Grilled Eggplant Sandwich with a Basil Pistachio Pesto

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This eggplant sandwich has it all.  Earthy spices rubbed onto grilled veggies that have just a hint of a smoky flavor, fresh mozzarella melted just enough from the heat of the veggies.  Oh, you can’t forget the rustic basil pistachio pesto that brightens up the whole sandwich in each bite.

I honestly can’t stop thinking about this sandwich.  It is so good!  I could have it for lunch everyday and be a happy woman.  Eggplant is in season now and normally I would grab it to make an Indian dish out of it.  However, the two Indian dishes that I prefer eggplants in both cook the heck out of the eggplant then mash it.  That seemed a bit harsh to me considering how healthy eggplants are, so I set out on a quest.  This eggplant sandwich definitely the best decision I could make.

Eggplants are also known as aubergines and are actually quite popular in cuisines around the world.  They are rich in nutrients but low in calories.  Did you know :

  • 1 cup (raw) provides 20 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein?
  • eggplants are high in antioxidants
  • help reduce heart disease
  • help promote blood sugar control because they are high in fiber
  • aid in weight loss because they are low in calories and high in fiber

I picked up some eggplant and zucchini from the Farmer’s Market last week so I used those.  You can definitely add in extras like yellow squash, tomatoes, or even bell peppers.  I chose to omit onions because they have a very pungent and strong flavor which I didn’t want to take over from the others that need to shine.

Also make sure you get some fresh arugula.  The wild arugula has this beautiful peppery note to it that tastes beautiful.  Having some greens in the sandwich gave it a little balance between all the flavors popping around.

The basil pistachio pesto is the perfect addition instead of a spread or sauce.  The crunchy nuts, the fresh basil, and the zingy vinaigrette it’s combined with elevates the sandwich to a higher level.  I didn’t even process the pesto, just gave it a rough chop to add a bit of chunkiness to the sandwich.

And how can we forget the bread?  I chose ciabatta because it is the perfect vehicle to hold every ingredient together.  It’s thick enough for the juices to seep through without making the bread soggy, and it’s soft enough to be a perfect sandwich bread.  I did rub on the spices then grill the ciabatta to layer on the earthy and smoky flavors.

Here are the tools I used to create this recipe:

Here are some more delicious eggplant recipes to check out:
Baingan Bharta (Punjabi Eggplant)
Pomegranate Eggplant
Poblano Pav Bhaji Burger
The Best Veggie Quesadillas

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I'm Sapna, a foodie, blogger, wife, mom of two beautiful girls, and lover of spices.  I have a background in Nutrition and Dietetics, which I use to incorporate healthy options into all of my recipes.  I love traveling to new places, trying new food, and in turn, creating them in my kitchen to relive the magic. When I'm not in the kitchen, I love curling up with a good book, playing with my munchkins, running, hanging out with friends, and gardening.

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