Eggplant and I have a love-hate relationship. I love its exotic colour, its durability, its many aliases, and I find my dad’s British accent when he says “aubergine” to be quite magical sounding…but I actually deeply dislike Baba Ghanoush and Choka (roasted eggplant with a mix of spices)…as in ‘spit-out-scrape-my-tongue’ dislike. What possessed me to try to make Eggplant Parm early into my cooking life is beyond me. I remember taking it out of the oven, drowning it in sauce and wincing as I put it in my mouth. And… hellooo, ‘love’ part of the relationship! When eggplant slices are coated in spices & breadcrumbs and pan fried or simply brushed with a bit of olive oil and roasted, it transforms into this meaty, crispy, deliciously satisfying creation. Have it with pasta and sauce, sure, but try it in bread. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
What I like but also dislike about this sandwich is that there is some assembly required and a fair amount of cooking time involved for just a sandwich. However, the plus side is that you can roast the eggplant and bell peppers in advance and store in the fridge. As a fan of planning ahead, pop these veggies in the oven to roast on a Sunday night as you’re watching Homeland or Game of Thrones and keep them to use all week.
When I get caught up in cooking, I tend to try to push the boundaries – can Indi add one more veggie to the sandwich? Can she add two more? Three?! Knowing that I have at least 4 natural and healthy ingredients (eggplant, peppers, mushrooms & avocado) with the potential to keep adding makes my system do a little happy dance. I have pretty much developed my own adaptation of this recipe over the years although I know the original recipe is rooted in a random cookbook I came across.
Serve this sandwich with fries (Push the boundaries! Baked sweet potato fries!), have it with soup (so.many.veggies.) or simply have it by itself. Just let me know what combos you used so I can try it myself!
Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches
Yields 4 Sandwiches
Prep time: 35 minutes
1 Eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 medium Avocado
1 cup Mushrooms of your choice, sliced
1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
4 slices Whole wheat bread (or bread of your choice)
Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
1 ½ tsp Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush Eggplant and Peppers with olive oil, sprinkle a bit of salt & pepper and roast in oven for 25 minutes (pepper cut side down) until eggplant is browned and pepper skin is blackened. Allow to cool and remove pepper skin.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and saute mushrooms on medium heat with salt & pepper until moisture is released. Peel and mash avocado and season with a bit of salt, pepper & lemon juice.
Assemble sandwich with eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, cheese & avocado. If you have a Panini press, go ahead and use it or toast in oven to desired colour.
Note: I’ve never used hummus instead of avocado in this but I suspect it will also work just fine and make the meal a bit heavier if you’re worried that the sandwich won’t fill you up. The easier but not as healthy alternative is just spreading a bit of mayonnaise. You can keep adding veggies to create any combination you want. Eggplant and red bell peppers are fabulous together though so try not to break them up.