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GardenSMART :: Clean Out The Refrigerator To Make Grilled Vegetable Dips And Sandwiches

Clean Out The Refrigerator To Make Grilled Vegetable Dips And Sandwiches

By Tommy C. Simmons, An Enthusiastic Cook
Photographs by Tommy C. Simmons

The produce drawers in our refrigerator don’t offer much storage space. Once a month we have to clear out the onesy and twosy leftover vegetables to make room for something fresh. The single zucchini or squash, tired tomato, half a bell pepper or eggplant, etc., is combined to make a vegetable filling for a pocket sandwich or a dip to eat with crackers.

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Photo caption: Grilled vegetables can be served as a dip with crackers or tucked into pocket bread and topped with a creamy hummus and ranch dressing.

I either grill the vegetables on a small George Forman grill, oven roast or sauté them in a skillet with a little seasoned olive oil. I’ve given up using whole pita breads to make my sandwiches – too hard to slit open. Though my grandkids advise seeing if there isn’t something on the Internet about how to easily slice open pita rounds. Instead, I use sandwich rounds sold in the bread section at most supermarkets or simply eat the cooked vegetables with crackers.

My favorite condiment for this all-vegetable sandwich is a combination of hummus and ranch dressing, mixed according to your taste preference. Start with two tablespoons of each stirred together.

You can season with a Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning or combination of spices to create an Indian-inspired sandwich filling.

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Photo caption: I also sometimes mix the vegetables with cooked quinoa to make a vegetable main dish.

I’m sharing Dana Jacobi’s Grilled Vegetables recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research, but as I said you can oven-roast or sauté the vegetables just as easily.

Home kitchen-tested recipe

Grilled Vegetables

Serves 4. Adapted recipe by Dana Jacobi is from the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Prepared hummus
Bottled ranch dressing
Salt and pepper

1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced (or any onion you have available)
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
1 Japanese eggplant, cut diagonally in ¼-inch slices
8 cherry tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 pocket-style sandwich buns

  1. Make sauce by whisking together desired amount of hummus and ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss vegetables with seasonings and olive oil.  Grill vegetables, turning occasionally until vegetables are tender and cooked through. Salt and pepper as desired. Put cooked vegetables in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so the vegetables soften and absorb the seasoned vegetable juices that steam out.
  3. Spoon into heated buns. Dress each vegetable-filled pocket with a spoonful of sauce. Serve.

Testing note: Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and even leafy chard, kale and cabbage, all do fine. Vary seasonings to suit taste. We favor an Italian seasoning blend rather than Jacobi’s recommended Indian-inspired seasonings.

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