As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If the saying were adapted for my dinner tonight it would be; when your cold refrigerator gives you brown spotted eggplant, use other colorful vegetables to make a plant powered sandwich instead of an eggplant parmesan grinder. Initially, I was a little upset. I mean I could practically smell the eggplant parmesan as I walked over to to the refrigerator to take out the eggplant. At first touch, the purple vegetable was a bit soft. I thought it could be salvaged. I got out my scalpel and made the first incision, only to see unfortunate brown spots on the inside. There wasn’t enough white meat to salvage.
So, there I stood, with my freshly baked bread unsure of what to do next. I pouted for about thirty seconds, before realizing that I had more than enough vegetables to make a kick-ass sandwich. There was no way I was going to let my fresh whole wheat bread go to waste (thank you whole foods bakery because you really make delicious bread that is nearly perfect in every way, except in price).
I started by taking out zucchini and half of a yellow bell pepper. I sliced them and put them into the oven at 375 degrees because roasting vegetables always ensures a tasty end product. Then, I went for a run, thinking about my delicious sandwich-to-be as I sweat it out. As soon as I got home, I took the zucchini out of the oven and put some red onions in a hot frying pan drizzled with olive oil. I sauteed those with some garlic and then added some baby bella mushroom slices. As they softened, I seasoned the mushrooms and added spinach. With a quick toss those veggies were done. I toasted some bread and started assembling my plant piled sandwich. No big mac needed here. My sandwich was overfilled with healthy, vitamin-packed vegetables. In all, I managed to add five vegetables to this satisfying sandwich, as well as garlic and warm tomato sauce to add even more flavor. Do you have any favorite veggie-based sandwiches?
Ingredients for a roasted plant-powered sandwich:
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 organic bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp of olive oil (1 tbsp for the roasted veggies and 1 tbsp for the stove top cooked veggies)
1/4 tsp of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
1/2 of a red onion, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2-3 handfuls of organic spinach, washed
1/4 tsp of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dried basil
1 loaf of freshly baked wheat bread, sliced into sandwich sized pieces
1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of sauce, warmed (*I chose a dairy free sauce choice for a vegan sandwich, as some have grated cheese in them)
1- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then, slice the zucchini and pepper lengthwise. Make sure to remove any seeds and ribs from the pepper. Lay the veggie strips flat on a baking sheet pan. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil on them and then add garlic powder, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss gently, coating all of the veggies in the seasonings and oil. Then put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until softened.
2- While the roasting the zucchini and pepper strips, thinly slice a red onion and two cloves of garlic. You can also slice the mushrooms at this time. Then, heat the other tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add the onions to the pan and let them brown. Stir them around to ensure even cooking. Then add the garlic slices. Let them begin to brown around the edges before you add the baby bella mushrooms and other seasonings. Meanwhile, wash and dry the spinach. When all of the vegetables are nearly cooked, then add the spinach. Let it wilt. Stir the mixture up.
3- While the mushrooms are cooking add your bread slices to the oven. Let them toast for 5-10 minutes, while the zucchini is finishing up in the oven.
4- When the spinach and mushrooms are done take them off the heat. Remove the zucchini from the oven when it is done and set it aside. Warm the tomato sauce
5- Drizzle a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil on your toasted bread. Then top the bread with the mushroom mixture. Top that with zucchini and pepper slices. Then add the tomato sauce. Your beautiful plant powered sandwich is now complete.
The finished product is a stack of deliciously seasoned produce that sits between two slices of hearty wheat bread, which is slightly crusty on the outside, yet soft on the inside. What could be better? Not much right now, for me. A good sandwich should never be underestimated.