Monday, April 11, 2011

Tofurky Sandwich with Red Pepper-Pine Nut Pesto and Caramelized Onions

A few nights back I made a sandwich using Match crab (see my post for Curried Crab Salad with Coriander-Dusted Flatbread).  Tonight I'm following up with a second, gourmet sandwich recipe.  This sandwich is impressive enough to serve guests - just add glasses of sparkling water with lemon, and fruit for dessert.

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan sprinkles (such as Galaxy Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 halved garlic cloves
  • 1 (7-ounce) drained bottle roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 2 teaspoons vegan sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) loaf ciabatta
  • 12 oven-roasted Tofurky deli slices
  • 2 ounces sliced vegan cheese
  • 2 cups trimmed watercress
1. Place the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, water, garlic, and red peppers in a blender and process until smooth; set aside.

Note: don't forget to toast the pine nuts first; heat in a skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant, being careful to shake the pan so they don't burn.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sugar; cook for 8 minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally.

3. Cut the bread in half horizontally, and spread the red pepper pesto evenly over the cut sides of the bread.  Layer the Tofurky, cheese, onion, and watercress on the bottom half of the loaf (it will be piled high), and cover with the top half of the loaf.  Cut the loaf into 4 pieces.

A couple notes on ingredients: ciabatta should be vegan by default (flour, water, and yeast) at your local baker, but check ingredients to be sure when purchasing.  For the cheese, I used the sliced vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods, since it comes in thin slices that mirror the Tofurky.  But feel free to use whatever cheese you like.

This sandwich is best served immediately, or the pesto will make the bread soggy.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 sandwich piece), Calories 416 

Tasting Notes:
So good that I nearly stopped thinking while I ate this.  Sweetness from the onions balanced by the peppery bite of the watercress, all wrapped around a heaping pile of Tofurky.  Quite honestly, it was hard to taste the pesto because of all the other competing flavors, but I know it was there, and it made the ciabatta bread soft, and I have zero complaints.


Vegan Extra:
The watercress was part of what made this sandwich so great, compared to standard iceberg lettuce. A few other unexpected greens to try for sandwiches include: endive, radicchio, baby spinach, or arugula.

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