The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich

Welcome to the veggie sandwich that is going to change your life.

Bold statement. So true.

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree

This sandwich was inspired by one I ate a few weeks ago while in Truckee, CA. It was from the cutest ever natural foods store—New Mood Natural Foods—that also had an outstanding sandwich shop tucked inside. We ate their twice in 2 1/2 days and everyone raved. I actually scored two sandwiches since gluten-free bread is so small. This equaled about 1 1/2 normal sandwiches, of which I ate the entire thing both times. There was no stopping me.

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree

There are a few key components to this sandwich that you are not allowed to skip. If you skip them I will hunt you down and tell you to make it again! Yes, this sandwich has rules.


  • toast your bread, just slightly
  • p e s t o – seriously do.not.skip.
  • balsamic glaze – you want the thick stuff –make your own or buy it
  • grilled vegetables – and stack them high! okay, roasting works too
  • do not use a super hearty bread – this thing is already a mess, so use something on the softer side
  • it’s not right unless it’s dripping everywhere and you have to use 5 napkins
  • slather it on – now is not the time to go all light on the pesto + balsamic

But despite the rules, you really have a lot of leeway with this sandwich—of your dreams.

How so? Glad you asked.

  1. It can be eaten hot or cold. You can grill the veggies, let them cool to room temp, and then chill them before stacking on your sandwich.
  2. You can use your favorite pesto. My current pesto obsession is from last week. I’ve made it three times since and have used it every single day. It’s also vegan! You will not miss the parmesan one bit. Promise. Chris used it in our breakfast yesterday and I about died.
  3. You have leeway with the vegetables. I recommend a mix of what you see below but you could do double zucchini if eggplant isn’t your thing. You can also add things like sun-dried or oven-roasted tomatoes. The peppers are good, but not mandatory. The portabella and zucchini are pretty important, but you could probably get away with one or the other.
  4. You can make this for 1 person or 10! If you’re making it for a crowd keep your oven at about 200* and keep piling the grilled veggies onto a large baking sheet. Your veggies will stay warm until you’re all done with the grill.
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree

If you don’t make a complete mess while eating this sandwich you’ve done something terribly wrong.

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree

Let’s dig in.

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree

Print this!

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich

gluten-free, vegan // yields 2 sandwiches

  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 large portabella
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup pesto
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze/reduction
  • 4 slices of bread
  • salt + pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil, I used high-heat avocado oil

Trim ends from zucchini and eggplant. Cut each zucchini in half [not end to end] and slice into 1/4-inch thick slabs. Slice eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place on a large cutting board or baking sheet in a single layer. Generously sprinkle each slice with salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

While waiting, preheat your grill to 375-400* F [med/med-high]. Place a kitchen towel over the veggies and press down firmly to soak up the moisture. Place zucchini and eggplant in a large bowl and swirl in enough oil to lightly coat. Toss to distribute. Lightly oil the portabella and the pepper and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place vegetables on the grill in a single layer. Turn the pepper every 3-4 minutes for about 4 turns. Let other veggies cook about 4-6 minutes per side, turning twice. Once grilled to your liking place on a tray and bring inside. Lightly grill your bread for about 1 minute per side. Slice the pepper [letting liquid drain] and the portabella.

To assemble: Spread pesto on all 4 faces of the bread. Layer the vegetables, add a few pinches of salt and pepper, and add a bit of the balsamic as you layer. Top with remaining balsamic and bread. Serve immediately.


notes: The vegetables salting step can be skipped, however, it helps bring out a lot of the moisture in the zucchini and eggplant which helps tremendously with the texture. You can roast the vegetables in your oven at 400* F. They will probably take about 8-12 minutes per side [the hot grill grates cook the vegetables faster].

To make a balsamic reduction: Place 2 cups of balsamic vinegar in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by half (or more, if thicker consistency is desired), about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Or, buy this. We’ve been using it for years on our salads and love it.

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree
The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich | #vegan #glutenfree

Happy Monday!


almond + cornmeal herb crusted eggplant

Eggplant and I have a rocky relationship.

I buy it a few times each summer.

I try to love it but it never seems to happen.

There are so many other vegetables I enjoy more.  Pretty much all of them.  Except beets.

Two instances come to mind where I’ve actually enjoyed eggplant.

This recipe makes three. 

The trick?

That annoying task in the recipe directions—which, like me you most likely ignore—to liberally sprinkle salt overtop of the eggplant slices, let them sit for 30 minutes, then blot them dry. 

Well, that annoying task works!

The thick layer of almond + cornmeal crust doesn’t hurt either.

No squeaky texture.

Just a pillowy soft slice of eggplant with an herb-infused coating.

I highly recommend making your own sauce.  You will not believe the difference in taste compared to jarred.  I actually used my favorite pizza sauce which was leftover from our pizza party a few days ago.  I let it cook on high for 4-5 hours in the slow cooker [uncovered for the last hour] then blended it with my immersion blender. 

I no longer fear the eggplant!

Print this!

Almond + Cornmeal Herb Crusted Eggplant 

vegan, gluten-free // serves 2-4

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 2 eggs or 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk—vegan
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoo black pepper
  • extra salt for the eggplant slices
  1. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 – 1/2” thick rounds and place on a wire rack.
  2. Liberally salt the tops of all of the rounds and let sit untouched for 30 minutes.  You will see a decent amount of water sitting at the top of each slice after 30 minutes.
  3. Place the cornmeal, almonds, and all of the seasonings in your food processor.  Turn on for about 20-30 seconds until the almonds are ground to very small pieces [not all the way to flour].
  4. Spread the corn/almond mixture out onto a large plate, spread the oat flour onto a small plate, and whisk the eggs together in a wide bowl or pour the milk into a wide bowl.
  5. Preheat your oven to 375* and lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  If you have a large pizza pan with holes [3rd photo] in it that works even better.
  6. Gently squeeze each slice between a dry kitchen towel to soak up the moisture. 
  7. Place each slice in the oat flour and lightly coat both sides.
  8. Next, dip in the egg or milk [letting any extra drain off] then place in the almond + cornmeal mixture.  Press the mixture in lightly and flip to make sure both sides are evenly coated.
  9. Place on the pan and repeat with the remaining slices.
  10. Bake for 15min flip once and bake for another 15min.
  11. Top with marinara and serve.

notes:  For a vegan version I dipped half of the slices in milk and it worked perfectly instead of the egg.  I couldn’t tell the difference between the two versions after baking.  If you currently have an excess of zucchini, it would work great in place of the eggplant.  Follow the recipe just the same. 

What are your thoughts on eggplant?

Mine are beginning to change!