Picnics, bbq’s, bonfires, beach days…How are you spending your 4th of July weekend?

We do the same thing almost every year. We head to the beach.

Whether it is to my mother-in-laws house or a friends house, 4th of july just doesn’t feel complete unless we are at the beach, slightly crisping the outer layer of our skin, followed up by large quantities of processed, over cooked meat. Commonly known as hot dogs.

Last year was quite epic. I was newly pregnant, around 9 weeks give or take. I was super sick, REAL bad food aversions and barfing. But still, we needed to go to the beach. I packed up my spaghetti O’s, pop tarts and Gatorade, and we headed down. Yes, you read that right, spaghetti O’s and pop tarts. That first trimester was THE WORST! My food aversions we’re so bad I couldn’t even handle the smell of toast, TOAST. The most mild food ever. And water, oh.my.gosh. It made me gag, literally! Hence the gatorade. I gained 15 lbs the first tri because my eating changed DRASTICALLY.

I went form eating sandwiches like this one, salads and around 120 oz of water a day. To eating El Pollo loco, just their BRC, spaghetti O’s, french fries and root beer. Sick, I think I just barfed thinking about that. As soon as the 2nd ti hit and the food aversions went away, I was back into action eating like a healthy human being again.

Anyway, not that that has ANYTHING to do with this sandwich, because it doesn’t. BUT, during the weekend, when you are trying to think of creative meals that don’t include spaghetti O’s (because everyone considers that for a BBQ side dish, right?), mayo ridden coleslaw, or fat soaked bacon baked beans, try making a veggie sandwich. It has tons of flavor, is very simple to make, can be made days ahead of time, and can hang out in the cooler until you’re ready to dig in.

Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Sandwich
I saw the original idea on Simply So Good. Her sandwich is totally different because it has meat, but looks SUPER good!

Serves 4 – 6

1 Ciabatta loaf, cut in half length wise (I used a 16 oz roasted garlic loaf from La Brea bakery)
1/2 cup prepared pesto
handful spinach
2 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise in 1/4 inch pieces
3 roma tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz block mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with non stick spray. Lay the zucchini and tomatoes in a single layer on the sprayed sheet pan and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
*They can cool on the pan, or you can remove them immediately and let them cool on a plate. I let them cool on the pan, to use less dishes.
*You can put the veggies in the fridge to help them cool faster.

Spread 1/2 the pesto on the top and bottom of the ciabatta and half on the top.

Layer on top of the pesto in this order:

mozzarella
spinach
zucchini
tomato
mozzarella

Cover with top layer of ciabatta. Place the entire loaf on a cutting board and wrap with plastic wrap around the loaf and cutting board. Place bricks, a cast iron pan, or heavy books on top of the wrapped loaf (something REALLY heavy so it flattens the sandwich).
*I used books, my heaviest cooking books I could find.

Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap and cut into individual sandwiches.

I made these in the morning and served them for dinner. I had leftovers that I ate for the next 2 days and the sandwich was still great. Yes, the bread gets a TINY bit moist, not really soggy, but that was after 2 days.