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How to make a stacked vegetable sandwich on the grill

Vegetable stacks: Grilled Vegetables layered with fresh mozzarella

Vegetable stacks: Grilled Vegetables layered with fresh mozzarella over sourdough bread. Credit: Marge Perry

Grilled vegetables don’t always get the love they deserve. They’re often relegated to supporting roles — side dishes added to the dinner plate like a mere afterthought.

That’s just so wrong--look at that big hunk of vegetable love, all those colors and textures. There is the crunch of onion, its bite mellowed with time on the grill; meaty eggplant; earthy portabella mushrooms; the acidic kick of fresh tomatoes; and two layers of creamy, fresh mozzarella melting over it all.

And let’s get real: how good is it that the entire meal is made on the grill, and you’ll have zero pans to clean? And that any extra stacks, wrapped individually, make perfect beach or picnic fare the next day. Instead of eating them on a plate, eat them right in the wrapper, folding it down as you go. The bread soaks up all the flavors and becomes a whole new treat.

Forget about a supporting role: these stacks are the star of my summer.

1 medium red onion, cut in 4 (1/2-inch) slices

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut across in 1/2-inch slices

1 large zucchini (about 12 ounces) cut diagonally across in 1/2-inch slices

3 bell peppers, each cut in 4 panels

4 portobello mushroom caps

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 (1/2-inc) thick slices sourdough bread

1 beefsteak tomato, cut in 4 slices

1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut in 16 slices

Fresh basil leaves

1. Prepare the grill for direct and indirect medium heat (350 to 450 degrees)

2. Place a toothpick horizontally through the onion slices to hold the rings together.

3. Brush the onion, eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and mushroom caps with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Place the vegetables over direct heat and grill them, turning once, for the following times: 6 to 8 minutes for the bell peppers; 8 to 10 minutes for the eggplant, 10 to 12 minutes for the onion, and 12 to 14 minutes for the portobello mushrooms. Grill the bread until it is lightly marked on both sides, about 30 seconds per side.

5. Form the stacks: place the tomato on the bread followed by mozzarella; add the mushrooms, peppers and onions and top with another layer of mozzarella. Finish with the zucchini. Place the stacks on the grill over indirect heat until the cheese melts, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and top each with a basil leaf if desired.

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