tomato, fresh mozzarella, & basil pesto sandwich

While I was in NY, I interrogated my Aunt Nina about the recipe for her delicious breakfast cake that I could not stop eating, found out the difference between my Uncle Benny's pasta sauce and his marinara sauce, and asked my grandpa for his pizza dough recipes. My mind was overloading with ideas, adaptions, and new recipes. I thought to myself that when I got home, I was going to be experimenting with countless ingredients. This was the only thing keeping me optimistic about leaving NY and heading home. Instead of finding myself in the kitchen, wearing my new Anthropologie apron that arrived right before I left,  and kneading dough while enjoying the sweet, spicy, and herbacious smell of tomato sauce simmering on the stove, I found myself miserably in bed, sneeze after sneeze, tissue after tissue, sulking in the realization that I was sick.

And here I am. Five days later. Still sick. With a WalMart bag full of used tissues next to my side, a box of new ones glued to my hip, a can of Lysol within arms reach, and a purring cat curled up on the arm rest. Therefore, I am very, very sorry for not posting any recipes or updates since I've been back. Luckily, I made and photographed this recipe before I left last week, so I figured now is a better time than ever to post it. After this weekend I am hoping to have recovered from this nasty thing, which means I will be posting pictures from the trip and of course some yummy foods!

Until then, I leave you with a refreshing sandwich that screams Italy. It complements an unbearably hot, summer day very well. Especially the kind we've been having in Florida lately! If you're looking for something easy, tasty, (and even vegetarian) to make for Memorial Day this weekend, well, look no further :)

tomato, fresh mozzarella, & basil pesto sandwich

Yield: ~ two 6" sandwiches

  • 1 ripe tomato, ~3 slices per sandiwch
  • a ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into slices
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, packed
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • A few basil leaves reserved for the sandwich
  • ~2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (1 clove if you're not a garlic lover)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus an extra pinch for sprinkling over the sandwich
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, plus an extra pinch for sprinkling over the sandwich
  • your favorite bread (I used mini garlic & herb ciabatta's that I found at the market. YUM!)

For the pesto:
In a food processor, add garlic cloves and pulse until finely chopped. Add salt, pepper, basil leaves, and spinach. Turn the processor on so that it runs by itself. As the processor runs, gradually add the olive oil through the chute until the pesto begins to come together and it is blended. You may need to add a little less or a little more than 2 tbsp of olive oil.

This pesto lacks a couple of ingredients that are usually seen in a basil pesto, such as pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese. As much I LOVE both of those ingredients, I don't think it's always necessary to add them, especially since pine nuts are a little pricey and I'm already putting fresh moz on the sandwich itself. And let's be honest, mOOtz-AH-reylla is pretty generous when it comes to handing out calories, so I'm not looking to double that by adding some parmesan. (The moz is so worth it, though!) If you want a creamier pesto, by all means add some parmesan to yours! Just add it to the processor with the basil and spinach.

To assemble the sandwich:
Rinse and dry tomatoes, and slice into thick or thin slices, depending on how you like it. I like mine sliced about medium sized (~1/4"). Slice mozzarella about the same size as your tomatoes. (Unless of course your tomato slices are an inch thick, then I probably wouldn't follow that rule thumb!)

Spread some pesto on both the top and bottom loaves of the bread. Layer the ingredients by placing a slice of tomato on the bottom loaf of bread, followed by a basil leaf and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Repeat until you've covered the bottom loaf. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the top loaf on, and cut in half.


cute mini ciabattas!

assembled sandwich


Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone. What are your plans? If I'm feeling up to it, I will be heading out the boat with my family and BBQing. Possibly even making this sandwich! While you're out there enjoying your three-day weekend, keep in mind why we have it in the first place.

*Remember our fallen soldiers who have fought for our freedom. Honor their bravery & courage, and pray for the families who have lost loved ones*


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  2. Its 2:04 AM and im going to be dreaming about how this deliciously looking sandwich must taste. This is right up my alley for sure! MMMM... Fresh tomato, basil, & mozzerella... my favorite things!