Grilled Eggplant & Pesto Sandwiches

Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches /

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 / Grilled Eggplant and Arugula-Pesto Sandwiches /

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 /

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 /

grilled eggplant & pesto sandwiches

Serves: serves 4
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
  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.


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Uma

    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

      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?)

    • Christine

      Hi Uma-

      I own these plates and was considering a change- let me know if you are interested in talking about that 🙂

  2. Holstee from

    OMG the GIF is the icing on the cake! Yummyy

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. sara from

    This sandwich looks so delicious…YUM! 🙂

  6. 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

      thanks Emilie 🙂

  7. Kristin

    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

      thanks, and welcome!

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

  9. Kathryn from

    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.

  10. Colleen B.

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

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

  12. Isabelle from

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

    Isabelle @ Head Red & Blondi

  13. 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!

  14. Ale from

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

    • jeanine

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

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.