This Roasted Vegetable Sandwich with Pesto recipe is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies for lunch, in a hearty, flavorful, and filling sandwich.
What isn’t made better when sandwiched between two slices of bread? Few things. Very few things. This roasted vegetable sandwich is no exception. Even if the thought of eating something from the vegetable kingdom makes you turn up your nose, this sandwich is so full of layers upon layers of flavor that you not only won’t mind the vegetables, you might even grow to like them.
So, lets talk about those layer of flavor. First, we have the marinade. The best way to add flavor to veggies, is to roast them in a flavorful sauce, like what is often done with meat. The vegetables will soak in even more of the sauce than meat would, and are bursting with its flavor by the end of cooking time. The marinade, which is comprised of balsamic vinegar, Italian herbs, and olive oil, will caramelize on the vegetables and make them sweet, browned, and infused with herb flavor.
The next layer is the pesto sauce. This herby spread will brighten up the sandwich and add a pop or freshness to balance out all the roasted flavor. Pesto is a sauce made of basil, nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil. It can be made in under 10 minutes with a food processor and can be used to add flavor to all kinds of sandwiches.
The last layer is hummus. That’s right, good old hummus joins the sandwich party to add a creaminess that pairs well with the crusty toasted bread.
We have flavor. We have texture. We have one healthy and satisfying sandwich.
Some 101 on how to make that perfect sandwich:
Tip #1: Salt the eggplant.
Eggplant is a tricky vegetable. Most people think that they don’t like it, and that is because they have had it prepared incorrectly. Eggplant has a high water content, and to cook it properly, we have to remove some of that water before roasting. You will want to line a baking tray with a few layers of paper towels, and then place the sliced eggplant on top of the paper towels. Sprinkle one side of the eggplant with salt. Flip it over and sprinkle the second side. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes. The paper towels will soak up the moisture that the eggplants give off. Now that some of the water is out, the flavor of the marinade will really soak in. The eggplant will roast up meaty and caramelized, rather than wet and soggy.
Tip #2: Feel the burn.
The roasting time for these veggies is long, and that is because it really develops and increases their flavors. Those slightly burnt edges will add tons of flavor and texture to our sandwich. The veggies might look overdone, but that is when you know they are ready.
Tip#3: Warm as toast.
For the ultimate contrast of textures, creamy, meaty, and crunchy, be sure to give the bread a good toast. You can pull out your handy dandy toaster to get the job done, or if you are making more than a sandwich or two at a time, you can use your oven. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and line them up on a sheet tray. Place them in an oven set to high broil until they are golden brown. Flip the slices over and repeat. Just be sure to watch them closely – they can go from a perfect toast to burnt toast in a couple of seconds.
For the pesto:
- 1 bunch basil, removed from the stems
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the sandwiches:
- 8 slices of toasted bread
- 4 1-inch thick slices of eggplant
- 2 red ball peppers, cut into 3 inch wide strips
- 3 Portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1//2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup hummus
- A few handfuls of spinach
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Add all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and process until combined. Set aside.
3. Place the eggplant slices on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Sprinkle one side with salt, flip the slices, and salt the second side. Set aside and allow the eggplant to give off moisture for 30 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Set aside.
5. Once the eggplants have sat, arrange the veggies on two sheet trays lines with foil.
6. Drizzle over the marinade and toss to coat. Bake for 25-35 minutes until the veggies are beginning to brow.
7. To assemble the sandwich, spread one slice of bread with the pesto.
8. Top with spinach.
9. Then add the roasted bell pepper.
10. Top with a slice of roasted eggplant.
11. Then finally, add on a few slices of roasted Portobello.
12. Spread the second slice of bread with hummus.
13. Add on the top slice of bread and serve.