Monday, October 26, 2009

Super Sandwich Supper

Many times, when my kids were growing up in our home, supper time found me staring at a cold kitchen with a hungry family and no preparations. In spite of well-laid plans, the day had surprised me and there had been no time to cook.

This recipe is designed for a day like that. These hearty sandwiches are packed with grilled vegetables and a complete protein, without the mess and time involved in cooking a traditional main course. They can be accompanied by one of my quick side dish recommendations below. You can pick up the ingredients on your way home or plan to make this easy supper on a busy day. It's also a great option for tired moms who need a break.

Super Sandwiches


  • Washed, cut Yellow or Zucchini squash in 1/4-inch slices
(you can cut it horizontally or vertically, depending on your preference)
  • Washed, cut bell peppers of any color, either in slices or large sections
(8 hearty slices per pepper)
  • You can use other vegetables instead of these or add to them.
Good choices are: mushrooms; asparagus; onions; cucumbers; eggplant*.
  • Non-stick cooking spray oil

  • One sliced tomato for every 3-4 people
  • Washed and separated lettuce leaves
  • Whole-grain bread, flat bread, pita bread, sourdough bread, or French Bread
  • Yellow mustard
  • Hummus (see my easy recipe) OR cheese of your choice, shredded or sliced.

  • Ingredients for a side dish: canned soup, frozen hash browns, or fresh fruit.


1. First, I slice the vegetables and cook them lightly. (Do not cook the tomatoes or the lettuce.)
This can be done in one of three ways:

  • steam them on a plate, uncovered for 2-5 minutes in the microwave until tender crisp.
  • brown slightly on medium heat with a non-stick cooking spray in a non-stick pan for 5-7 minutes.
  • bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

If I am serving more than two people, the oven method is the most efficient. I let the oven preheat while I wash and slice the vegetables. I cover cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray it with non-stick cooking oil. This means I have virtually nothing to clean up afterwards. I spread all of the sliced vegetables on the cookie sheets and set them on the racks in the oven at the same time. While they are baking I get out the other ingredients and set up the sandwiches.

I like to sprinkle granulated garlic and oregano on my vegetables before they cook.

*Eggplant should be cooked twice as long as the other vegetables and turned over halfway through cooking. It's important to cook it thoroughly.

When the vegetables are done, I let them cool for a few minutes while I am continuing to put the meal together. This way, they are not too hot to handle and they are firmer.

2. I start the preparations for the side dishes. The ones I use most often are healthy, canned soups which I heat in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave OR a side of fresh fruit. Healthy Request soups are nice choices. Yes, they are more expensive, but this is an instant meal, remember? It's still cheaper than a restaurant.

Occasionally, I cook frozen hash brown potatoes in a skillet, because these are filling and easy to do. I buy shredded hash brown potatoes that have no added oils or fats and I use a slight amount of non-stick cooking oil in a non-stick pan. I cook them and turn them 3-4 times until they are golden brown.

3. While the soup is heating or the hash browns are cooking, I set the pieces of bread out for sandwiches. I put mustard on one side and add lettuce and a slice of tomato. On the other side I spread hummus or place a slice of cheese. If my cheese is shredded, I wait to apply it later.

4. If your vegetables are watery, place them on a double layer of paper towels for a minute with the spiced side up. The extra water will drain out onto the towels.

Put the vegetable slices on the sandwich halves on top of the lettuce and tomato slices. If you are using hummus, put the hummus side on top. Slice the sandwich in half.

Please note: this recipe calls for either cheese or hummus to be used. I have not tried to use both in the same sandwich and I wouldn't recommend it.

If you are using cheese, put the cheese on top of the vegetables. Pop the vegetables, cheese, and bread back into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese begins to melt. Then take them back out and add the last piece of bread. If the oven has not been on, you can heat the vegetables and cheese briefly under the broiler, then add your final piece of bread. Slice the sandwiches in half.

I use foil on the pan for this step too. I often find that I can wipe the used foil off and re-use it for this final step.

For pita and flat bread sandwiches, just fold over the other half of the bread or roll it up together and enjoy.

If your kids are a little shy about vegetables, just try one vegetable in their sandwich at the time. If your kids prefer mayonnaise or another dressing, substitute that for the mustard.

This is an easy, hearty meal that is nutritious and a snap to clean up. The hummus or cheese, combined with a whole-grain bread provides a complete protein without a traditional main course. All the members of my family enjoy these sandwiches.

All recipes copyright by Cassandra Frear 2009, unless otherwise indicated.


  1. I can only imagine if I fed this to my family. They would have a fit! (My husband, too. He's pickier than the kids!)

    Thanks for sharing, though. It reminds me that not all families are the same. In some places, they eat grilled veggies!

  2. Teacherperson,

    You are so funny! Thanks for stopping by. It's always good to see you here.

    Yesterday, I made a version of these sandwiches for my oldest son. He's not a big veggie eater, although he does eat them. I just used one large tomato slice and some small mushrooms and piled some shredded cheese on top. He said, "This is really good!"

    It's helpful to think of these sandwiches as little pizzas. Many people enjoy pizzas with veggies on them. But in this case, the veggies are under the cheese instead of on top.

    I have been thinking about having some of my friends offer recipes of their own on Mondays at Apple Pie -- recipes their families love. Is there one you can recommend? I'd love to hear about it!

  3. Oh this would be such a nice change. Thanks for sharing.


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