23 June 2016

Roasted Veggie Sandwich with Balsamic Reduction

We had a leftover eggplant from making Eggplant Asian Stir Fry and Shana was insistent that we figure out a way to use it. As we made our meal plan for this week, we were looking through cookbooks of all sorts when the following exchange took place:

Shana: Oooo - this looks good! I want this!
Me: Okay, what is it? Read me the recipe?
Shana: Well, it's a roasted veggie sandwich, but I want to add things and take some of this away and maybe we could do something like a balsamic reduction.
Me: [dumbfounded] ...
Shana: I don't know who I am right now.

Shana is not a cook. However, it's very clear that she's becoming more comfortable (but never excited about) thinking about how flavors and textures work together. After I made peace with this new world, we brainstormed together. The result was this amazing - and deliciously messy to eat - sandwich of roasted veggies, hummus, and a balsamic reduction, all on crusty bread.

Roasted veggie sandwiches are also infinitely customize-able! For example, the recipe that inspired this has only one thing in common with what we ended up with - the roasted eggplant. To make this sandwich your own, add or subtract cooked veggies (how about a couple of caramelized onions or strips of portobello mushrooms), slather on some pesto in place of (or in addition to!) the balsamic reduction, add some greens (oooo, arugula), change up your protein source by adding some strips of grilled tofu, or put it on slices of an Italian loaf or focaccia or in a wrap. Served hot or cold,* you'll be satisfied.

Roasted Veggie Sandwich with Balsamic Reduction
1 loaf of french bread, cut in four pieces
1 large purple eggplant, cut into 8 slices lengthwise
2 medium zucchini, each cut into 4 slices lengthwise
1 large or 2 medium bell peppers, any color, seeds removed and cut into 1.5-2 inch wedges
hummus of choice
1 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. agave nectar

1. Generously sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the eggplant slices and let drain in a colander or on paper towels for 25-30 minutes.
2. Put the balsamic vinegar and agave nectar in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until liquid has reduced to 1/3 of the original. Then pour in another container to cool.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375.
4. Lay zucchini and pepper on a baking sheet (ideally lined with nonstick foil, parchment, or a silicone baking sheet), brush both sides with oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place in oven.
5. Brush the eggplant with oil and lay on a similarly prepared baking sheet (optionally, you can rinse the eggplant under water to remove most of the salt). Place in oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.
6. Flip veggies and roast for another 10 minutes.
7. Toast bread if desired.
8. Slather bread with hummus, lay some veggies on top, then drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Helpful Hints
  • Depending on how soft you like your peppers, you may want to cook them a bit longer than the other veggies. 25 minutes (the 20 minutes sharing the oven with the eggplant and then time prepping the eggplant) was great for us, but the peppers weren't squishy; they still had a little bit of texture. 
  • I highly recommend tasting the balsamic reduction before you drizzle. Some people will love the bite and want a lot of it (*cough* *Shana* *cough*), whereas others will only want a little bit. 
  • If you eat this cold, make the sandwich and then wrap in plastic wrap before refrigerating. It will likely be less messy if you eat it cold. 
  • If you use a gluten-free wrap, this is a gluten-free dish. It's also soy-free! 

* Although I said hot or cold, I promised Shana I would make it clear that she is adamantly opposed to eating this cold. Bummer.

The post "Roasted Veggie Sandwich with Balsamic Reduction" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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