These Vegetarian Party Sandwiches are my favorite party sandwich to make when expecting a larger crowd. They are a Primo Hoagies copycat and will satisfy even the most dedicated meat lovers! They can be made VEGAN too!
Finely chop your onion and add it to a skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute for 10 minutes on medium heat or until slightly caramelized. Do not burn.
Add broccoli rabe or spinach to pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.
Add your garlic, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper stirring for one more minute. Take off heat and let cool.
Peel your eggplant and slice lengthwise into ¼”-½” slices. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Let your eggplant sit for a bit. This will help remove any bitterness.
Set your dredging station with the flour, breadcrumbs and scrambled eggs in three separate shallow bowls. The wider, the better! (I like to use casserole dishes to fit the eggplant.)
Dredge the eggplant slices into the flour followed by the eggs and finally into the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat edges well.
Add an inch of oil to a skilet and bring oil to 350-375°F.
Add 2-3 eggplant slices at a time and fry for about 2 minutes or until the eggplant is golden brown on both sides and tender inside. Drain on wire rack or paper towels. Repeat with all of your eggplant.
Slice your rolls lengthwise (not all the way through) and brush your garlic oil on the top half. Then distribute a layer of the broccoli rabe/spinach mixture on the bottom half. Next add some sliced red peppers, then top with 1-2 slices of eggplant depending how thick it is. (You will need to trim your eggplant lengthwise to fit your roll.) Finish with 2-4 slices of folded provolone cheese on top and close it up.
If making for a party, slice your finished sandwiches in half andwrap tightly in saran wrap. Store in the fridge for 1-2 days until guests arrive!
Yield: 8 sandwich halves
You will have excess trimmed off eggplant slices you can "piece" together in the sandwich. Don't waste any of that yummy eggplant!
These can be made 1-2 days in advance!
Prep the eggplant in advance since this tastes the longest. You can save your fried eggplant in the fridge until you're ready to assemble your sandwiches.
Adding the garlic oil makes a big difference in flavor, keeps everything vegetarian and vegan, and also helps to keep your bread soft.
Don't slice your eggplant too thick or too thin. You want the ratio of eggplant to cheese to veggies to be perfect.
Make sure to season your eggplant WELL! It is very, very bland on its own so keep this in mind when salting.
Want To Make These Vegan?
Leave out the cheese and replace the non-dairy milk for the eggs when dredging to help the breadcrumbs stick.