Grilling is a perfect way to enhance the natural, sweet flavors inherent in vegetables. So is roasting, but the other day I was heating up a pizza and forgot that some tomato sauce fell on the oven floor. Needless to say, when I preheated my oven to 425°F today and opened the oven door, thick smoke whooshed out, making me frantic in opening all the windows and doors and turning on the fans so that the fire alarm wouldn’t go off! So naturally, roasting was out of the question, and grilling was called in to the rescue! (I spent the rest of the night cleaning my oven after it cooled, yay).
I’m not being exact here in terms of how much this serves. Initially, I was going to make a roasted veggie salad with balsamic reduction, but I bought demi-baguettes at the store and wanted to make the veggies for a sandwich. I also marinated some tofu in homemade honey mustard and these turned out so good after being grilled – the honey caramelizes with the protein and makes for excellent grill marks on the tofu. Layer in some nice, smoky gouda cheese, and drizzle the top with a balsamic reduction for some sweet-tangy flavor.
Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Smoked Gouda and Balsamic Reduction
For the veggies, serves about 4-6
1 eggplant, sliced
1 zucchini squash, sliced diagonally, into 1/2″ slices
1 yellow squash, sliced diagonally, into 1/2″ slices
1 red bell pepper, sliced
5 stalks green onions
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1. Lay the eggplant in a single layer on some paper towels. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt over the eggplant and wait for about 10-15 minutes, until the eggplant starts to “sweat.” Pat the eggplant slices with some more paper towels.
2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, and dried basil. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each side of the vegetables with the oil-vinegar mixture. Set aside.
for the honey-mustard tofu:
1 block (14 oz) extra-firm tofu (if making 6 sandwiches, make 2 blocks of tofu)
2 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp honey
Freshly cracked black pepper
1. Squeeze excess water out of the tofu by placing the block of tofu on a plate, and placing a weight (small tupperware filled with water, a flat plate with a can on top, etc). Leave the weight on the tofu for about an hour, pouring out the water once through the hour.
2. Cut the tofu into 4 slices. In a medium bowl, stir together the mustard, honey, and black pepper until combined. Add the tofu and marinate for about 30 minutes before grilling.
for the balsamic vinegar reduction:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
1. In a small saucepan, stir together the vinegar, sugar, and water over medium-high heat until boiling. Allow to boil for about a minute, then reduce the heat to simmer for another 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens and is reduced to 1/4 cup.
Put it all together!
Extras you’ll need for the sandwiches: 4-6 slices of smoked gouda, sandwich bread or demi-baguettes enough for 4-6 servings, etc.
Grill the veggies and tofu; it’s up to you to serve it with some demi-baguettes or salad. With the sandwiches, layer some veggies, tofu, and cheese on top of the bread. Drizzle everything with the balsamic reduction. Top your sammy and serve!