Delicious eggplant! I don’t think I could ever live without this hearty vegetable. I love grilling it and drenching it in olive oil and balsamic. I could eat that for days! Containing approximately 230mg of potassium for a 1 1/2 cup serving, and ranking low on the carbohydrates, this vegetable should be a dietary staple! The skin of eggplants also contain powerful phytonutrients that are helpful in warding off free radicals! Typically, if I’m making a sandwich I’m all about using the best quality, gluten free bread, but with this recipe, I decided to stick to the Italian roots and go with good ol’ rustic Italian bread! So go outside, soak up some sun and get your grill on!!
Grilled Eggplant Sandwich
1 large eggplant, (1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds), cut into 12 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan, or Asiago cheese (if using Parmesan, go for the real deal- Parmesan Reggiano!)
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 small pieces focaccia bread, or rustic Italian bread
5 ounces baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Place eggplant rounds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Coat both sides lightly with olive oil. Combine Parmesan (or Asiago) and mozzarella in a small bowl. Brush both sides of focaccia (or bread) with olive oil.
- In a sautee pan, drizzle olive oil over medium-to low heat, add minced garlic and sautee for 1 minute. Add spinach and sautee for approx. 5 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
- Combine tomatoes and 2 tablespoons basil in a small pot and cook on medium to low heat until warmed through.
- Place all your ingredients on the baking sheet with the eggplant and take it to the grill. Grill the eggplant slices until brown and soft on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill the bread until toasted, about 1 minute per side. Return the eggplant and bread to the baking sheet. Reduce grill heat to medium.
- Place 1 eggplant round on top of each slice of bread and layer 1 tablespoon tomatoes, 1 tablespoon wilted spinach and 1 tablespoon cheese on each slice of eggplant. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, spinach and cheese. Sprinkle each stack with remaining basil. Place the baking sheet on the grill, close the lid and cook until the eggplant stack is hot and the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
Enjoy your Meatless Monday Eggplant Sandwich!