Grilled Vegetable Sandwich Recipe

Let's whip up a pesto-pasted sandwich from those farm ripe veggies that are chilling in the fridge. They are waiting to be enjoyed while you glance over this fresh idea for lunch or dinner. 

Food photographer and recipe developer Cecilia Ryu crafted a perfectly grilled ciabatta that's jam-packed with the summer veggies you know and love. One could present this premium spread as a midday way to stave off hunger or quarter these as quaint appetizers for a backyard get-together. The choice is entirely up to you.

On the one hand, zucchini, a nutritional wonder, is known to support eye health and healthy digestion, and it decreases blood sugar (via Food Revolution Network). On the other hand, eggplant has plenty of nutrients and antioxidants, and it may lessen your chance of getting heart disease, according to Healthline. That sounds like a win-win! Give your guests the best of what earth offers this season. Prep time for these tasty sandwiches takes about 30 minutes, and the cook times is a bit less. Stick with us, and you'll have dinner for four ready in just about no time at all!

Gather these simple ingredients to prepare the best grilled vegetable sandwiches

On your next trip to the market, be sure to find a medium-sized eggplant, a yellow zucchini, and a green zucchini. You'll also want to bring home a red bell pepper, EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and a bit of salt. You'll need some black pepper, a few slices of fresh mozzarella, arugula, a little basil pesto, and a couple ciabatta loaves as well. 

Are you ready to start cooking? If so, it's time to move on to the next step.

Cut up the veggies

The very first prep step is to wash and cut up your veggies. You'll want to rinse 1 medium eggplant, chop off the top portion with the leaves, and remove the bottom piece. Cut up the eggplant into ¼-inch rounds, and then set that aside. Take 1 yellow and 1 green zucchini, wash them, and cut them in halves. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise into ¼-inch pieces. Clean the red bell pepper, core it, and slice it into quarters.

Toss together the dressing

Take a large bowl, and whisk 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients together into a dressing. Ryu describes the taste, noting, "Balsamic vinegar has a sweet yet complex flavor. The taste reminds me of a sweet fig, and it's not too sour."

Pour the dressing over the eggplant, zucchini, and red pepper slices. Toss the ingredients together well, and cover the vegetables completely. Allow the veggies to marinate for 20 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Brush and grill the ciabatta bread

Heat a grill pan over medium or medium-high, according to your preference. Then, brush the pan with olive oil.

Halve the ciabatta loaves. With the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, brush the cut side of each bread piece. Lay the oiled side of the ciabatta face down into the grill pan. Grill the cut side of your bread for two to three minutes until it's lightly toasted and grill marks appear.

Keep in mind that the bread options for this sandwich are unlimited. So if you prefer whole grain as opposed to ciabatta, for example, go for it! As Ryu puts it, "Any type of bread will work. I've used sourdough, baguettes, or any thick bread. Whole grain totally works!"

Grill the veggies

Get excited, because it's time to grill the stars of the show: your veggies. You'll want to maintain the same heat for your grill pan. Brush the pan with 1 more teaspoon of olive oil. For approximately three to four minutes, grill the chopped eggplant, zucchini, and pepper quarters on each side. Keep them on the pan until the grill marks appear. Once each piece has been grilled, set your veggies aside on a plate to prepare your ciabatta.

Spread basil pesto on the ciabatta

Spread 1 tablespoon of basil pesto on each grilled side of your four ciabatta breads. Then, begin stacking the beautifully grilled veggies in layers on the bottom piece of the ciabatta. Equally distribute the eggplant, zucchini, and pepper onto the bread. Add the fresh mozzarella to each sandwich first, and finally top them off with ½ cup of baby arugula. Lastly, place the top half of the ciabatta onto each sandwich. Press it top down firmly to close it up.

Serve and enjoy these delectable basil pesto veggie sandwiches

These tasty finger foods can be served right away, and boy are they scrumptious! Ryu says they are ideal to prepare for a summertime lunch when the eggplant and zucchini are incredibly fresh. "I serve this mainly for lunch at home. Definitely with chips! Sometimes I skip the bread and eat it as a grilled veggie salad with the pesto spread on top," she notes.

If these fresh veggie sandwiches happen to cool down quickly, Ryu says they can simply be set back on the grill for a few more minutes to reheat. She stresses, "Because of the bread, it's best to eat these the day they are made. I wouldn't recommend eating them cold. I would reheat them by grilling them slightly on a grill pan or frying pan until heated through."

As summer comes to a close and we prepare for the school season to start up again, we hope you and your family set aside some time to come together an enjoy this wholesome meal.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
This perfectly grilled vegetable sandwich recipe is jam-packed with the summer veggies you know and love.
Prep Time
Cook Time
sliced pesto veggies sandwich
Total time: 17 minutes
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 yellow zucchini, halved and sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thickness
  • 1 green zucchini, halved and sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thickness
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and quartered
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 small ciabatta loaves
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  1. Prep the veggies.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the eggplant, zucchini, and red pepper. Toss to combine. Allow the vegetables to marinate for 20 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat a grill pan to medium-high. Brush with olive oil.
  4. Cut the ciabatta loaves in half.
  5. With the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, brush the cut side of each piece of bread. Grill the bread cut side down for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly toasted and grill marks appear.
  6. Brush the grill pan with more olive oil. Grill the eggplant, zucchini, and pepper on each side until grill marks appear, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
  7. Spread 1 tablespoon of pesto on each half of bread. Equally distribute the eggplant, zucchini, and pepper onto 4 halves of the bread. Add the fresh mozzarella and ½ cup of baby arugula. Add the top half of bread to each sandwich. Press down firmly to close.
  8. Serve immediately, or grill the whole sandwich over medium-high heat until grill marks appear on top and the cheese is melted.
Calories per Serving 1,099
Total Fat 44.0 g
Saturated Fat 12.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 46.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 138.1 g
Dietary Fiber 12.8 g
Total Sugars 12.4 g
Sodium 2,011.9 mg
Protein 37.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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