I came up with the idea to make these sandwiches after seeing grilled vegetable sandwiches featured on my sister’s cooking blog a few weeks ago. Her sandwiches had grilled vegetables, ricotta cheese, and balsamic vinegar. I don’t care for ricotta cheese, but basil pesto seemed like the perfect substitute to go with the grilled vegetables. I also added some mozzarella cheese to give the sandwiches another layer of flavor. For the vegetables, I used a colorful mixture of zucchini, yellow summer squash, and roasted red peppers, but you could also use eggplant or portabello mushrooms. I served these sandwiches on fresh grilled ciabatta bread and they were delicious! For a side dish, we had fresh strawberries and pineapple, and it was the perfect Spring dinner.
Pan-Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with Basil Pesto and Mozzarella
- 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ¼ – inch thick slices
- 2 yellow squashes, sliced lengthwise into ¼ – inch thick slices
- 2 red peppers, roasted (for instructions, click here) or 2 roasted red peppers from a jar
- 8-12 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Basil Pesto (recipe below)
- Loaf of ciabatta bread
- Brush both sides of the sliced zucchini and yellow squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat a grill pan over medium- high heat and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Working in batches, grill the zucchini and squash until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside.
- Slice the loaf of ciabatta bread into 4 pieces and cut each piece in half lengthwise. Lightly brush the bread with olive oil and then grill for 3-4 minutes until the bread is toasty.
- To assemble the sandwiches: Spread a layer of pesto on each side of the sliced bread. Top with mozzarella cheese, and then layer slices of the grilled zucchini, squash, and roasted red peppers on top. Place the top half of the ciabatta bread on top of the grilled vegetables and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Yield: 1 cup pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup (approximately) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt & pepper until finely chopped.
- With the food processor still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency.
- Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste.