Just last week I was speaking with an aquaintance and he shared that his wife and he often shared entrees when they went out to dinner. Surely we've all heard this before but it never hurts to be reminded that there are ways we can occassionally enjoy those foods that might not be the healthiest selections without feeling as though we've committed a crime against our waistline.
Typical of what might be found in a restaurant sandwich, this one is full of flavor but made with white bread and it is high in the sodium department. By splitting this with a friend, you save yourself a whole bunch of fat and sodium–and that is something to feel good about if the lunch company wasn't enough.
Keep in mind that this sandwhich also has a lot of great things to offer. Since it's always said that Americans have a diet too high in meat and animal products, incorporating more vegetarian fare into our lives is rarely a bad thing and this sandwich is a satisfying way to enjoy a meat-free meal.
Grilled Portabello Foccaccia Sandwich
9 ounce package of portabello mushrooms (2 large mushrooms)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 ounces roasted red pepper (I used the stuff in a jar; approx 1/4-1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon white chia seeds
1 cup fresh baby spinach
2 ounces brie cheese (I used one with truffle flakes)
1 ounce avocado, thinly sliced
1 – Preheat the grill (note, you can cook these indoors but it won't be nearly as flavorful; remember, eating healthy and finding enjoyment means drawing flavor, in layers, wherever you can). Preheat your broiler for perparing the remainder of the sandwich while portabello cooks.
2 – In bowl or this inexpensive salad dressing maker, mix together garlic, balsamic, soy sauce and mustard. Pour over mushrooms.
3 – Clean and slice portabello into 2" thick slices. Mushrooms have a very high water content and will shrink considerably when cooked. Lay these in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (a 9 X 19 works great for this)
4 – Slice foccaccia open lengthwise to expose bread inside for building sandwich. You should be left with two perfectly square pieces for building upon.
5 – Place portabello slices on preheated grill and grill on high, flipping once or twice, for 15 to 20 minutes or until much of the water has cooked out and mushoom pieces are crispy but not burned; pull out of oven and set aside. Note: you can return unabsorbed balsamic and soy mixture to salad dressing maker, add equal part extra virgin olive oil and shake for a flavorful salad dressing that will last several days in the refrigerator.
6 – On top slice, layer with thinly sliced brie cheese and place under broiler, watching constantly.
7 – Using blender or food processor, purée red pepper until smooth. Add in chia and pulse once or twice more. Chia will thicken this mixture AND provide omega-3s along with additional calcium, iron and fiber.
8 – Assemble: Spread red pepper and chia mixture on bottom slice of sandwich. Layer with thinly sliced avocado and then baby spinach. Top with mushrooms, and top layer of foccaccia. Cut in half and share with someone you love!
Using a mandolin to slice an entire apple very thin not only wastes less of the apple but offers a satisfying sandwich accompaniment. Right now apples are in season and, I promise, taste far better than any stale, greasy potato chip!
Nutritional Info: per serving; serving = ½ of sandwich:
* Nutritional data created using ingredient compilation program for 2,000 calorie diet and is deemed close but not exact.