This week, Vancouver became the first Canadian city to join Meatless Monday, a non-profit initiative based in the USA to encourage people to try going meatless one day a week. Started as long ago as during World War I, meatless Monday encouraged people to be frugal and protect the food supply. Nowdays, the focus is a little different but much the same; go meatless one day a week to reduce your carbon footprint and eat healthier. Interested in trying out going meatless at home? Check out the Canadian Meatless Monday site for news, recipes, and ideas. You don't have to go meatless for every meal on Monday, why not just dinner?
Going meatless also doesn't mean you have to live on tofu or green salad-you can be meatless, deliciously! Try making the kids their usual grilled cheese, and whip up this amazing vegetarian sandwich for yourself. Smoky, creamy eggplant paired up with salty feta and pickly beets makes for a wonderful combination. Be sure to use a sturdy, heavier bread that can stand up to the filling. I listed my favourite from Cobs Bread simply because I'm a huge fan, but you can substitute whatever you enjoy. We had these for dinner and you could pair it with a tossed green salad, but the sandwiches alone were enough to fill up our bellies with little room left over.
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp sherry vinegar
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed fresh herbs (fresh dill, Italian parsley, mint or basil, or substitute any with baby greens), chopped
1/4 cup chopped olives
1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
2 tbsp drained capers
1 tbsp olive oil
6 oz feta, crumbled
4 6x4 inch pieces of focaccia, split or 8 slices of thick, heavier bread such as Cobs Pane Di Casa Loaf
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, sherry vinegar, and grated garlic. Set aside in the fridge.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick rounds and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the slices of eggplant with oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Turn the pieces over and repeat. Bake the eggplant for 30-40 minutes, turning half way through, until softened and browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
(make ahead: you can make the recipe to this point and then put the cooled eggplant and mayo in the fridge until the next day)
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the green onions, herbs, pickled beets, olives, capers olive oil, and feta.
Lay the bread out in front of you. Spread mayo on each slice. Build the sandwiches by layering on the roasted eggplant, then mounding the beet salad over top. Top with the other slice of bread, mayo side down. They are a little messy to build, but that's half the fun, right?
Adapted from Bon Appetit