Chicken Pesto Panini and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango: Let’s Picnic!

Every late spring/early summer, downtown Bethlehem holds a free outdoor concert series called Tunes At Twilight, and it’s one of my very favorite things to do in the Lehigh Valley. Great weather, great music, great company — all you need to do is bring a blanket, a beer or two, and let the good times roll.

Of course, I, being me, could never leave it at that. When I know I’ll be there with more than one friend I like to take a nice little picnic – even if it’s just bread and grapes and cheese – because, just like Monica on Friends, I am always the hostess. Tonight was no exception.

Can I get an amen?

Can I get an amen?

I don’t have actual recipes for these – I just sort of came up with them in my head and hoped for the best. And holy Hannah, did I get the best.

The sandwich was a grilled chicken panini. I grilled some chicken breasts last night, let them cool and sliced thinly. I had some Wegman’s store made pesto (found on the olive bar, seriously the best thing ever for a quick weeknight meal) and a jar of sun dried tomato spread. I spread the pesto on one half of a chiabatta baguette, and the sun dried tomato on the other half. Add the sliced chicken, a squeeze of balsamic glaze, thinly sliced smoked mozzarella, cook on the panini press until the bread toasts on the outside and the cheese gets ever so melty.

For the quinoa salad, I cooked the quinoa according to package directions and let cool.I added finely diced red onion, diced mango, canned black beans (drained and rinsed), the juice of two limes, finely chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

I wrapped the sandwiches in parchment paper and portioned the quinoa salad into individual little containers so we didn’t have to fuss with plates and such, just forks and napkins.

Oh, and chocolate chunk cookies.

RIP, cookies. RIP.

RIP, cookies. RIP.

It was a fun night, with great friends. And possibly the greatest sandwich I ever put in my face hole.

And hippies.

One thought on “Chicken Pesto Panini and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango: Let’s Picnic!

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