Southwest Veggie Sandwich

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I told a little lie when I said that I wasn’t going to mention my recent Arizona trip again. I just miss it so much! One of the best things about traveling is eating — eating at new places, new spaces, with new views, new ingredients and new flavors — amiright?

I had a sandwich (ok, it was actually a panini but don’t try to get me on a technicality) after a day of hiking in Sedona that has had me drooling for the past two weeks. That’s gross and I immediately want to take that back. But, the sandwich was just so dang good.

It was also pretty simple: marbled rye bread topped with cilantro pesto, roasted veggies, and pepper jack cheese all grilled to gooey perfection. Dontcha love when that happens? When  you are eating something amazing and you think to yourself, ‘I can totally make this for myself at home and eat it every hour of every day.’ I had that exact epiphany at this little restaurant… and guess who has eaten about 14 of these sammies in the last two weeks?

Me. I have no shame.

PS Does anyone actually refer to sandwiches as sammies? My bad.

That’s enough of the small talk. Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite grilled-cheese-ish, panini-if-you-have-a-panini-press, incredibly-wonderful, and drool-worthy sandwich.

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Southwest Veggie Sandwich
Inspired by: Secret Garden Cafe
Printable Recipe
Recipe makes ~4 sandwiches depending on size of vegetables and size of bread

1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise and then into 1/4″ thick slices
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 small zucchini, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise and then into 1/4″ thick slices
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced into 1/4″ thin slices
1/4C sun dried tomatoes, chopped into large pieces if they were whole
2-3T olive oil
4T butter
8 slices marbled rye bread
4 slices pepper jack cheese
4T cilantro pesto (see below)

Preheat oven to 425. Place sliced vegetables (excluding the sun dried tomato) onto baking sheet. Toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are tender and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Add in sun dried tomatoes to the mixture.

To assemble sandwich:
Butter one side of each slice of bread. Smear the inside (non-buttered side) with cilantro pesto. Top with roasted veggies, a piece of cheese, and the other slice of bread (butter side up).
Cook on a griddle until it is golden brown. Flip. Cook again.
Remove when golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted. Enjoy!

If you thought the above directions were ridiculously intricate and insulting to your intelligence:
Throw some butter on the bread and layer ingredients in center –> cook like it’s a grilled cheese sandwich. Voila!

For the cilantro pesto:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2C fresh cilantro
1/4C olive oil
salt, pepper

Pulse garlic in food processor. Add in cilantro and pulse a few times. Continue to run processor as you slowly stream in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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