Apple Arugula Panini

There's nothing like biting into an apple as your first taste of fall! I am always sad to see the end of summer but, as an apple lover, I look forward to the abundance of fresh local apples.

My very favorite variety is the New York McIntosh. They usually appear in mid-September, so I had been eagerly awaiting these sweet, tangy, juicy delights and was ecstatic to find some in the market recently. But, while waiting for my preferred apple to appear over the past few weeks, I'd decided to try something new: the Paula Red, the earliest NY state variety.  I originally chose some Paula Reds because their appearance is similar to a McIntosh. While they don’t taste just the same, I did enjoy the tart juiciness of them and will definitely grab some again next year!  

I also veered from my norm when we received a bag of Honeycrisps from my mother-in-law, who lives amid some of New York's premier orchards. Honeycrisps are very crisp — as their name implies — with a nice sweet tart flavor.  Since we had a whole big bag of them, it was my goal to make use of them quickly. Because of their crispness, they were great to dip in honey, peanut butter or almond butter. I also loved adding slices of them to paninis and sandwiches, usually accompanied by arugula and low-fat havarti cheese. They were also a great addition to my arugula and kale salads. 

These were just a couple apple varieties that I had the chance to devour during early autumn, and I’m sure I will be checking out some more in weeks to come, especially if I do some apple picking. Make sure to take advantage of the stock in local markets and find your favorite. There are definitely options for all palates. Enjoy!

Apple Arugula Panini

Recipe by Stacy Rothschild, MPH, RD

Recipe makes 1 panini

2 slices of whole wheat bread
2 slices low-fat havarti cheese
½ cup washed and dried baby arugula
3, ½-inch slices of honeycrisp apple (seeds removed)
Olive oil spray


  1. Construct sandwich: Layer 1 slice of bread, ½ slice of cheese, ¼ cup arugula, 1 apple slice, ½ slice of cheese, ¼ cup arugula, 2nd apple slice, ½ slice of cheese, 3rd apple slice, ½ slice of cheese, and 2nd slice of bread.
  2. Spray panini press or pan with olive oil cooking spray.
  3. Place sandwich on press or pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until cheese is nicely melted and bread is toasted to desire.


  1. I like using Food for Life Ezekiel Bread because it has lots of protein and is low in sodium.
  2. I chose havarti cheese because it melts so nicely and the way its mellow flavor combines with the spicy arugula and sweet apple. But feel free to experiment with different low-fat cheeses if you can’t find the havarti. 
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Stacy Rothschild
Stacy Rothschild, MPH, RD, is a New Jersey-based registered dietitian and owner of New Leaf Nutrition LLC, a full service private practice nutrition counseling business. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.