This post is contributed by Mara Tyler, author of the blog Cheap & Simple Vegan Recipes.

Mouthwatering garlic pesto. Meaty and moist eggplant. Crusty French bread. Rich olive oil. Gooey, oozing cheese. Tender roasted vegetables. Welcome to your new favorite vegan sandwich.

When I stopped eating meat, I couldn’t shake free from my Italian roots. And since I love taking classic dishes and adapting them into vegan versions, I decided that eggplant parmesan was just dying to be a sandwich—with a creamy pesto spread and oven-roasted vegetables. All you need is a fresh baguette, some soy mozzarella, colorful veggies and a few other ingredients to make this incredibly simple yet satisfying sandwich. It’s perfect for that night you want some serious comfort food without all the guilt.

Oven-Crisp Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich

serves 2

Ingredients:

For sandwiches:

1/2 eggplant

1 red pepper, julienned

4 whole tomato slices

1 crusty French bread baguette

1 ½-2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese

1 cup fresh spinach

Olive oil

Pesto spread:

1 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup fresh basil

Water, for consistency

Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven broiler (500 degrees F). Slice eggplant lengthwise, so as to get ¼-inch thick “sheets.” Slice sheets into about 2-3-inch wide strips. Brush both sides of eggplant strips with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet. On a separate baking sheet, toss tomato slices and red pepper slices with a little olive oil and then arrange so they’re not touching on the sheet. Put both baking sheets in the oven and roast vegetables under broiler for about 10 minutes; veggies should be tender but be careful you don’t burn the eggplant.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all pesto spread ingredients except water and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until you get a chunky texture, then add a bit of water at a time until you have a smooth puree (should be spreadable but not runny). Add salt to taste; blend again.
  3. Remove veggies from oven; set aside. Slice baguette down the middle lengthwise and then cut halves in half. Arrange on a baking sheet to assemble sandwiches. On the bottom half of each sandwich, spread a thin layer of the pesto spread, followed by a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add the following layers: eggplant strips, cheese, 2 tomato slices and peppers, cheese, spinach, cheese. Brush the top half of each baguette slice with a little olive oil and set next to the bottom half on the baking sheet.
  4. Put sandwiches in oven under the broiler for about 10 minutes, or until bread is crispy and cheese is melty. Remove from oven; spread a thick layer of pesto sauce on the top half of each baguette and place on top of bottom half. Cut in half to serve. Enjoy!

Want more Cheap & Simple Vegan Recipes? Follow Mara on Twitter and Facebook!

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