Consider this your obligatory “how is summer already almost over?” post. But really: how is summer almost over?! The days are still warm and only just a titch shorter than they were a month ago, but school’s starting again and Labor Day is quickly approaching. It’s time to put all those last hurrah summer veggies to good use–might I suggest these Summer Vegetable Sandwiches with Chimichurri Aioli?
Zucchini and peppers abound at the farmers market right now (or at least they do in my neck of the woods!); I’ve paired them with red onion and portobellos here. They’re tossed with avocado oil and seasoned with just a bit of salt and pepper, then roasted to tender, caramelized perfection. These vegetables are just the start of an epic sandwich.
What comes next? Chimichurri aioli! Not authentic aioli, but vegan aioli, which I much prefer to the kind made with eggs. Many homemade plant-based mayos and aiolis are made with cashews, which is fabulous, but to save a little bit of time and for optimal creaminess, I like using firm silken tofu. You’ll have a bit leftover after making the vegetable sandwiches, but don’t panic: it’s great for adding to smoothies for a boost of plant-based protein. Just freeze it and take it out when you need it!
Back to the aioli: the aforementioned tofu is blended with the ingredients of chimichurri–herbs, vinegar, and garlic–to make a creamy, tangy spread that’s absolutely packed with flavor. The veggies and chimichurri aioli are all you need to make a crave-worthy sandwich. (Literally crave-worthy–I developed this recipe when I was pregnant with my first daughter and craved it like crazy when I was pregnant with my second 4 years later.)
Oh, but you also need bread! And I recommend hitting up your local bakery for the best baguette you can find. Of course, other types of bread will do, but I whatever you use, you go with something sufficiently crusty to hold everything together.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Summer Vegetable Sandwiches with Chimichurri Aioli
Who needs cheese?! A creamy, zippy spread and caramelized veggies make for the perfect plant-based sandwich.
- 1 medium red bell pepper stemmed, seeded and sliced lengthwise
- 2 large portobello mushrooms cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 large zucchini quartered lengthwise (4 long, thin slices)
- 1 medium red onion sliced into thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or any high smoke point, neutral-flavored oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 crusty baguette halved lengthwise
For the Chimichurri Aioli:
- 6 ounces firm silken tofu
- 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
Place all of the vegetables on the sheet pan and drizzle with the avocado oil. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 25 minutes, or until they're tender and just beginning to brown.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the chimichurri aioli. Combine the silken tofu, parsley, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes in the smallest bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and season to taste with salt.
Spread the aioli onto both sides of the baguette. Layer the vegetables onto the bottom of the bread, then place the other half of the baguette on top. Use a sharp knife to cut the baguette into 4 sandwiches and serve.