As I have recently become obsessed with re-creating as many restaurant dishes as I possibly can, this may be my absolute favorite! I know you’re looking at this picture thinking that I’ve lost my mind. “How could she possibly think some open faced sandwich is her absolute favorite restaurant dish? She lives in LA, there’s tons of great restaurants there.” While there are lots of amazing restaurants here in LA, not all of them have food that you can re-create at home, nor would you want to (pig face anyone?). But sometimes you grab lunch, out of necessity, and stumble upon a great flavor combination that you just can’t get out of your head. This easy sandwich recipe is one of those.
Not long ago, I was roaming around the LA farmer’s market trying to find some weird ingredient when I realized the only thing I had eaten that day was 2 cups of black coffee. As soon as I realized this, my stomach started growling and I knew that I needed to eat something with a little more substance than caffeine in it. Once I spied the broccoli open faced sandwich at Shortcake, I knew I had to have it. Of course the scones, muffins and hand pies were quite the tease too. But the thought of a sammie for lunch was a bit too much for me to pass up.
The description of this vegetarian sandwich read: roasted broccoli, béchamel sauce, white cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes. See what I mean? Pretty irresistible. Plus, an open faced sandwich gives you the added bonus of extra fillings. You can pile each slice of bread with more good stuff since there’s no pesky piece of bread to smoosh out the extra contents down your face or all over your clothes. Don’t act like you haven’t ruined a perfectly good shirt by having some sandwich contents fall all over you.
I devoured the first slice of the sammie and vowed to save the second slice so that I could eat it at home and share some of it with Craig (I knew he’d go crazy for it too). Well, the best intentions….I managed to save him a small corner of the sandwich. Just about enough of it so that he could get a taste of it, but not enough to quell any hunger pangs he may have had. Sorry, it was just that good.
You know I’m a sucker for roasted vegetables, and roasted broccoli is no exception. I had never even thought about piling roasted broccoli onto a sandwich. Sure, by itself as a side dish or as part of a chicken pot pie or maybe added to a stir fry dish, but as the main ingredient for a vegetarian sandwich?
The original sandwich uses a béchamel sauce to keep the broccoli from falling all over the place, but I couldn’t be bothered with making up a batch of that, sometimes complicated, sauce for a sandwich. So to help make this an easy sandwich recipe, I mixed up a sauce using Veganaise as the base (and added some herbs and seasonings) of the sauce to hold the roasted broccoli together. If you’ve never used Veganaise, I think you’ll be in for a nice surprise…it’s really good. If you don’t want to use that, you could use regular mayo or homemade mayo/aioli for the base of your sauce. Or, you could go all out and just make the béchamel sauce (but it really won’t be quite the easy sandwich recipe that I promised you).
While it’s always a good idea to use really good bread when making a sandwich (the bread can make or break it), even the best loaf of bread can always use a little help. After toasting the slices of bread, I rubbed them with a clove of fresh garlic. This subtle addition of garlic to the mix really ties everything together.
Once everything is piled on to that, now garlicky, bread it’s time to strap everything in with a nice layer of cheese. This is the part of the sandwich that probably makes the most sense to you…cheese and broccoli is a pretty classic pairing. I used thin slices of one of my favorite white cheddars. I liked just having that little bit of cheese flavor mixing with all of the other flavors of the sandwich. But if you’re a big cheese head, feel free to go crazy with the stuff.
I think you’re really going to like this open faced sandwich. It’s an easy sandwich recipe that’s perfect for lunch or even for a light Meatless Monday dinner.
Sometimes its hard to tell the difference.
Recipe: Cheesy Roasted Broccoli Open Faced Sandwich
- 1 1/2 Pounds Broccoli (trimmed florets only)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 1″ Thick Slices of Good Bread
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 12 1/8″ Thick Slices White Cheddar Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Veganaise
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Tarragon (chopped)
- 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Shallots
- 1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil to roast the broccoli.
- Add broccoli to lined sheet and coat with olive oil. Make sure all of the piece are well coated and evenly spread in a single layer.
- Roast for 20 – 30 minutes. The edges of broccoli should just be turning brown and the broccoli itself should be slightly soft but still have some bite to it.
- Once done, remove from oven to cool.
- While the broccoli is roasting, mix up the sauce.
- In a small container, mix the Veganaise, tarragon, shallots and garlic powder. Mix everything thoroughly.
- Mix the broccoli with the sauce.
- Turn your oven to broil (at 425 degrees Farenheit). Broil the bread slices until the tops just begin to turn brown.
- Remove from oven and rub the clove of garlic over the browned tops of the bread.
- Spoon the broccoli mixture onto the slices of toasted bread.
- Diagonally lay the slices of cheese over the top of the sandwiches. Slightly overlap the edges.
- Return the sandwiches to the broiler and broil until the cheese melts and begins to brown in spots.
- Remove from oven.
- Serve with a lightly dressed salad.
Feel free to add more cheese if you wish.
To add a touch of heat, you could add some red pepper flakes to the sauce mixture.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 2
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
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