanzo beans, or hummus
    some type of swiss is traditional, but use jack, cheddar, or provolone if you prefer
  • MAYO:
    just omit

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Adapt the filling of the sandwich to meet their preferences. Perhaps just grilled cheese or add the pickles. You can slice the sandwiches into long thin “finger” slices. Serve a slice or two of mushrooms on the side
  • Try a small scoop of the beans on the side - you can heat them alone in a pan or the microwave
  • Serve with fruit

For Toddlers

  • Serve a smaller portion of grilled cheese, possibly with mushrooms inside and try some beans on the side - or leave the mushrooms out and dice them into small pieces to serve on the side
  • Add some yogurt and serve with fruit or cucumbers

For Choosy Eaters

  • A simple grilled cheese will fit the bill. If they aren’t vegetarian, serve with a slice of turkey or ham
  • Serve with fruit on the side or some carrot sticks

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Cook the mushrooms
  2. Mix up the beans
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