Meet your new sandwich, the grilled vegetable antipasti sandwich with pesto and lemon ricotta. Simple and delicious, this is for all veggie lovers out there. And even you non-veggie lovers!
Grilled Vegetable Antipasti – a Mediterranean classic
Vegetables are one of my favorite things to grill, especially at this time of year when they are so fresh and abundant and summer is approaching. I love the Mediterranean classics: eggplant, zucchini and red pepper as they are reminiscent of summer holidays spent in the south. And grilling them is what makes them so very delicious. I love how the grilling them enhances the flavor and turns them into something completely irresistible. Which is exactly what makes vegetable antipasti so delicious.
Grilling with the LeMax
And rather than just preparing an antipasto platter, I decided to make vegetable antipasti grilled on my glass ceramic electric grill. Yet another chance to put my LeMax grill into action. And of course, this LeMax test again proved that it’s a terrific tool for all my grilling needs. The large grilling surface is of great benefit. And since it’s electric, I can grill indoors or out.
One, the pesto: I choose to make my own pesto for this recipe, but it’s perfectly fine to use a store-bought one. There are some terrific brands available that are really tasty. One of my favourite is from PPURA found at your local organic supermarket (unpaid mention).
Two, use GOOD bread: Whether it’s a roll, a baguette or your favourite bread, make sure it’s fresh, tasty and sturdy enough to stand up and support the fillings. This is no time to use a toast bread.
Three, the veggies. Lots and lots of veggies, you know I love my veggies. But if you aren’t a fan of a particular vegetable, then sub it out with another. Or add a variety of the same vegetable, like a mix of red and yellow peppers or zucchini and summer squash — and instead of slicing them in rounds try long strips!
There are countless ways to adapt this delicious sandwich — and all of them delicious!
- Instead of a classic pesto, try a sun-dried tomato pesto or olive tapenade — or how about hummus?
- Trade out the ricotta spread for mozzarella, burrata or shaved parmesan
Skip the Mediterranean classics (red pepper, aubergine and zucchini) — try grilling fennel, sweet red onions, or summer squash.
- Add some Italian meats. You can even grill them for your sandwich. Try wrapping some cheese (like gouda, provolone or fontina) with slices of prosciutto and grilling them for your sandwich.
- Add marinated artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes to your sandwich — or both!
- Finish off the sandwich with a drizzle of balsamic creme.
- Use your favourite rolls or bread — ciabatta, focaccia and baguettes are all great choices!
And don’t forget the sides, you can serve these antipasti sandwiches alongside marinated mushrooms, olives, pickles or other small bites.
Grilled Vegetable Antipasti Sandwich
For the pesto (alternatively use store-bought pesto):
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 bunch basil leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed)
- 30 g lightly toasted pine nuts
- 25 g finely grated parmesan cheese
- 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, or more, as needed
- Sea salt, to taste
For the lemon ricotta spread:
- 125 g ricotta
- Finely grated zest from 1 organic lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the grilled antipasti sandwiches:
- 1 eggplant, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 sweet pointed red peppers, quartered lengthwise
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 bread rolls, split (or a baguette split and cut into 4 pieces)
- Mixed salad leaves or arugula
To make the pesto:
Use a circular motion to blend the ingredients using a pestle and mortar, starting with the garlic and a pinch of salt, then add the basil and work into a paste. Then add the pine nuts, then cheese and finally the olive oil. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to process the ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
To make the lemon ricotta spread:
In a small bowl, add the ricotta, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix together until well combined. Set aside.
To grill the vegetables and bread rolls:
Brush one side of the eggplant, zucchini and paprika with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the tabletop grill (or barbecue) over medium-high heat (on the LeMax level 8 for 5 minutes).
Brush the surface lightly with heat-resistant oil.
Place the vegetables on the grill, oiled side down, and brush them with a little more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and grill for 4 minutes per side, or until softened and charred in parts. Transfer the vegetables to a serving plate.
Place the rolls on the grill and cook for 2 minutes, or until toasted and lightly charred.
Put together your sandwiches:
Spread some pesto on the top cut side of the sandwiches. Spread the ricotta spread on the bottom of the sandwiches and layer them with the grilled vegetables and some salad greens.
Serve and enjoy!
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Many thanks to ELAG Products GmbH for sponsoring this Antipasti Sandwich recipe.