Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Sandwich on Focaccia Bread- A Meatless Monday Recipe

Roasted eggplant.  Roasted tomatos.  Fresh mozzarella.   Smothered in pesto and rosemary infused olive oil on focaccia bread.  Not missing the meat as much as you thought, huh?

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This recipe was adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe (I was unable to find it online- it’s from one of her cookbooks), but I added some of my own twists to it.  The simplicity of ingredients and the ease of the recipe enticed me to make this easy weeknight meal.  I wanted to share the recipe with you guys as well as my ideas for perfecting it.

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Sandwich

Adapted from Rachel Ray’s “Look and Cook” Cookbook

Yield: 3-4 sandwiches

You will need:

  • One large eggplant, skin on, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
  • 2-3 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into thick pieces
  • One ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • One loaf focaccia bread, or 3-4 hoagie rolls
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Rosemary (fresh preferred, dried fine as well), 1 tsp
  • 3-4 TBS pre-made pesto (bonus points to make your own)
  • 1 can low-fat tomato soup (optional side, highly recommend Amy’s brand)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Put 2 TBS olive oil in a pan and heat over low-medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes, crushed garlic, & rosemary and allow the flavors to infuse on low heat for about 5-7 minutes.  IMG_0623
  4. Arrange the sliced eggplant on one baking sheet and the sliced tomatoes on the other.  Season both the eggplant and the tomato with salt and pepper on both sides.  Set the baking sheet with the tomatoes aside.
  5. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, lightly coat the eggplant slices with the infused olive oil on both sides.
  6. Place the eggplant in the oven and allow to roast for 10-15 min minutes, until lightly brown and just beginning to shrivel.  About half way into the cooking time, add the baking sheet with the sliced tomatoes.  [Note: when I originally made this, I added the eggplant and the tomatoes at the same time and the tomatoes were overcooked, so I highly recommend separating them and baking them half way in]

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7.  While the vegetables roast, slice up the fresh mozzarella and cut the bread (if in loaf form).  At this point feel free to toast the bread by sticking it in the hot oven or in a toaster, if this is your preference.  We did not do this for the focaccia bread and wish we had.

8.Spread bread with a nice helping of prepared pesto.  Remove vegetables from the oven, layer on the bread, top with fresh mozzarella slices, and enjoy!

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This recipe was very tasty!  Overall, I don’t think focaccia bread was the best choice- I think crusty rolls would have been more appropriate.  Not to throw anyone under the bus here, but the focaccia bread was my boyfriend’s idea ;)

The original recipe involves making a pistachio pesto with arugula, and topping the sammy with more arugala.  For times sake, we did not do this, but I do feel it could add a very interesting bite.

Also, I highly recommend more than just one layer of eggplant on the sandwich to make it more substantial.  Feel free to add more roasted veggies, as desired.  I think zucchini or roasted red peppers could add an interesting touch.

I am so proud of myself that for almost 2 months now I have been following meatless monday.  It’s such a fun twist on meals that I feel good about.

What are your favorite types of meals for Meatless Monday?

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Let’s Do Brunch

Brunch.  I love that word.  I love the way it sounds, and I love the images it conjures of lazy weekends spent sitting outside while eating delicious, rich food that is guilt free because it counts as two meals.  I picture french pressed coffee that is ridiculously overpriced but tastes so good that I don’t care it costs $4 for a small cup.  Everyone at any given brunch spot in any city is happy because it is pretty much the most relaxing way to spend a weekend morning at 11 am.

Today Ryan and I went to my absolute favorite brunch spot in Ft. Lauderdale called the Original Breakfast House (OB House).  This place is your quintessential breakfast spot complete with the rudest and most incompetent wait staff, steep prices, long wait times, and the most delicious, mouth-watering, lick-your-plate-clean food.  Part of the charm of OB house is how fresh and local all of the food is: they make their own bread, use farm fresh eggs, and locally grown fruits and vegetables.  And let me tell you- you can taste it in every bite!

Now, how do you guys feel about sharing food (i.e. splitting two entrees) with a friend/significant other?  I used to hate it for many selfish reasons, but lately I am starting to see the appeal.  Sharing allows you to not have to choose between two irresistible sounding meals.  Today, that is what Ryan and I decided to do.  I ordered the Original Downtown Breakfast Sandwich which is egg, homemade salsa, and pepper-jack cheese on homemade multigrain toast.  I have had some very good egg sandwiches in my life, but this one makes the rest look like an Egg McMuffin.  In fact, the word “sandwich” is a serious understatement here.

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Ryan ordered the French Toast which is honestly the best french toast I have had, ever.  It was perfectly crisp and sweet on the outside and doughy on the inside.  Topped with quality maple syrup, it was really the highlight of my week.

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Im curious, what is your favorite thing to order for brunch? And.. do you share?