One of my favorite places to eat in the whole wide world is The Cheeky Monkey on Selby in St. Paul. We often go there for work lunches, it is a deli by day and bistro by night, and delicious the whole time through. In another life, I would really really like to live in the Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul, or Grand Avenue, so many good eateries, so many pretty buildings, too bad I have an innate need for wide open spaces. If someday I win the lottery though, one of my first purchases will be a mansion on Summit.
Although The Cheeky Monkey has a variety of really good sandwiches, more often than not, I order the roasted vegetable sandwich. The vegetables they use vary on what season it is, but I have never been disappointed. So, on this 7th and final Friday of Lent I will attempt to recreate their roasted veggie sandwich.
In general, all you need is some in-season veggies, hummus, chimichurri sauce, cheese, and bread. I found a good recipe for chimichurri sauce from Bon Appetit, the Cheeky Monkey uses Manchego cheese, but I opted for asiago, simply because it was half the cost. Asiago is a decent substitute for Manchego because it is also a hard cheese and has a strong, sort of nutty flavor; it’s one of my favorite cheeses. The chimichurri sauce brings a bit of heat and maybe a little sweetness to the veggies. The hummus, chimichurri, and veggies combine to make a really flavorful sandwich. You won’t even miss the meat.
You can use whatever veggies are in season and suit your fancy, here’s what I used (plus chimichurri sauce-not pictured):
I grilled the veggies on my amazing Cuisinart Griddler, alternatively you can grill them on a charcoal or propane grill, use a grill pan, or even roast them in the oven. It’s as easy as setting the veggies on the grill plates of the griddler (preheated to medium-high heat), and shutting the lid. It probably took about 5 or 6 minutes, if you use a grill or grill pan, you might want to flip the veggies half way through.
Chop the peppers and toss all the veggies in the chimichurri. (tossing in the chimichurri is not pictured, literally all you need to do it put the veggies into the bowl of chimichurri and stir them around.
Once the veggies are grilled (or roasted) and chimichurried, it’s time to assemble the panini. Brush the outsides of your bread with melted butter (I used ciabatta), spread a nice layer of hummus on the bottom half, then stack your veggies, top with cheese, and set the top layer of bread on top.
Then grill on the panini press on medium-high heat (or grill pan with weight, flipping halfway through) until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted about 5-7 minutes.
Let your sandwich cool down, cut in half, then enjoy!
As with everything I make, I am really happy when it can double as a lunch the next day. I was skeptical of a veggie panini surviving until the next day, but was pleasantly surprised- it was as good or better!
- 1 loaf of ciabatta bread cut into preferred portions
- 1 zucchini, halved and sliced thin
- 1 red bell pepper, halved with seeds and pulp removed
- 10 stalks asparagus
- 1 cup chimichurri sauce
- ½ cup hummus
- asiago cheese, thinly sliced
- Grill the veggies, cut the peppers into 1 inch pieces
- Toss the veggies in the chimichurri sauce
- Brush the outsides of the bread in melted butter
- Layer hummus, veggies, and cheese on the bread
- Grill on panini press for about 5=8 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted