Mediterranean Pressed Picnic Sandwich | Vegetarian Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Mediterranean Pressed Picnic Sandwich

This sandwich turns take-along food flaws—travel time, cramped packing quarters, moist ingredients—into assets. Pressing the sandwich lets the crusty bread soak up roasted vegetable juices, and travel time gives flavors a chance to meld.



Ingredient Line: 
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
Ingredient Line: 
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
Ingredient Line: 
1 small yellow squash, cut length-wise into ¼-inch slices
Ingredient Line: 
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
Ingredient Line: 
1 large loaf ciabatta bread, halved
Ingredient Line: 
⅓ cup prepared pesto
Ingredient Line: 
⅓ cup prepared tapenade
Ingredient Line: 
2 jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
Ingredient Line: 
1 8-oz. pkg. fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
Ingredient Line: 
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar


1. Heat grill pan or grill to medium-high heat. Brush eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash with 2 Tbs. olive oil, and grill 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until charred and softened. Transfer to plate.

2. Hollow inside of bread to make room for vegetables. Spread pesto on one side of bread. Spread tapenade on other side of bread.

3. Layer eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella on one side of bread. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Press top and bottom of sandwich together, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place on baking sheet, and weigh down with heavy skillet or two large cans. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Unwrap before slicing and serving.

Nutrition Information: 

15 g
Total Fat: 
25 g
Saturated Fat: 
8 g
42 g
34 mg
726 mg
4 g
4 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

I had made some tapenade and had a bunch left over. I remembered reading this recipe and made it with out the mozzarella to make it vegan. It was excellent. My husband ended up bringing some leftovers for lunch the next day and he said it was even better.

Wow! This was absolutely amazing! I'd never had tapenade before, and couldn't find it at the grocery store, so I made it from Alton Browns recipe online. It was very salty. At first i thought the sandwich would be too salty with the pesto & tapenade but it was perfect! I'm going on a hike with my boyfriend today and we are taking our last 2 quarters for lunch!

We made this sandwich all last summer. I even broke down and made my own pesto! It's the best, and lasts for days...if you make 2.

Making your own pesto is a must! May skip tapenade. Can roast veggies, including peppers.

Made this last year for a 3-day music festival we we attend annually. My (non-veg) husband was suspicious at first of all the gourmet veg picnic fare I'd packed - but he tried this sandwich and went nuts for it. He's already told me I *have to* make it again this year. I skipped the eggplant because neither of us care for it, and it was incredible. I was amazed that it didn't get soggy at all, even by the third day. I have oodles of basil growing, so I will definitely make my own pesto this year. Don't skip the tapenade!

This is one I make over and over. Everyone loves it! The combination of vegetables, pesto, and olive spread is brilliant.

This sandwich is brilliant! We grilled it to take it to a picnic and it was awesome! you have to try to grill it.Not soggy at all and its perfect for a summer picnic!

I made this for lunch and it was fantastic! Soggy sandwiches are no fun, but this one held up perfectly and was delicious!

Made these sandwiches last fall and they were outstanding! And the leftover was better the next day for lunch. i was browsing for recipes and remembered when I saw it, how much I liked i am shopping for the ingredients tomorrow and look forward to enjoying these for supper! YUMMO!!

This is wonderful. I did it with a stale rosemary potato loaf, made my own pesto, and decided against the tapenade. I accidentally forgot to add the roasted red peppers, but did add grilled red onion. The longer it sits, the better. yummy!


Made this several times for non-vegetarians! Everyone loves it. I do make my own basil and tapenade. Never soggy, even after several hours, in fact it's better when it sits awhile, flavors all meld together. oh...I oven roast rather than grill my veggies and I used a jar of roasted red peppers, rather than roast my own. DELICIOUS!

Made these sandwiches for my husband's picnic lunch party and they were a hit. Its simple and hearty meal to consume.

EXCELLENT! Tastes like something from a restaurant. Did not use tapenade. Used bell peppers instead of jarred peppers. Roasted all veggies under the broiler. Ate right away.

This was delicious, made it today for a picnic and it was the perfect entrée. Thanks :)

Veggie sandwich for assembly

Delicious! I added grilled portobellos and used artichoke pesto (found in Mediterranean aisle of local grocery) and omitted tapenade. Perfect for our Sunday afternoon picnic!

Wow!! So delicious

This was wonderful! I used hummus instead of the tapenade and pesto, and I used marinated tofu for a dairy free version. It turned out great, even with the substitutions.

Yum yum yummy. I made this sand which and brought it to a hill climb the following day. Big hit. I'll make it again.