Want a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner in 5 minutes? This vegetarian Apple Brie Panini with Mushrooms is comfort food packed with nutrition! The earthiness of the mushrooms complements the sweetness of the apples and the sharpness and creaminess of the brie for a perfect crunchy, oozy sandwich dreams are made of!
Health Benefits of Apples
- Apples contain quercetin, a plant nutrient that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Apples are also heart-healthy because they contain at type of fiber called pectin. Research suggests that pectin may act as a prebiotic, or food for healthy bacteria in the gut. Pectin may also have heart benefits by lowering LDL (bad or “lousy” cholesterol).
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
- Mushrooms contain ergosterol, a compound that is converted into vitamin D by ultraviolet light from the sun or artificial lights. 100 grams (about 1 cup) of white button mushrooms provides 7 IU (1% of your daily needs) and shiitake mushrooms offer 26 IU (4% of your daily needs). Research is underway in Guelph, Ontario and around the world to create “Super-D” mushrooms that contain 100% of the vitamin D we need each day.
- Mushrooms such as shiitake may help boost the immune system and lower inflammation which may help slow tumour growth. In one small study, taking lentinan, the type of sugar found in shiitake mushrooms, helped extend survival of people with pancreatic, stomach and liver cancers. More research is needed with larger groups of people to back up this finding.
- Mushrooms contain all of the essential amino acids and are a good source of the mineral selenium. Studies have shown that selenium may help lower prostate cancer risk. A long-term study found that men with the highest selenium levels were 48 percent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than men with the lowest levels. Some smaller studies have found a link between eating foods rich in selenium and lower risk of colon and stomach cancer.
- Did you know mushrooms may have heart health benefits? Cell and animal studies suggest that naturally occurring chemicals found in mushrooms may help reduce inflammation and damage to the aorta. These chemicals may also improve blood flow.
Health Benefits of Whole Grains
- What is a whole grain? A grain that has all 3 parts of the grain. Each part has different nutrients for good health.
- 1) The endosperm is the largest part. It contains mostly carbohydrates and small amounts of vitamins and minerals;
- 2) The germ contains B vitamins, minerals and healthy fats;
- 3) The bran is rich in antioxidants, B vitamins and fibre. Refined grains such as white bread and white rice have most of the bran and germ removed, which removes 17 nutrients.
- Check the labels on your flour, bread and pasta to be sure they are made from 100% whole grains. Look for the words “whole grain” before the type of grain on the ingredients list.
Apple Brie Panini with Mushrooms
What are you waiting for? Time to warm up that panini press or turn on your broiler for a crispy melty piece of sandwich heaven!
Apple Brie Panini with Mushrooms
- 1 whole grain ciabatta mini baguette (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 tbsp honey (or fig jam)
- 4 ounces brie sliced into 1/2" pieces
- 1 apple sliced 1/2" thick
- 1/2 cup baby spinach
- 6 mushrooms sliced thinly
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Cut the ciabatta in half lengthwise and then cut in half again width-wise to make 2 sandwiches. Set 2 pieces aside to be your sandwich tops.
- Spread your honey or fig jam on the 2 sandwich bottoms. Layer on your brie, apple slices, spinach leaves and mushroom slices. Add a sprinkle of black pepper.
- Turn your oven on broil or use a panini press. Spray a baking tray with olive oil or line with foil. Put your sandwich open-faced on the tray and place the sandwich halves on the tray, cut side up to toast. Broil for about 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!