Roasted Veggie and Smoked Gouda Sandwich
Life is like a sandwich. The more you add to it the better it becomes.
I love this quote. It’s so true, isn’t it? Even when we feel like, in the moment, far too much has been added to life, we can always be thankful that we’re as blessed as we are to have the opportunities we have. The key, in life and in sandwiches, is to focus on quality as much if not more than on quantity.
I’ve been working part-time at a cozy, gourmet lunch and bakery spot in northern Vermont. I didn’t plan on working there. In fact, I merely walked in one day to grab a sandwich and around the cake and caramel bar-packed case strolled a friend of mine that I haven’t seen in years. After yelling our mutual disbelief that we’d run into each other there (me because it’s been 6 years, her because last she knew I was living in Hawaii), she pulled me into the kitchen and announced to the owner that she’d found the new lunch chef. So for the last few months I’ve been making soups and sandwiches using amazing local produce, and tossing salads while singing along to John Mayer and getting advice about living in a winter wonderland.
It’s been over a year since I lived in a place that had seasons that change the atmosphere in more than just the number of tourists strolling about. In Vermont, the changing of the seasons means the weather gets abruptly cooler and folks where flannels with their flops. The cooler weather marks the appropriate time to start obsessing over all things that scream Vermont, like apple butter, maple syrup and pumpkins. What else is appropriate this time of year in Vermont (as opposed to an island where you spend New Years Day in your bikini)? Ridiculously comforting meals and sandwiches loaded with flavor and not lacking in heft.
What I like about this particular sandwich is that it covers all the bases of flavor and satisfaction without leaving you feeling like you need to take a nap (even if the warm fire is calling your name). This Veggie Sandwich is the real-deal but doesn’t have the typical piles of meat, loads of cheese and gobs of mayo that one might think are required to make a sandwich really get ya. Sometimes all it takes is a pile of roasted, local veggies, crusty baguette and killer cheese to get it right.
You can use whichever vegetables you love (or want to experiment with), but I recommend trying to find local, in-season veggies. They tend to have the most flavor, they are as fresh as you can get and you’ll be helping your local farmer out a lot. Also, try to pick for color. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, purples…they all work and they all look beautiful!
- 4 small, multigrain baguettes
- 4 tablespoons hummus
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
- 1 large carrot, cut into slices on the bias
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
- 12 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1 small eggplant, cut into rounds
- 1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds and stem removed
- 6 ounces Smoked Gouda, sliced thinly
- 1 cup mixed greens
- 1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, diveded
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, gently toss zucchini, carrots, onion rings, asparagus, eggplant rounds and red pepper with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out vegetables in one layer. Roast 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until veggies are browning. Remove from oven.
- Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the bell pepper and slice into strips.
- Use a bread knife to slice each baguette in half lengthwise. Spread 1 tablespoon of hummus on each bottom piece.
- Neatly layer your roasted vegetables on top.
- Top with slices of Gouda.
- Place the sandwich bottoms and tops (crust side down) on parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast 4-5 minutes, just enough to melt the cheese.
- Toss greens with balsamic and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Evenly distribute on top of each sandwich.
- Finish by placing the top of the baguette back on the sandwich.