Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Asparagus Melt with Pesto Spread

Earlier this spring I made delectable wrap sandwiches with spears of asparagus.  This version presents the asparagus in open-faced form. My favorite vegan pesto is from Meditalia, but look for any version that doesn't contain cheese.  In a pinch, you can make your own pesto at home. For a good sliced vegan sourdough, try Rudi's Bakery.

  • 16 asparagus spears
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon bottled pesto
  • 2 (2-ounce) slices sourdough bread
  • 2 ounces vegan deli ham slices (such as Lightlife)
  • 4 (1/4-inch thick) tomato slices
  • 2 vegan cheese slices*
  • Black pepper
1. Trim the tough ends off the asparagus and steam, covered, for 2 minutes, just until crisp-tender.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and pesto.

3. Toast the sourdough slices, and spread 2 tablespoons pesto mixture over 1 side of each toast slice.

4. Layer each slice with 8 asparagus spears, 1 ounce ham, 2 tomato slices, and 1 cheese slice.

Note: This is the kind of recipe where it helps to have all your ingredients lined up on a platter or work surface, and ready to go.

5. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and broil for 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with black pepper to taste just before serving.

*Look for any vegan cheese sold specifically as slices. I used Galaxy Foods' vegan mozzarella slices for these sandwiches, but Daiya has new slices on the market which would probably also taste great. 

Nutrition Info:
2 servings (1 sandwich), Calories 343

Tasting Notes:
I had the hardest time rating this sandwich, because wow, the pesto spread was heaven on earth, and add to that the toasted sourdough, the melted cheese, and the warm ham slices, and that old cliche "died and gone to heaven" came to mind. The asparagus, while super tasty and fresh, was just out of place here - roly-poly under the other sandwich fixings, and let's face it, got in the way of the not-so-healthy parts of the sandwich. Here's what I recommend: 2 slices of bread and an extra slather of pesto mixture for a close-faced asparagus sandwich. Or, if you're going to go open-faced, nix the asparagus and pile on another slice or two of ham and cheese, in which case that sandwich would rate off the charts.


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