Cajun Chicken Panini with Spicy Dipping Sauce

  • Rating:
Spicy, tender chicken, onion, and cheese make a delicious panini, but what elevates this dish is the cool, creamy jalapeño-and-cilantro sauce served with it.


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably low fat
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
  • 2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 medium jalapeño, coarsely chopped with seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil; more for the bread
  • 2 Tbs. Cajun seasoning
  • 1-1/2 lb. thin-cut chicken breast
  • 8 3/4-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. coarsely grated Monterey Jack (about 1-1/3 cups)


In a mini food processor, blend the yogurt, sour cream, cilantro, 2 Tbs. of the lime juice, the brown sugar, half of the jalapeño, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. white pepper until smooth (there will still be some green flecks). Blend in more of the jalapeño, salt, and white pepper to taste.(Alternatively, very finely chop the cilantro and jalapeño and whisk with the rest of the sauce ingredients.)

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice, 2 Tbs. of the oil, and the Cajun seasoning. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat 1-1/2 tsp. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of the chicken, flipping once, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet. Repeat with the remaining 1-1/2 tsp. oil and chicken. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Make four sandwiches with the bread, onion, cheese, and chicken.

Heat a panini press or nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the outsides of each sandwich with olive oil. Press or grill 2 of the sandwiches until golden and toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. (For a grill pan, weight the sandwiches with a clean heavy pan and flip once.) Repeat with the two remaining sandwiches. Let the panini rest for a few minutes, and then cut into quarters and serve with the sauce.