Updated: May 10, 2021
Grilled vegan dishes do not seem to as popular; I think maybe it is because the idea of "Grill" usually leads you think about "Barbeque" in its most traditional form. In the Midwest, traditional BBQ is where meats are marinated or rubbed and then heated over hot coals or flame. Since at the core, BBQ is "meat," grilling doesn't quite compute for many cooking methods for vegans it seems. In my family, most days we are grilling; there is so much flavor to a grilled dish and it would be a shame to save it only for the meat. Vegetables especially get a "meaty" flavor and taste on the grill which pleases vegan and non-vegans alike!
For this sandwich, the "prep" is easy and my husband grills so this is a "lazy" dinner for me! Use whatever veggies you like (even if it's all just bell peppers!); this is a simple and tasty option no matter what you decide.
Sustainability of this sandwich is reliant on the grill itself. The day we made this dinner, it was 80 degrees F outside and sunny. We didn't want to turn on the AC as we knew the sun was setting and the cooling night would help. But, inside our house, it was 85 degrees and climbing. Not turning on the stove / oven or even cooking over the stove top and instead, relying on our grill, saved our energy consumption. We didn't heat the house more by using an internal appliance and avoided the AC for the night. After dinner, the house began to have a nice breeze; a few hours later, we went to bed with the windows open and the frogs singing; Summer's A-Comin'!
1 eggplant cut lengthwise into strips (Sweat for ~30 min; put eggplants on a cooling rack over the sink; generously salt and let them sit for about 30 min to draw out moisture. Rinse and pat dry.
1 bell pepper (any color); cut into 2 halves
1 zucchini cut lengthwise into strips
2 ripe avocados
2 tbsp fresh basil (diced)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp avocado oil
1/2 lemon zested
1 tsp each (or to taste):
salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder
French bread (or other long baguette); cut in half and sliced open for sandwiches
Avocado oil (for drizzling on bread)
Baby Kale (or Spinach)
Preheat grill (not grill pan); spray grill so vegetables do not stick and add to the grill. Grill on each side ~5-7 minutes until grill marks appear and the vegetables soften.
Drizzle (generously) the cut sides of the bread with avocado oil (or any other neutral oil); place on grill cut sides down for ~2-3 minutes until toasted and browned.
While the vegetables & bread grill, combine all avocado-basil smash ingredients into a small bowl; mash with a fork and mix (retaining some texture - you don't want a puree).
Spread smash on both sides of bread and layer pieces of eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper on top; add baby kale (or spinach) and close. Cut & serve with a fork & a knife = ).
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I've love to see how it turned out for you and if you liked it, so let me know.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie