I can never, ever pass up the opportunity to make a recipe that involves caramelized onions. Are they a pain to make? Kind of. Do they take for-freaking-ever to cook down? Absolutely. But they are always worth it. When I was given a list of recipes from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy to choose from for this post, my eyes immediately went to the open-faced sandwiches topped with caramelized onions. There was no way these wouldn't be delicious!
The sweet onions and thick slices of roasted red pepper paired perfectly with the salty cheese and earthy spinach. And aside from the time it took to caramelize the onions, these sandwiches were easy to make too. This is why I love Deborah Madison's cookbooks—they elevate vegetarian cooking beyond veggie lasagnas and burgers, but in a way that's not intimidating to the average cook.
Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes was released this week and I was lucky enough to get a copy to review. As a vegetarian (and a fan of Deborah Madison's work in general), I appreciate this book for its inspired recipe ideas, but as a gardener, I loved this book for the background it provided about different vegetables. Vegetable Literacy isn't just a cookbook, you see, it's a reference book too, dividing vegetables into different families (The Sunflower Family, The Cabbage Family, The Grass Family, etc.). Each vegetable receives its own write-up, with information about its origin, different varieties, and tips for cooking. If you have Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, this format with information about each vegetable followed by tips and recipes will be familiar to you. And if you love Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, you will love Vegetable Literacy too. Like Deborah Madison's other books, I know this one is going to be well-used in my kitchen.
- caramelized sweet onions 2 large onions is perfect—here's a post on how to caramelize onions
- 1 hefty bunch of spinach at least a pound, stems removed, leaves well washed
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 meaty roasted red peppers
- 1 piece of bread per person such as ciabatta, rye, or a whole grain levain bread
- 1 garlic clove halved
- thinly sliced manouri or ricotta salata
- olive oil to finish
- Warm the caramelized onions in a pan over low heat.
- In another pan, wilt the spinach in the water clinging to its leaves, then season it with salt and pepper. Slice the peppers into wide strips.
- Toast the bread, then rub one side with the garlic. Cover with the onions, followed by the spinach, the cheese, then the roasted peppers set diagonally across the top.
- Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Vegetable Literacy for the purpose of this review. The links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links, so if you were to make a purchase from them, I would get a small percentage of the sale, which may or may not be used to purchase elegant wigs for my cats.
Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
You made the right choice. Those look positively mouthwatering.
Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste says
Your photos are stunning! I can only imagine how tasty these beauties are in real life. Thanks for sharing!
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
Oh my, you know anything with caramelized onions is good in my book!
Kare @ Kitchen Treaty says
These are so pretty (and look pretty delicious, too). That cookbook looks like a winner. On the list.
Your disclosure statements crack me up. Not just wigs for your cats ... *elegant* wigs for your cats. (And, yes, I looked at the site. Thank you for tonight's nightmares. 😉 )
I really do want to get a wig for Miso because I'm convinced that he looks like one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and I need a blond wig to prove it. Um, yeah. Anyway. Definitely check out this cookbook! 🙂
1. Thank you SO much for linking to (and making) the post about how to caramelize onions! I knew in my head that it must take forever but I was never sure so I didn't want to waste my time and always ended up turning the heat up. Thank you! 2. You make being a vegetarian look AMAZING! I say this almost every time I post! 3. I love your photography! Tell me your secret!
Yeah, you have to be super patient because if you turn up the heat, they sauté instead of caramelizing. Which is still delicious, but it's just not the same. 🙂 And everything I know about photography I learned from Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. I highly recommend it!
Meghan @JaMonkey says
Yummy. That bread looks awesome too. A great lunch option
shelly (cookies and cups) says
Yeah caramelizing onions is a pain in the hiney, but oh so worth it...throw in some carbs and cheese and this might be the perfect sandwich! The spinach is optional, right? 😉
Ha! You know, I'm not a big fan of spinach either. I put a little less on mine and my husband was happy to take the extras. 🙂
Sarah @ Play 2 Learn with Sarah says
That looks so good! And I may need to purchase the book just to get you some more wigs for your cats! LOL
Thank you! My cats will appreciate it. 🙂
Katie (The Muffin Myth) says
I love caramelized onions! They're one of the best things ever. We make a pizza where we caramelize 4-5 onions and cook them down forever, then spread them over the pizza crust and scatter with a bit of soft goat cheese and maybe some salty olives. Little open faced sandwiches would be a great casual quicker version of that (except of course the time that it takes to caramelize the onions). This cookbook is on my must-buy list, so I'm glad to get a peek at one of the recipes 🙂
I make a pizza like that too--always with olives, never with goat cheese. 🙂 I have such a weakness for that sweet and salty combination. You will love this cookbook!
Courtney @ The Fig Tree says
*snorts* Love the cat wigs! 🙂
Sandwiches are my obsession as of late. I'm craving them constantly. I will definitely have to make this one this week. Love the caramelized onions! I think I have all of the ingredients minus the cheese. I think I have some goat cheese I could use though. I must check out that cookbook! I own two other Deborah Madison books and really enjoy them.
I have been on a sandwich kick too! I have all these sandwich recipes to post here, but I'm trying to space them out so I don't come off as obsessed, even though I totally am. 🙂 Goat cheese would definitely work on this sandwich. Really, I think just about any cheese would do.
Kiersten, I drooled on my keyboard (again). This recipe looks delicious, I can't wait to try it.
Yum, I love caramelized onions and this looks like a great way to use them. Beautiful photos too!
Meg @ Beard and Bonnet says
These sandwiches look so amazing! I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this cookbook so I am happy to know that you enjoyed it.
Me too! I first found out about it in January and I was counting down the days until I got my copy. 🙂 It is worth the wait!
Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today says
I can hardly go through the process of cutting onions without running nose and crying, but fortunately my partner does not mind 🙂 I love the sandwiches and can't wait to make it on breakfast!
I used to have the same problem, but then I got contact lenses and it never happens to me anymore! I guess they must protect my eyes. 🙂
Cassie | Bake Your Day says
Great concept for a book. I love the sounds of it. And these sandwiches - perfect!
Angie[email protected]'s Recipes says
These open sandwiches look so delightful, Kiersten. I LOVE caramelized onions!
Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl says
These are totally calling my name. Not only do they sound delicious, but they are so pretty too! Nice job :).
Alissa N says
Wow these look incredible!! I love caramelized onions, my only issue with them is lack of the ability to spell the word caramelized without spell check yelling!! I'm so excited to check out that book though, it sounds like it's awesome and I was not familiar with her work before this!
Definitely check out some of Deborah Madison's books--I'm sure your local library probably has a ton of them! (If I sound like a library PSA, it's because I used to be a librarian--ha!) She's kind of like the Julie Child of vegetarian cooking. 🙂
Averie @ Averie Cooks says
The images are stunning and what a great message in the book (elevate vegetarian cooking beyond veggie lasagnas and burgers, but in a way that’s not intimidating to the average cook.)
I love the little slices of red peppers, too. Beautiful!
Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up says
These look and sound so good. I love carmalized onions and roasted red peppers?? YUMM!
I saw that cookbook somewhere the other day and almost bought it. Funny how things come up!
Next time you see it, you should buy it! 😀 I've bookmarked so many recipes I want to make--I love it!
a farmer in the dell says
one of my greatest pleasures in life is standing over the stove caramelizing onions. I crank up my music, sip on my wine, and totally inhale all the great smells. This open faced sandwich looks to die for!
You can come over and caramelize onions for me then because it definitely tests my patience. 😉 It's worth it in the end, though!
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
I just want to say that so few folks do vegetarian sandwiches right. I'm so tired of the mozz, tomato, basil sandwich and I can never figure out why restaurants can't get a little creative with it. THIS, however, is just divine! Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe!
Oh, I completely agree. It's always either the TBM or the portabella mushroom sandwich, right? I try to remind myself that at least they're offering something for vegetarians and I should be thankful for that, but yes, so many veg menu options are completely uninspired.
This looks delicious. I haven't tried this yet, but here's how to make caramelized onions in a crock pot: http://syrupandbiscuits.com/burnout-recipe-slow-cooker-caramelized-sweet-onions/
sounds simple enough...
Thanks for the link! I've been meaning to try caramelizing onions in a slow cooker too.
Virginia @thatbaldchick says
Believe it, or not, but I just recently learned HOW to caramelize onions!
Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian says
Oh stop doing this to me! Especially when I'm about to embark on a week-long diet without carbs! (Meat-free week for my partner Tony, Carb-free week for me). Maybe I could squeeze one of these last-hoorah sandwiches in on Sunday night!
Have they managed to make a carb-free bread yet? 😉
Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian says