I say versatile because I made so many vegetables I'll be doing something with them tonight for dinner (Honey wants something with sauce). I do that a lot, make something completely different out of leftovers. It's a good thing because a: we are all busy people and b: unless you're Bill Gates or some other really wealthy person, you're probably watching your pocket book like the rest of us do, or at least try to do. Hooray for saving money and eating good food. Legal Disclaimer: In actuality, I'm sure Bill Gates isn't purposely wasteful with produce (or anything, for that matter) just because he is a wealthy character.
Funny thing is, I didn't even call this a po boy because of it's apparent ability to be kind to my pocket book. No, I called it a po boy simply because it's on delicious crusty french bread AND last night I was thinking about the time Auntie Erin and I, at a mere age 17 went to New Orleans to visit her brother/vacation. I found a picture of us the other day, down by the bayou... wow we are young! Looking at that I have no clue why any of those bouncers let us in to those bars. They were either a: drunk, b: blinded by our 17 year old beauty or c: just dumb.
Anyway, I ran in the rain last night so Honey went to the store to buy all of the delicious veg for this sandwich. He said it was so traumatizing trying to find the five items that he also had to buy a 12 pack to soothe himself. Keep in mind, all of the items were vegetables and (I know my grocery store) were all within about five feet of each other in the produce section. Thank you Honey and yes, I'm sure the beer helped calm your frayed, produce shoppping nerves.
This sandwich is super easy and the 'filling' is versatile enough to switch it up and add different types of cheeses, some protein; Honey was thinking the Tofurky sun dried tomato sausage would be good with it. I went standard because I was just trying it out and I was starving.
Truffle oil (you can also use extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped rough
6 cloves garlic
1 medium zucchini, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow squash, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
About 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
About 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into about 1/2 inch pieces
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, julienned
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 french baguette, cut into 4 or 6 pieces, depending on how large you want your sandwiches
Daiya cheese OR you can use real cheese, if you like
About 1 cup fresh spinach
In a large pot, heat a good quantity of truffle oil and add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes then turn heat down to med/low.
Add the zucchini, squash, thyme, crushed red pepper and a little salt and pepper. Mix together and let cook covered another 8 minutes or so.
Add bell pepper to your mix, stir and cover to let cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring every once in a while.
Taste what you have in the pot and add a little more salt and pepper if needed. Then add the tomatoes, basil and parsley, stir and cover to let cook another 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400. I use our toaster oven because a: it heats up faster and b: it takes far less energy to heat up. If you don't have one, I highly suggest getting one. It's great for all sorts of things!
Cut your bread and spread Earth Balance on both sides of each piece (4 to 8 pieces depending) and toast in the oven until slightly toasted.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the Daiya cheese, or whichever cheese you choose. Don't be skimpy on the cheese... there isn't a lot of fat in this meal so it's ok... did I just say that?
Put back in the oven for just a few minutes, to soften the cheese. Remove and bring toasted pieces to your pot of veg.
On the bottom piece of bread, pile some spinach and two whole leaves of basil.
Remove lid on vegetables, give it a good stir. At this point it should be good for salt and pepper but if you haven't been minding that while it has been cooking, add a little more now, stir and let the salt and pepper infuse before you taste it.
When it's ready, spoon it onto the bottom half of your first piece of bread where the spinach and basil await. As you spoon it on, gently press it down into the bread so you can get a lot of filling. When 'stuffed' top with the 'lid' and you're ready to go.
This sandwich is great on its own or with a lovely green salad or pasta salad. The veg is tender and flavorful with the taste of garlic, thyme and heat from the red pepper flakes.
If you're carb conscious (like I should be more than I am at this point in my life) this meal is great breadless too. Simply spoon your veg into a bowl and cover with your cheese of choice. Note if it's not Daiya or another already shredded cheese, shred it before topping.