Photos by Emily Caruso
I try really hard to eat in season and I’m good about it most of the year, but near the end of winter, I start getting tired of roots and crucifers and I desperately need variety—that’s when I start sneaking in zucchini, red peppers and green beans. Even seeing their bright colors on my plate makes me feel happy, like summer is right around the corner. Which, okay, it isn’t, but let’s just pretend, okay? The perfect solution to the dietary boredom and dreary weather of winter is a bright, colorful veggie sandwich.
The first time I made these sandwiches, I made them with traditional chimichurri—I use this recipe from Bon Appétit. If you haven’t had chimichurri before, it’s a delicious, tangy Argentinian sauce made with parsley, cilantro or oregano (depending on the recipe you’re using), garlic and vinegar. It’s usually served as an accompaniment to meat, but vegetarians can use it with grilled or roasted vegetables and potatoes. Because I love chimichurri and roasted veggies, I piled a whole mess of vegetables on some crusty French bread, drizzled with a few heaping spoonfuls of chimichurri and dinner was done! And it was so good, but all the oil and vinegar in chimichurri meant that it made the bread soggy and the liquid dripped everywhere while we ate.
So it was time for Plan B. The vinegar is an integral part of that chimichurri flavor, so I knew I couldn’t forego that. Instead, I skipped the olive oil and replaced it with silken tofu. The result is a creamy, spreadable chimichurri—almost like a mayo, if you happen to have bright green mayo in your fridge. (I sincerely hope you do not.) You may have a little left over after making the recipe, but it stores well in the fridge and can be used as a dip for veggies or a topping for veggie burgers.
The tangy, garlicky flavor of chimichurri is the perfect addition to these easy roasted vegetable sandwiches.
- 1 medium red pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced lengthwise
- 2 large portabella mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 large zucchini, halved and quartered
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or any high smoke point, neutral-flavored oil)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 ounces firm silken tofu
- 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 crusty baguette, halved
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with the grapeseed oil. Toss to coat, then transfer the vegetables onto the baking sheet, arranging them to make sure they don't overlap. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the chimichurri spread. Combine the silken tofu, parsley, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes in the smallest bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth and season to taste with salt.
- Spread the chimichurri onto both sides of the baguette. Layer the vegetables onto the bottom of the baguette, then place the other half of the baguette on top. Use a sharp knife to cut the baguette into 4 sandwiches and serve.