Pressed Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
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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 a 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.
Timesaver: 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
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Pressed Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
- 2 cups (48 g) packed fresh basil leaves
- ⅓ cup (45 g) pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small garlic clove, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ 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.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Customize the filling of your sandwich: Try layering in thinly sliced prosciutto or other cured meat, pickled red onions, roasted zucchini or use goat cheese, provolone or feta cheese instead of mozzarella.
- Use your favorite prepared pesto sauce instead homemade — you’ll need about 1/2 cup.
- If you want to skip roasting the vegetables at home, use about a cup each of prepared marinated roasted red peppers, eggplant, tomatoes or jarred caponata.
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
An amazing end of summer sandwich! I added arugula, goat cheese and prosciutto to ours.
That sounds so good!
Oh this looks so GOOD! I am inspired to bake some bread and roast some veg! –Liza
Just found this and made it with Bavarian feta instead of the mozzarella (because that’s what I had). So good! Thanks.
Karen – guess who’s going to Primo in Rockland, ME in August? Sure wish you could join me!
Stacy – sooo jealous!! Have a delicious time.
Oh dear! I adore roasted veggies and Italian cheeses! The pine nuts and basil make this the world’s most perfect sandwich!!!
I made your smokey chickpea tacos last night and they were a huge hit! A new fav around this joint. ;}
Karen, I came to this post via Adri´s lovely link to your Pressed Roasted Veggie Sandwich – your photography is outstanding and your recipes are wonderful (I took the liberty of “looking around” a bit).This is such a wonderful summertime sandwich treat and we should all be making this – certainly a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing!
P.S.: I will be trying your Lemon Polenta Cake tomorrow – will let you know how it turns out (it looks just like the kind of cake I like).
Andrea, thanks so much! Hope you enjoy everything.
Can’t wait to try this sandwich. Our basil is growing beautifully in the back yard. (Evidently, the deer are not big fans.) Thanks for your new and exciting Sunday treat!
What a gorgeous sandwich! You have no idea how badly I want this for lunch tomorrow!
These look delicious. I love pressed sandwiches, especially when they contain pesto!
I .love this sandwich look delicious!!
My idea of a perfect summer meal. Love pressed sandwiches and roasted veggies!
what a perfect summer meal! I can’t wait to make a variation on this soon!
It’s a great technique – hope you enjoy, Natalie!
It looks so good that I pinned it. Very nice delicious sandwich 🙂
Marta – wonderful! Thanks 😉
That is one tasty looking sandwich! I’m certain I could eat this every day of summer and never tire of it!
Thanks, Laura – I think so and glad you agree. My daughter devoured hers, but she sneaked the eggplant off before I could see.
one of my fave sandwichces – pressed veggies, and yours is exquisite. it looks so tasty. bravissima e complimenti!
Hi Adri – I forgot about how great a pressed sandwich is. It’s worth experimenting with lots of variations (although I prefer all vegetables in mine)… Grazie!
The pressed ones are great. I love the way all the flavors meld and seep into the bread. That, plus the different textures make a good sandwich a complete meal, in my view. I often put them in the hot press, just to amp up the entire affair. I’m with you on the veg, although Bart always prefers some meat.
I had actually just stopped back at your site to look at your photographs. They really are beautiful, and I always enjoy looking at them.