A tasty make ahead pressed picnic sandwich full of roasted Mediterranean vegetables, basil pesto and mozzarella. Take it on the road or wherever the day takes you!
This make-ahead pressed roasted vegetable sandwich is one of my all-time faves, and I think you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.
Do you have any go-to meals that you love to make and take for the road?
Thinking about the lazy days of summer…once the calendar says the season has officially arrived, life can seem just as busy as ever.
A Pressed vegetable sandwich is a perfect summer picnic meal
Certain things even cause stress, like preparing for some much needed down time or a vacation out of town.
My style of vacation cooking is pretty simple, usually.
The only tool I bring along to our favorite beach rental cottage is my best chef’s knife, since the kitchen there is supplied with the major essential – a lobster pot.
Other than seafood just out of the ocean, I can’t wait for all the summer farm produce.
All you need is a loaf of great bread, some cheese and vegetables to make these sandwiches.
Pack them up and take with you to the beach or wherever you like!
I don’t know why, but sitting in a beach chair doing not much of anything — maybe digging my toes into the sand every now and then — makes me really hungry.
Whether or not you’re on vacation or just don’t feel like spending a whole lot of time planning meals, this make-ahead sandwich is there for you.
The veggie-loaded sandwich can be assembled the night before, or even in the morning in advance of heading out to the beach, work or wherever the day takes you.
Use prepared vegetables from a jar
I love the way freshly-roasted peppers and eggplants smell and taste.
But to make things even easier (and keep the oven off), use jarred roasted peppers, marinated tomatoes and roasted vegetables from the prepared food section of the grocery store to make a mighty fine sammy.
More simple and tasty ways to eat roasted vegetables
Pressed Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
- 2 cups (48 g) packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup (45 g) pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic clove, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 Roma or plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded
- 1 small eggplant (about 3-inches diameter), sliced into 1/2-inch thick circles
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread (I used an 8 x 5 rectangular loaf)
- 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced into wide strips
- 8 ounce (225 g) ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced ¼-inch thick
- Freshly ground black pepper
To make the pesto
- Put the basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Slowly add 1/3 cup olive oil while the machine is running. Scrape down the bowl and add 1 or 2 tablespoons more oil if needed, until pesto is creamy and blended.
Roast the vegetables
- Place a large rimmed baking sheet on middle oven rack and heat to 425 degrees. When the oven has reached temperature, remove the hot baking sheet and pour ¼ cup olive oil over the bottom. Arrange the tomatoes and eggplant on the sheet; sprinkle with salt to taste and roast 20 minutes, until browned.
To assemble sandwich
- Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and tear out some of the excess dough; divide the pesto onto both halves of the ciabatta and spread evenly over the bread. Layer the bottom half with the bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and mozzarella; grind black pepper over to taste. Close the sandwich and press down firmly.
- Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Put a brick (or a cast iron skillet weighed down with a few cans) on top of the sandwich to flatten for about 2 hours or overnight.
- Unwrap the sandwich and slice into serving pieces.
- Customize the filling of your sandwich: Try thinly sliced prosciutto, red onion, roasted zucchini or use goat cheese instead of mozzarella.
- Use your favorite prepared pesto sauce instead – you’ll need about 1/2 cup.