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Springtime is the perfect time for picnics, and what’s a picnic without a sandwich? Not very appetizing, that’s for sure. So if you’re looking to add some variety to your picnic spread, why not try out this delicious vegetarian picnic sandwich? It’s sure to be a hit with both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! Plus, it’s easy to make and transport, so you can enjoy your picnic worry-free. So grab your favorite blanket and head outdoors – this veggie picnic sandwich is sure to make your lunch break feel like a mini vacation!
Did you know that there’s evidence that enjoying time in green spaces promotes mental health?
What does pressed sandwich mean?
What sandwiches are best for a picnic? Pressed sandwiches! A pressed sandwich is a fairly simple, yet very convenient concept: You take a loaf of bread, cut it in half, fill it with ingredients, and refrigerate it overnight under something heavy in order to press it and help develop its flavors.
These sandwiches are ideal for picnics since:
- The type of bread used is thick, so they keep their consistency (ie, minimal sogginess).
- They can be prepared the night before, which not only helps the flavors develop better, but saves time as well.
- You can make them from a wide variety of foods and combinations of flavors, making great crowd pleasers.
The key to a good pressed picnic sandwich is to leave it pressed between heavy objects in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, preferably overnight. As you can see, I used a cookie sheet and put a bottle of juice for added pressure. You can use pots, gallons of water, or any other heavy object that you can store in the fridge. And of course, wrap the sandwich in parchment paper, plastic wrap, or aluminum before pressing it so that the ingredients don’t spill out from the sides!
How do you keep pressed sandwiches from getting soggy?
One of the main concerns when preparing a pressed picnic sandwich is trying to avoid the bread from getting soggy. Here are a few helpful tips on how to help your sandwich keep its shape, even when it won’t be eaten until the winner of the touch football game has been declared:
- Pick a fairly sturdy bread like ciabatta, focaccia, French or Italian, (the one I used in this recipe). This helps the sandwich hold its consistency.
- You can fill the sandwich with firm vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, peppers, pickles, grated carrots, onions, fresh basil, etc. Try to keep these as dry as possible.
- Try not to use too many delicate and juicy vegetables, such as very ripe tomatoes and iceberg lettuce, since this can make the bread go soggy.
- You can use all kinds of cheeses, such as sliced mozzarella, provolone, Swiss, Gouda or cheddar cheese, for example. Blot dry with a paper towel to get rid of excessive moisture.
- For chicken, tuna salads or cold cuts, add a layer of firm vegetables as a barrier between the bread and the meats.
- It helps to put the wettest ingredients, such as vegetables, among the driest, such as cheeses and hams, to prevent loss of consistency.
- For seasoning, try a little olive oil, vinaigrette, mustard, mayonnaise, guacamole, or pesto; just try not to moisten the bread too much.
How to make this vegetarian picnic sandwich
First, cut the bread in half lengthwise. Spread both halves of bread with sun dried tomato pesto, and place the cheese slices on both halves. Add the tomatoes, red peppers and olives.
Prepare the vinaigrette: Mix the olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper well. Brush the vegetables with the vinaigrette, taking care not to add too much to prevent the bread from becoming soggy.
Now, join the two halves of the sandwich and wrap well in parchment paper, plastic wrap, wax paper or aluminum foil. Place the sandwich between two cookie sheets or other flat objects, and on top add a heavy object that distributes the weight evenly. Examples: pots; gallons of water, juice or milk; cans; etc.
Store the sandwich in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Pack the sandwich up nicely wrapped, and when you reach your destination, cut it into 3-inch pieces.
How do you store sandwiches for a picnic?
One of the best things about vegetarian picnic sandwiches is that they can be made ahead of time and don’t require any special equipment to keep them fresh. If you’re planning on eating your sandwiches within a few hours, simply wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in a container with a lid.
If you need to store your sandwiches overnight, insert a sheet of wax paper between the layers of bread to prevent them from getting soggy. To pack your sandwiches for transport, place them on a bed of ice in a cooler or insulated bag. This will help to keep them cool and fresh until you’re ready to eat. With a little advance planning, you can enjoy delicious vegetarian picnic sandwiches without any hassle.
Additional vegetarian picnic foods
Here are some additional vegetarian picnic ideas:
- Pack food that does not need to be kept warm, such as pressed sandwiches (obviously!), salads without mayonnaise (mason jar salads are a great option), pasta salads, bean salads, wraps, whole-grain crackers with an assortment of cheeses, chopped vegetables, yogurt, and fresh fruits for dessert.
- For thirst quenching, you can bring bottled water or fruit infused water, which has a juicier taste (plus, these infusion bottles are convenient and portable). Cold unsweetened tea, unsweetened coconut water and 100% juices are other good beverage options.
- Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, mandarin oranges, peaches, plums and pears are excellent for packing in a picnic basket since they do not bruise easily. But you can also make chopped fruit jar salads as well.
- A dip like hummus with crackers, pita chips or pretzels is a great vegetarian picnic appetizer.
- Bento box snacks, or adult Lunchables, are also a great, take along option.
Vegetarian pressed picnic sandwich recipe
Vegetarian Mediterranean Pressed Picnic Sandwich Recipe
- 1 18" loaf of sturdy bread such as ciabatta, French, Italian, focaccia or sourdough
- ¼ cup sun dried tomato pesto
- 6 slices mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups fresh spinach, lightly chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
- 2 slices of canned, roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped black olives
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut the bread in half lengthwise
- Spread both halves of bread with sun dried tomato pesto
- Place the cheese slices on both halves . Add tomatoes, red peppers and olives
- Prepare the vinaigrette: Mix the olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt and pepper well. Coat the vegetables a little with this mixture, taking care not to add too much to prevent the bread from becoming soggy
- Join the two halves of the sandwich and wrap well in parchment paper, plastic wrap or aluminum
- Place the sandwich between two cookie sheets or other flat objects, and on top add a heavy object that distributes the weight evenly. Examples: pots; gallons of water, juice or milk; cans; etc.
- Store this in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight
- Pack the sandwich up nicely wrapped, and when you reach your destination, cut it into 3-inch pieces. Enjoy it with good company!
Thanks for checking out my vegetarian picnic sandwich recipe! I hope you enjoy it and have a great time outdoors. And be sure to check back soon for more recipes and cooking tips.
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…