This post is contributed by Mara Tyler, author of the blog Cheap & Simple Vegan Recipes.
Mouthwatering garlic pesto. Meaty and moist eggplant. Crusty French bread. Rich olive oil. Gooey, oozing cheese. Tender roasted vegetables. Welcome to your new favorite vegan sandwich.
When I stopped eating meat, I couldn’t shake free from my Italian roots. And since I love taking classic dishes and adapting them into vegan versions, I decided that eggplant parmesan was just dying to be a sandwich—with a creamy pesto spread and oven-roasted vegetables. All you need is a fresh baguette, some soy mozzarella, colorful veggies and a few other ingredients to make this incredibly simple yet satisfying sandwich. It’s perfect for that night you want some serious comfort food without all the guilt.
Oven-Crisp Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich
1 red pepper, julienned
4 whole tomato slices
1 crusty French bread baguette
1 ½-2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup fresh basil
Water, for consistency
Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven broiler (500 degrees F). Slice eggplant lengthwise, so as to get ¼-inch thick “sheets.” Slice sheets into about 2-3-inch wide strips. Brush both sides of eggplant strips with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet. On a separate baking sheet, toss tomato slices and red pepper slices with a little olive oil and then arrange so they’re not touching on the sheet. Put both baking sheets in the oven and roast vegetables under broiler for about 10 minutes; veggies should be tender but be careful you don’t burn the eggplant.
- Meanwhile, combine all pesto spread ingredients except water and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until you get a chunky texture, then add a bit of water at a time until you have a smooth puree (should be spreadable but not runny). Add salt to taste; blend again.
- Remove veggies from oven; set aside. Slice baguette down the middle lengthwise and then cut halves in half. Arrange on a baking sheet to assemble sandwiches. On the bottom half of each sandwich, spread a thin layer of the pesto spread, followed by a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add the following layers: eggplant strips, cheese, 2 tomato slices and peppers, cheese, spinach, cheese. Brush the top half of each baguette slice with a little olive oil and set next to the bottom half on the baking sheet.
- Put sandwiches in oven under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or until bread is crispy and cheese is melty. Remove from oven; spread a thick layer of pesto sauce on the top half of each baguette and place on top of bottom half. Cut in half to serve. Enjoy!