Grilled Eggplant & Pesto Sandwiches

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

You probably don’t need a recipe to make a sandwich but I couldn’t help but share this big juicy stack of late-summer grilled veggies. I rarely make sandwiches these days, (mostly because I live in the town of tacos)… but these simply grilled eggplant slices were just begging to be put between bread and slathered with arugula-walnut pesto. I piled on some roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella. Sub avocado for the cheese if you’re vegan. Then get out the napkins because things are gonna get messy!

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

You can assemble your sandwich like I did, or put the ingredients on a platter so everyone can make whatever combo they like. There are no wrong answers here…

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

For further instruction, I made this animated gif for you. And now I’m starving… is it lunchtime yet?

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches / www.loveandlemons.com

grilled eggplant & pesto sandwiches
 
Author:
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
for the sandwiches:
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch slices
  • drizzle of olive oil, for grilling the eggplant
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, toasted if you like
  • a few roasted peppers (optional)
  • ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced (skip if vegan)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
arugula walnut pesto:
  • ⅓ cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • big handful of arugula (plus reserve a few sprigs for the sandwiches)
  • big handful of basil (also reserve a few)
  • juice of ½ a small lemon
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Slice your eggplant and arrange the slices in one layer on a plate. Sprinkle generously with salt and let it sit while you prep everything else. In a few minutes, it'll become watery, dab off the water with a clean towel before you grill the eggplant.
  2. Make your pesto by pulsing together the walnuts and garlic. Then add arugula, basil, lemon, salt & pepper. Pulse again, then add the olive oil and pulse one last time. I made my pesto chunky, add more olive oil if you prefer a smoother pesto. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan. Once it's hot, drizzle your eggplant with olive oil and place on a hot grill. Let each side cook for 2-3 minutes or until nice grill marks form.
  4. Assemble sandwiches with pesto, arugula, mozzarella and/or avocado, grilled eggplant, roasted peppers, and a sprig of basil.

25 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

    • jeanine
      09.10.2014

      ha thanks! I know they’re super cheesy but I just couldn’t help myself 🙂

  1. Ale from piloncilloyvainilla.com
    09.10.2014

    Gotta give it a try! I´m madly in love with eggplants and arugula. 😉

  2. I don’t make sandwiches often either but this one makes me want to make one very soon. Love the flavors going on with the walnut pesto and grilled eggplant and avocado. Delicious!

  3. Isabelle from headredandblondi.blogspot.com
    09.10.2014

    You’re making me hungry!
    These are beautiful and I am so happy that there’s a vegan possibility 😉

    Isabelle @ Head Red & Blondi

  4. Oh wow, I have some leftover pesto in the fridge that I made last week… and this looks like the perfect sandwich for it!

  5. Colleen B.
    09.10.2014

    I just made this for dinner tonight. Amazing flavors! I took the vegan route and stuck with avocado- delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Kathryn from londonbakes.com
    09.11.2014

    I love the flavours in this! had an awesome dish of grilled eggplant with pesto the other day and it was just calling out to be made into a sandwich.

  7. Your photographs are gorgeous! I love pesto and love a good sandwich with yummy bread. This is a win-win!

  8. Kristin
    09.11.2014

    I just discovered your blog earlier this week and am LOVING it! Great recipes and photography! Love the GIF on this post…not to mention how mouthwatering the sandwich looks! Thanks and I look forward to continuing to follow your blog! 🙂

    • jeanine
      09.13.2014

      thanks, and welcome!

  9. OK. Can we please talk about how adorable that speckled blue plate is? I am in love. I am also in love with the combination of veggies on this sandwich. Grilled eggplant happens to be one of my very favorites- all golden and creamy- piled high between punchy roasted red peppers and arugula pesto? Sounds like a dream. And I’ll take the avo AND cheese, thank you very much. 😉

    • jeanine
      09.13.2014

      thanks Emilie 🙂

  10. sara from cupcakemuffin.blogspot.com
    09.14.2014

    This sandwich looks so delicious…YUM! 🙂

  11. Thank you for this pesto recipe. Living in Costa Rica offers 12 months of growing season for gardens, but nuts can be very expensive because they are imported with high taxes. I grow arugula and pesto and walnuts are the most affordable nuts, so yea for me, I LOVE this recipe. thanks again, Laurel

  12. I have a stack of roasted eggplant slices in the fridge right now and just as I was wondering what to do with them your beautiful post came along. Looks so yummy and I have been making my daughter’s school lunch sandwiches with mozzarella AND avocado with a smear of pesto and sliced tomatoes, now I just need to add the eggplant and voila! Thanks for the delicious inspiration.

  13. Holstee from holstee.com
    10.08.2014

    OMG the GIF is the icing on the cake! Yummyy

    • jeanine
      10.08.2014

      ha, thanks 🙂

  14. Uma
    09.14.2016

    Hi Jeanine, I’m making this now! So many tasty ingredients. I was actually wondering about the plate featured in the GIF you created. Where is it from? I love the pattern. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.14.2016

      Hi Uma, I hope you love the sandwiches! The plate is from West Elm, but I got it at least 3 or 4 years ago (maybe try searching ebay or second hand items on etsy?)

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.