Summer in a sandwich! Zucchini, summer squash, and red bell pepper doused in balsamic-thyme marinade, grilled to perfection, and then piled onto pesto-smeared artisan rolls. For a shortcut, consider using your favorite store-bought pesto.
2-3small to medium zucchini1 pound
2-3small to medium summer squash or yellow squash1 pound
1large red bell pepper
4ciabatta sandwich rollsor your favorite artisan sandwich roll
2medium cloves garlicminced
2teaspoonsfresh thyme leaveschopped
Zest from one lemonabout 2 teaspoons (you'll use the juice in the pesto)
1/2teaspoonkosher salt + more to taste
1/8teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper + more to taste
Basil & Toasted Walnut Pesto:
3cupsloosely packed fresh basil
2medium cloves garlicminced
2tablespoonsfresh thyme leaves
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice
2tablespoonsnutritional yeast flakes or grated Parmesanoptional*
Slice the zucchini and summer squash lengthwise, 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the bell pepper into 1-inch wide strips. Lay in a roomy baking dish.
Make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Pour over the veggies and toss gently. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the pesto. First, toast the walnuts (an optional but worthwhile step - toasting adds wonderful flavor). To toast, set a small pan over medium heat and add the walnuts. Stir frequently until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add to the pitcher of a blender or a food processor fitted with the s-blade. Add the basil, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, nutritional yeast or Parmesan if using, and salt. Turn on the blender or food processor, streaming in the olive oil as it runs, until a sauce forms. Taste pesto and add additional salt if desired.
Prepare your grill - medium direct heat, about 375 degrees. Lay the vegetables on the preheated grill grates and cook until grill lines form, about 5 minutes. Flip (we like to use long-handled tongs) and cook on the other side until tender and cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Transfer from the grill to a platter. Keep the grill on to quickly toast the rolls.
Slice the rolls in half and brush the insides with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Lay the rolls cut-side down on the grill and cook just until warmed and a little golden and toasty. Remove from grill.
Assemble the sandwiches. Smear both sides of the roll with approx. 1 tablespoon of pesto on each side (more or less to taste). Add a layer of zucchini, summer squash, and two or three strips of the pepper. Close, cut in half, and serve!
If you prefer Parmesan in your pesto, add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup shredded, to taste.
Add a slice of provolone to your sandwich or smear the roll with a little herbed goat cheese.
Add a layer of grilled chicken or a few slices of your favorite sausage.