This roasted eggplant sandwich is loved by vegetarians and carnivores alike! Roasted Italian style eggplant slices layered with fire roasted red bell peppers, melted provolone cheese and bright lemony arugula. Served on a crusty ciabatta roll all slathered with whole grain mustard; this is a vegetarian sandwich lover’s dream!
There’s an amazing sandwich shop in our neighborhood, serving up some of New York City’s best picnic fare! Kenny and I frequent Milano Market, usually opting for the imported mortadella sandwich. In recent months I’ve had to eschew lunch meats, opting for vegetarian sandwiches instead. Thankfully, Milano Market makes an amazing eggplant sandwich that satisfies my carnivorous appetite (and Kenny’s too)!
This roasted eggplant sandwich is my homage to Milano Market. I hope you give it a try and enjoy a taste of New York City, wherever you are!
key roasted eggplant sandwich ingredients:
These eggplant are readily available in most American supermarkets and they’re sturdy enough to stand up to a nice, long roast in the oven.
With large crystals than table salt, this recipe has been testing using this culinary favorite. If you want to try this recipe using table salt, reduce the amounts by half.
Store bought roasted bell peppers
Using a jar of prepared roasted bell peppers makes this recipe extremely simple and weeknight friendly! Look for roasted red bell peppers in water since the eggplant will have plenty of olive oil.
You can use a full size ciabatta loaf but I prefer individual ciabatta rolls. Individual rolls make portioning out the sandwiches super easy and mess free.
My first attempt at this recipe called for caramelized onions. It was delicious but the rich roasted eggplant slices needed the bright pepper contrast of arugula to round out the flavors. A simple squeeze of lemon juice introduced a delicious hit of acid that brought the flavors to life. Swapping out the caramelized onions for arugula also saved a lot of hands on cooking time.
frequently asked questions
Do I have to salt the eggplant prior to roasting?
Yes, salting the eggplant is a key step in this recipe. It helps remove any natural bitterness and gets rid of extra moisture, helping the eggplant roast better.
Can I make these roasted eggplant sandwiches ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare portions of the sandwich ahead of time but don’t assemble the sandwich or dress the arugula until you’re ready to serve. Roast the eggplant up to one day in advance and keep the roasted slices in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve the sandwiches, assemble the sandwiches, heat through in the oven and prepare the lemon juice dressed arugula just before serving.
Do I have to peel the eggplant before roasting?
Eggplant skin is edible so peeling the eggplant is not a necessity. However, I find that the peeled eggplant roasts up evenly and the final sandwich eats better without the eggplant skin.
Other SepCooks sandwich recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
Roasted eggplant sandwich with fire roasted bell peppers, melted provolone cheese, fresh arugula and whole grain mustard on a ciabatta bun.
1 globe eggplants (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch round slices
1/4cup olive oil
1 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 12–ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
4 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half horizontally
4 slices provolone cheese
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
Whole grain mustard
Prepare the eggplant:
Place a clean kitchen towel (or several layers of paper towels) inside a rimmed baking sheet.
Lay the eggplant slices on the kitchen towel and sprinkle ¾ teaspoon salt over one side of the eggplant slices. Flip the eggplant slices around and sprinkle another ¾ teaspoon salt over the opposite side.
Let the salted eggplant sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes, until beads of moisture form on the surface.
Roast the eggplant:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to pat the eggplant slices dry and remove some of the salt.
Line another rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay the eggplant slices over the foil.
Pour the olive oil into a medium bowl and add the grated garlic, dried oregano and red chili flakes to the oil. Use a pastry brush to brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the herbed olive oil.
Note: if you don’t have a pastry brush, you can spoon the olive oil onto the eggplant slices.
Cook the eggplant in the oven until the centers are completely soft and the eggplant is golden brown, 45-55 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven halfway through baking and flip the eggplant slices over for even roasting.
Note: Eggplants soak up a lot of oil. If they look dry when you’re flipping them over, drizzle with a bit more olive oil over the eggplant.
Remove the cooked eggplant from the oven but keep the oven turned on to 400 degrees.
Preparing the arugula:
Place the arugula in a large bowl and squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the arugula. Toss to completely dress the greens with lemon juice.
Assembling the sandwiches:
Place the bottom half of the ciabatta rolls on a foil lined baking sheet. You can reuse the foil-lined baking sheet you used to roast the eggplant.
Top the ciabatta bottoms with 3-4 slices of roasted eggplant and a few slices of roasted bell peppers.
Top the sandwiches with a slice of provolone cheese each.
Place the ciabatta tops, cut side down, on the baking sheet next to each sandwich.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and heat the sandwiches until the cheese has melted and the bread is warmed through, 3-4 minutes.
Remove the sandwiches from the oven and slather some whole grain mustard over the cut side of the ciabatta tops.
Top the sandwiches each with a pile of the dressed arugula.
Sandwich the mustard-glazed ciabatta tops on top of the arugula and enjoy the sandwiches warm or at room temperature.