Can I be honest for a second? I hate grilled vegetable sandwiches. Partly because it is the token vegetarian option on every lunch menu, and mostly because there is nothing appealing to me about a random mix of mushy grilled vegetables smothered in goat cheese. And there is always goat cheese. Apparently someone sent out a memo to the meat eating world that “All vegetable eaters love goat cheese. Please put it on everything or they’ll just cry from disappointment.” Which has only resulted in people like me rolling their eyes whenever they see it on the menu. I’m down with goat cheese, but stop spreading it on my sandwiches. I’d prefer if you mixed it into my grits. Please and thank you.
The other vegetarian standby, a Caprese sandwich, is one of my favorites but even that gets old after the millionth time, which is why I try to make things a little more interesting when I’m at home. This is a fun take on a Caprese, with peppery arugula substituted for the sweet basil and a sun-dried tomato walnut pesto filling in the place of a fresh tomatoes (this also makes it something you can make year round and it will still be delicious).
Grilled vegetable sandwiches = bad
Panini w/ cheese, sun-dried tomatoes & arugula = good
Sun-dried Tomato, Mozzarella and Arugula Panini
If you’re not a fan of paninis, this sandwich is still delicious served cold. Do it
For the pesto:
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- Olive oil
In a food processor, grind the tomatoes and walnuts to break them down a bit, about 15 – 20 seconds. With the processor on, slowly add in the olive oil until the pesto is at the consistency you want. It sh0uld be spreadable but not too thin.
For the sandwiches:
- Sun-dried tomato pesto
- Ciabatta rolls, (or any other bread you prefer) sliced in half
- Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
Heat up a George Forman, or similar grill to medium-high heat. Layer each ciabatta roll with pesto, cheese and arugula. Grill with the top closed down onto the sandwich until the bread is toasted and the cheese has begun to melt, about 5 minutes.
*If you don’t have a George Forman grill, you can place the sandwich on a grill plate or a gas grill and lay a heavy skillet on top to flatten the sandwich. Flip the sandwich over after a few minutes to toast both sides.