Tuna Melt Panini

image of Tuna Melt Panini

So there we were, laying in bed late on a lazy Sunday morning, watching Giada de Laurentiis make yummy looking tuna melt panini.

I said, “I think we have everything but the bread.”

He said, “I’ll get the bread” and grabbed his keys.

Warm, crunchy bread, melty cheese over creamy tuna and some fresh spinach to cut the richness made a very satisfying Sunday lunch. Yum!

I don’t have a panini press, but a grill pan on the bottom and a heavy cast iron skillet on top did the job. I can definitely see how a press would be ever so much easier and result in a more even result (my skillet kept slipping off), though, so there’s another item for my ever-expanding kitchen wish list.

It’s very easy to customize this tuna melt to your taste or to what you have on hand. Switch out herbs and seasonings, greens and bread to create your own panini masterpiece!

Tuna Melt Panini


  • 1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 9 oz solid white tuna in water (2 cans) drained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon pepper or chopped fresh herbs (optional)
  • Handful of fresh spinach washed and dried
  • 4 pieces Italian or Foccacia bread (4×4″ or so)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • Olive oil (or regular) cooking spray


  1. Mix mayonnaise and lemon juice in a bowl. Add tuna and blend, then season to taste. If desired, add lemon pepper or chopped herbs to taste.
  2. Slice each piece of bread into two (from side). Spray outside of bread with cooking spray and lay sprayed side down on cutting board. Spread bottom half of bread with tuna mixture, top with some fresh spinach and add a slice of cheese. Top with other half of bread.
  3. Preheat a panino grill, or heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Grill sandwich until the cheese melts and the bread is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. If using a grill pan, press down on top of sandwich while grilling to compact (I used a cast iron skillet) and you will need to turn sandwich over halfway through to achieve that lovely pressed, grilled texture on both sides. Try not to squish all the goodies out the side like I did.
  4. Serve immediately.

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