Dark Chocolate Almond Butter & Banana Panini

by Amy Renee
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter & Banana Panini

This is my go to snack/lunch when I am craving something sweet and gooey. I love that I can satisfy my sweet tooth with a nutrient-dense panini that travels well too! I love taking this on long flights. I swear I catch people looking at what I am eating and I bet they are wishing THEY were eating it too!

You know I love my sweets. And everything about this pita panini is so decadent and delicious, yet still healthy. YES, HEALTHY! As long as you limit this treat to once or twice per week and keep it mostly green the rest of the day, YOU CAN HAVE THIS! And guess what, you’re going to be getting a good dose of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, vitamin C, potassium, selenium, vitamin B6, thiamin, and copper. Now that’s what I call a nutrient-dense snack/lunch/dessert!

  • Almond butter: magnesium & manganese
  • Dark chocolate (>70% cocoa): copper, iron, manganese, magnesium
  • Banana: fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin B6
  • Whole wheat oat pita: fiber, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium
  • Cinnamon: helps maintain blood glucose levels
  • Oats: fiber, phosphorus, manganese, selenium

Note: I recommend making your own fresh almond butter such as the one in this recipe. That way you know no sweeteners or oils have been added. If you can’t make your own CHECK THE INGREDIENTS ON THE LABEL!!! When choosing dark chocolate look for chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa and ALWAYS check the ingredients list to ensure there is NO DAIRY (i.e., milk fats). Also check the label to make sure it is not processed with alkali. Pita is pretty hard to screw up. Just make sure you choose a brand that has a very short list of ingredients. Really there should only be flour, yeast, water and sometimes a little bit of sugar (hopefully not). Sami’s Bakery Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pita’s (the kind I use in this recipe) has the following ingredients: Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour, Oatmeal Flour, Wheat Fiber, Water, Yeast, Cultured Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour.

This is so easy to make. All you do is split the pita in half around the circumference and lay it on a flat surface, inside up. Conversely you could opt to use a flour tortilla (this recipe works great with gluten-free tortillas for those of you who have gluten allergies or sensitivities), but the reason I like using pita is that there are so few ingredients whereas tortillas tend to have super long ingredients lists!

Anyway, just spread on the almond butter and layer everything else on. I sliced my banana long ways this time but feel free to slice the banana into little disks if you prefer. You could even just mash the banana right into the almond butter if you like which is what I usually do. Yum! Then fold over the other half, slide into the panini grill (you know how I LOVE my Cuisinart Griddler) and press it until it’s golden brown and the chocolate is melty.

I like to cut my pita panini into several little pieces. I have found that when I do this my delicious pita panini tends to last longer and I can savor every bite. Otherwise I might just inhale it because IT IS JUST THAT GOOD!

Of course if you need a snack to go this travels great. Just don’t cut it. Let it cool completely and wrap it in parchment or wax paper then in tin foil. I like to put the wrapped pita paninis in a ziploc bag (I usually bring two) and this is what I take with me on long plane rides. Of course I always request a non-dairy, vegetarian meal but the last time I flew my non-dairy vegetarian meal was sugary cereal with cow’s milk, yogurt, and a cookie??? Huh? Yeah. Thankfully I had my delicious dark chocolate, banana, almond butter pita panini. And everyone around me was jealous!!!

DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND BUTTER & BANANA PANINI

Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Time: 5 minutes     Total Time: 10 minutes     Serves: one

INGREDIENTS
  • ½ pita (cut around the circumference)
  • 20 grams almond butter
  • ½ medium (about 50 grams) banana
  • 10 grams dairy-free chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life brand recommended)
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon old fashioned oats
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Spread the almond butter on one side of the pita half. If your almond butter is slightly hard from being stored in the fridge just put it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is pliable.
  2. Place the banana on top of the almond butter. If the banana is very ripe I like to just mash it into the almond butter. Otherwise you can slice the banana into circles or lengthwise and place it on the pita.
  3. Top the banana with the chocolate chunks, a sprinkle of cinnamon and the oats. I love the oats – they add crunch to the gooey sandwich.
  4. Fold the opposite half of the pita over to cover the banana/chocolate side and place it in the panini press.
  5. Grill for about five minutes at medium heat or until golden and the chocolate is melty.
  6. Allow the panini to cool on a cutting board for a few minutes before cutting with a sharp knife.
Notes
For this recipe I used Sami’s whole wheat oatmeal pita bread, my hazelnut espresso roasted almond butter, and Enjoy Life chocolate chunks.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: One pita panini Calories: 313 Fat: 14.7 Saturated fat: 2.9 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 40.6 Sugar: 12.5 Sodium: 7.9 Fiber: 7.2 Protein: 8.9 Cholesterol: 0

Can you see how gooey and melty it is? So delicious. Truly one of my all time favorite snacks. Perfect with a cup of hot tea – dandelion root is my favorite of the moment. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do.

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