These Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Pesto are a tasty and creative way to use up your leftovers. The homemade arugula pesto (recipe included) ties all the flavors together perfectly.
Photos by Rikki Snyder
These sandwiches are made for leftover lovers and haters! Not everyone is a fan of leftovers, but for me, it feels like a triumph to cook once and have dinner for two days. I win at meal planning! Then I have lots of free time to do other things I want to do!
But I do get why some people have an aversion to leftovers. A lot of the time, things just aren't quite as good the second time around. So this recipe is the perfect compromise: Start by whipping up the arugula pesto. Use it to make these roasted red pepper sandwiches one night. Then the next night, use the pesto to make a pasta dinner!
This Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Pesto recipe is...
- Great for leftovers
- Quick to make
- Made with simple ingredients
And if you love quick and easy vegan recipes, be sure to check out my new cookbook, Weeknight One Pot Vegan Cooking. It's packed with 75 plant based recipes that all cook up easily in a single pan!
How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Pesto
- Whip up a batch of arugula pesto.
- Preheat oven.
- Roast peppers.
- Remove skin & stem, then slice pepper into strips.
- Assemble sandwiches with pesto, mozzarella, and peppers..
- Grill sandwiches on a grill pan or in a sandwich press.
Full directions for how to make Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Pesto are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Variations to Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Pesto
To Heat or Not to Heat
You can grill your sandwiches manually on the stove or grill, or you can go the easy route by using a panini press! Don't have one? You could even grill your sandwiches in a waffle iron!
Alternatively, you could skip the heating altogether and eat your sandwiches cold! The heat isn't really necessary—it just makes the cheese nice and gooey.
Fresh or Jarred
This recipe shows you how to roast your own red peppers, but there's a quicker way to make these sandwiches. Just grab some jarred red peppers to save yourself some time and energy. There's really no right or wrong way to do it!
Sandwiches to Pasta
You'll have plenty of pesto left after making these sandwiches—enough to toss with pasta the next day for another dinner. Add in some roasted red peppers, steamed broccoli, and mozzarella shavings to make it a meal. That's another 15-minute dinner right there!
Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Mozzarella & Pesto FAQs
What is pesto?
Pesto is a tasty green pasta sauce that originated in Italy. It is traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese. For this recipe I've subbed the basil for arugula and the pine nuts for walnuts.
What is the best kind of bread for these sandwiches?
The recipe mentions using ciabatta bread for these sandwiches. Alternatively, you could use some French bread, Italian bread, sourdough baguettes, or even regular whole wheat sandwich bread! I personally think that ciabatta tastes the best, but what really matters are the ingredients inside.
How long will these sandwiches store?
These sandwiches are best served right away. You can store them to eat a day later, but they'll likely be soggy and not-so-appetizing.
A better option is to simply prep all your ingredients, then only assemble individual sandwiches as you're ready to eat them!
In addition, this recipe makes extra pesto. If you're not planning on having some pesto pasts within the next week, you can easily freeze your pesto and save it for future recipes.
More Recipes to Use Up Your Pesto
- French Bread Pizza with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Brussels Sprout and Apple Tart with Walnut Pesto
- Pesto Pizza with Red Peppers, Mushrooms, and Asparagus
- Vegan Garlic Bread with Kale Pesto
- Kale Pesto Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes
While you're here, be sure to grab our FREE 5-Day Meatless Meal Plan. It's packed with tasty recipes to make vegetarian cooking easy and delicious!
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large loaf ciabatta bread cut in quarters and then halved lengthwise
- ¼ cup Arugula Pesto see recipe below
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 8 slices
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 500°F (broil).
- Line a small baking sheet with foil. Put the pepper on the baking sheet and broil until the skin is beginning to char, using tongs to turn occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and wrap the foil around the pepper. (Use oven mitts!) Let the pepper steam in the foil for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pepper from the foil and transfer it to a cutting board. Peel off the skin, cut off the stem, pull out the seeds, and discard them. Cut the rest of the pepper into thick strips.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of pesto onto the bottoms of the ciabatta bread. Divide the pepper strips onto the bread, then place the mozzarella slices on top of the pepper strips. Top with the remaining slices of bread and brush the tops with olive oil. (If you're going to serve the sandwiches cold, don't brush them with oil—just eat them!)
- Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium heat. Flip the sandwiches over and place them on the grill pan oiled-side down, then brush the other side of the sandwich with oil. Use a spatula to press the sandwiches down slightly, but don't press too hard or you'll have a mess of mozzarella everywhere! Cook 5–8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Combine arugula, walnut pieces, cheese, and garlic in the large bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, then pour olive oil through the feed tube and continue to process until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Jarred roasted red peppers can be substituted for the fresh red bell pepper.
- If you can't find a loaf of ciabatta bread at your grocery store, any sturdy, crusty bread will work.