I was sent this vegetarian sandwich recipe from one of our readers, Patrick. He got it from the Aug. 13 Atlanta Journal-Constitution and typed it up and sent it off to me. It’s a little more involved than many of my seasonal recipes, but there are ways around that.

If you make the pesto and the marinade from scratch, there is a lot of work involved, but it’s worth it. If you use store bought pesto and bottled Kraft Tuscan House Italian Dressing and Marinade as a substitute for making your own marinade, you can cut your prep time down considerably. Or you could make the pesto the day before, shortening your prep time while making the sandwich and creating much less of a mess in your kitchen all at once.

As I look at the recipe, I just realized that I completely forgot to add the romaine to the sandwich. I bought it, but it never made it into the meal. You know what? I might not add it the next time I make the sandwich. I didn’t miss it. These sandwiches were savory and delicious, and I'll definitely be making them again. Next time I'll make the pesto the day before, though.

A few suggestions:

  1. If you’re going to roast the vegetables in the oven instead of doing them on the grill, they will take about 40 minutes. Get them in the oven first, and then go about making your pesto if you’re making it from scratch at the same time you’re making the sandwiches. You won’t need it until after the vegetables are done.
  2. Make sure that you have equal amounts of vegetables on each sandwich. I found that the best bites were ones that had all the vegetables at once in them. I wish I had roasted more of each vegetable and made the sandwiches a little heartier.
  3. My husband suggested that I take the skin off of the eggplant next time. He didn’t like the texture of the skin, but otherwise he said the sandwich was very tasty.
  4. When Patrick sent me the recipe, he suggested that adding portabella mushroom to this or replacing the eggplant with mushroom could work. It sounds like a great addition to me. I’d probably add the mushroom and leave the eggplant, too.
On to the recipe for Grilled Eggplant and Bell Pepper Sandwiches:


Herb Marinade:

  • 3 or 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of oregano
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant cut in three quarter inch thick slices
  • 1 red bell pepper quartered, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 medium sweet onion thickly sliced
  • Herb marinade
  • 4 whole wheat or sourdough sandwich rolls
  • 2 tablespoon prepared pesto (Here is the recipe I use for basil pesto)
  • 4 romaine or other seasonal lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees OR fire up the barbeque grill.
  2. Place the eggplant, bell pepper quarters, and onion slices on a cookie sheet and brush generously with the marinade.
  3. Grill the vegetables on the grill for several (five or so) minutes per side, turning once and re-brushing with the marinade OR Roast the vegetables in the oven for 20 minutes or so, turn them over and brush them again with the marinade. Roast for an additional 20 minutes. Roast until the vegetables soften and begin to release their juices.
  4. Brush the sandwich rolls with marinade and grill to lightly toast, turning rolls over after a minute or two.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches: Spread a thin layer of pesto on the bread. Stack the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion, top with the lettuce and then the provolone. (I actually put the sandwich back in the oven for a minute to melt the cheese – if you want to do this, make sure you add the Romaine after the sandwich comes back out of the oven).
  6. Top with the top of the sandwich roll.  

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Seasonal recipe: Grilled eggplant and red bell pepper sandwich
You won't miss the meat when you sink your teeth into this vegetarian grilled vegetable sandwich.