How do you know that your sandwich totally rocks? Why, of course, by sitting down at the lunch table at work, pulling out a sandwich that is technically a left over from dinner the night before, and coworkers’ jaws dropping with jealousy. Fortunately, I work with a healthy bunch who all love a good meal. Lunch discussions are more about current events, political ideology, local foods, and our profession in general, than anything found in People magazine or at TMZ. Personally, this suits me well.
Back to the sandwich. This little ditty is a breeze to make. Simply combine the marinade ingredients and sliced veggies in a zip-lock bag and leave it on the counter. Take a break from that amazing challenging task (tee-hee) while the marinade does its magic. Finally, do a quick cook in the pan, assemble, and devour. This is not the “oh my goodness, this IS spicy” kind of spicy like the grilled vegetable sandwich recipe, but rather the sweet on the front of the tongue followed by a delightful slow burn in the back of the mouth kind of spicy.
Spice of Life Vegetarian Sandwiches
makes 4 sandwiches
- 1/4 tsp each: salt, thyme, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, Chinese 5 spice powder, ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise
- 8 slices French bread
- Mozzarella or Jack cheese slices
- basil leaves
- Combine spices, vinegar and oil in a large zip-top plastic bag and mix together. Add zucchini, onion, bell pepper,seal and shake well to coat. Let stand 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Dump the contents of the bag into the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Preheat broiler.
- Divide sauteed vegetables among 4 french bread slices. Top each with a slice of cheese. Broil until cheese softens, about 1 minute. Add remaining bread slices to the baking sheet and broil for 1 more minute or until the cheese melts and the bread browns, then lightly spread with mayonnaise. Top cheese with basil leaves and toasted bread.
- Feel free to be pretty flexible with the veggies in here. Any kind of squash or some eggplant would be perfect.
- I totally like to snack on left overs. These veggies are best in sandwiches and just don’t work well with casual “let me nibble on a few bites of zucchini” snacking style.
- There are just enough juices to soak into the bread, providing some extra love.
- If you clicked over to the grilled vegetable sandwich, you’ll notice how much the palm trees in the back yard have grown over the years. There are 3 palms, with one of the three being a trio itself. When we bought them about 5 years ago, they all fit in the back of our SUV. Believe it or not!
Everyone seems to be into this 30 minute meal craze. The goal in this race is to see how quickly a person can get dinner on the table. Bonus points are awarded for a well balanced meal. Double bonus points go to using fresh ingredients in the 30 minute well balanced meal. Triple points are awarded to doing all that without using half the pots and pans in your kitchen! To be frank, I’ve tried a few of these and been disappointed. But, I have learned a few tricks from the ever present Rachael Ray and Cooking Light’s Fresh Food Fast book. Here we go, in no particular order:
- keep it simple
- add a punch of flavor somewhere
- grill whenever possible
This little weeknight sammie lives up to all three tricks. First, its a sandwich, which keeps it simple. The Parmesan mayo with a healthy dose of garlic punches up the flavor and could easily be reworked into a dip. And finally, keeping a gas grill right outside our kitchen makes year round grilling a breeze. Several of the Cooking Light recipes have you spritz some salad spritzer on the veggies before grilling, and this is easily one of the best little secrets ever. Its like the perfect little flavorizer in a spray bottle, and I have used that shortcut year round with great success on all kinds of grilled veggies.
Grilled Portobello Sandwich with Parmesan Mayonnaise
makes 4 sandwiches
2 Portobello mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
4 lettuce leaves
Balsamic salad spritzer
8 slices sourdough bread
1/2 cup Parmesan mayonnaise
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS red onion, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Heat grill or broiler.
2. Prepare Parmesan mayonnaise by combining the light mayo, garlic, Parmesan, onion, and black pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate.
3. Remove stems from mushrooms and spray bottoms of caps with balsamic spritzer.
4. Place mushrooms on the grill. Turn after 7 minutes, or when browned and tender. Remove from grill, and slice into 1/2 inch sections.
5. Assemble sandwiches by spreading 1 tablespoon Parmesan mayonnaise onto each bread slice. On 4 of the bread slices, layer portobello mushroom slices, red bell pepper sections, lettuce leafs, and top with the other pieces of bread.
- This Parmesan mayonnaise is really, really good!
- To roast a bell pepper, place it on the grill over direct heat and turn when each side chars. When all sides are charred, place the bell pepper in a plastic bag, twist the top of the bag to seal in the heat, and let it sit for ten minutes. Finally, take the bell pepper out of the bag and slide the charred skin off the sides and remove the stem and seeds. Cut into sections.
- You can use what ever type of sandwich bread you choose of course. Sourdough is simply my favorite.
- Grilling the bread gives an extra bit of love to the sandwich.
- Yes, roasted red bell peppers are available in jars in the store. But … I’m just too frugal to spend 6 bucks on peppers.
- This is easily adapted to making under the broiler.