Chargrilled Vegetable “Sandwich” with Feta, Basil and Pine Nuts

16 Oct

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a sandwich without the bread for a while. Alli at Pease Pudding recreated a version of this that she had for lunch in a cafe.

She lives in New Zealand and every time I visit her blog it makes me want to visit New Zealand even more. The choice of food apart from everything else is inspiring. One of her latest posts is a breakfast she had in another cafe which was Baba Ghanoush topped with a Poached Egg (heaven), that is definitely next on my list. Maybe for brunch tomorrow, if I can wait that long…. 

Her version was a traditional (as in using bread) open sandwich with roasted vegetables, roasted garlic, goat’s cheese and pine nuts. I wanted to make it using chargrilled aubergine slices as the “bread”. And walking past these basil flowers with the dog (I smelt them before I even realised what they were), I knew that basil was going to feature quite heavily in it too.

The aubergine colour of the flowers was irresistible I had to pick a small amount to dress my sandwich…

And I made a pesto with the basil to spread on my aubergine bread slices. This is an amazing sandwich and you can use whatever roasted or chargrilled vegetables you like.

I used aubergine, courgette and red and green peppers because that’s what is in season here right now. You just brush the veg with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper before chargrilling.

You could also use goat’s cheese instead of feta. But don’t leave out the pine nuts, they give it crunch and texture. And you have to drizzle it with honey, the sweetness  contrasts with the sour salty feta and balances out all the other flavours, it’s so good…

Chargrilled Vegetable “Sandwich” with Feta Basil & Pine Nuts

Serves 2, vegetarian, gluten-free. Adapted from Pease Pudding

  • 1 medium aubergine,cut  in 1 cm thick slices lengthways
  • 1/2 medium courgette, cut in 1/2 cm thick slices lengthways
  • 1 large red pepper, cut down each side, discard core and remove any membrane ( you should have 4 pieces)
  • 2 long green peppers, halved lengthways and deseeded
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • about 100 gr feta or goat’s cheese
  •  about 2 tbsp basil pesto (see recipe below if you want to make your own)
  •  a handful of pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • a few whole basil leaves
  • a drizzle of honey

For the Basil Pesto

  • a large handful of fresh basil leaves, save a few leaves for the sandwich
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • a handful of pine nuts (toasted in a dry pan) I used some hazelnuts too
  • a handful of finely grated parmesan or manchego
  • salt & black pepper
  • extra virgen olive oil

First make the pesto. Toast off the pine nuts in a dry pan being careful not to burn them (you can toast the pine nuts for the garnish at the same time). Put all the ingredients in a processor and blend with 2 tbsp olive oil. Drizzle in more olive oil and continue to blend until you get the right consistency. I like it liquidy enough to spread easily. Taste and adjust seasoning/ add cheese to your liking. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

For the vegetables:

Brush all the vegetables on both sides with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Put your griddle pan on the heat and leave for a few minutes to get hot. Chargrill all the vegetables on both sides in batches until soft and with nice grill marks. You only need four aubergine slices for two sandwiches so pick the longest four and keep the rest in the fridge to use in something else.

Spread basil pesto on one side of each of the aubergine bread slices, layer up your sandwich how you please, top with a few basil leaves, drizzle with honey, sprinkle with pine nuts and top off with the aubergine slice. Cut in half on a slight diagonal and serve with extra honey to drizzle over.


Things That Made Me Smile Today…………

We met this little Kitty today while were out walking. She was very friendly. And no I didn’t take her home, I have three cats already.

She was really cute though, she must have belonged to one of the farms because she wasn’t scared of us at all, or Rufus.

Rufus found a new friend too….


19 Responses to “Chargrilled Vegetable “Sandwich” with Feta, Basil and Pine Nuts”

  1. thekalechronicles October 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    This is beautiful and I’m sure it tastes good — feta, basil, pesto and red peppers: what’s not to like?

  2. Tony Ward October 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    This one goes out to all our vegetarian friends AND those who haven’t made up their mind yet (me included her !!)
    Enjoy….looks fab hey ??

  3. Savory Simple October 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    This looks lovely. What a fabulous combination of sandwich ingredients.

  4. ceciliag October 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    That is a perfect meal for me.. perfect. And I have to agree the cafe food in NZ is the best i have encountered so far anywhere. Nothing beats it. And I have travelled far and wide looking believe me.. now must away to peaspudding! c

  5. Baker Street October 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Ooh! You have such lovely flavors on that plate. It sure makes for a delicious meal.

  6. chicaandaluza October 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Absolutely lovely. And not sure what is more gorgeous looking…the food, the kitty, the basil or Rufus!!

  7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide October 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Love that photo of Rufus. He looks happy. This dish looks amazing. I remember Pease Pudding’s recipe and wanting to make it then too.

  8. Savorique October 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    This is a stunning vegetarian sandwich. You are the queen of the eggplant!

  9. Ramona October 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Your “sandwich” is simply beautiful! You have taken nature’s bounty and made a masterpiece!

  10. peasepudding October 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    It looks beautiful and I love your version without the bread, I’m always on a crusade in spring to reduce my ‘carb’ intake to get into that summer bikini LOL. Love the kitty, when we visit my sister inlaw in Raro we have to resist adopting and bring strays home with us to NZ (my two would not approve). Thanks for linking my recipe and get saving for your trip to NZ ;o)

  11. happywhennothungry October 17, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    This looks beautiful and soo fresh and healthy. Love the addition of the pine nuts too!

  12. Celia October 17, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    This is such a cool idea! I love that you added honey…and the adorable kitty ain’t bad either…

  13. Roxana GreenGirl October 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    This beautiful bread-less sandwich sounds so delicious, would love to have it for brunch.
    aww, the kitten is so cute …

  14. spicegirlfla October 18, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    I love this! The presentation is as beautiful as I know it will taste! I like the idea of the pine nuts as I’ve made grilled veggie “sandwiches” before, but not with the addition of those nuts!

  15. zestybeandog October 21, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    This is beautiful! I love the addition of pine nuts 🙂

  16. mairi29 October 22, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    It looks delicious! Perfect for Summer grilling. And such a cute kitten too 🙂

  17. tiffany October 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    SO creative to use eggplant instead of bread (and MUCH healthier!). Those grill marks are so inviting! 😀

  18. Beth Michelle November 15, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    I really, really, really wish that I could have this for lunch right now! It looks SO good! Bookmarking to try as soon as I go to the market and pick up the ingredients.


  1. Eggplant, Bell Pepper, Pesto and Goat Cheese Sandwich | Seattle Foodshed - November 1, 2011

    […] Chargrilled Vegetable “Sandwich” with Feta, Basil and Pine Nuts ( […]

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