Grilled Vegetable Po' Boys 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Jun 18, 2014

There's plenty of arm-drip opportunity in this riff on the classic New Orleans sandwich, which is typically built with fried seafood or roast beef and gravy.

The vegetables also can be cooked on a large grill pan on the stove top, in batches.

Make Ahead: The vegetables need to marinate (at room temperature) for 20 minutes. Assemble the sandwiches just before serving.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the marinade and vegetables
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 (8 ounces total) Japanese eggplants (may substitute small purple eggplants)
  • 1 medium (8 ounces) red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 medium (8 ounces total) zucchini
  • For the roasted garlic spread
  • 1/4 cup homemade or store-bought roasted garlic (from 2 small heads; see NOTE)
  • 1/4 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For assembly
  • Four 6-inch po' boy loaves, cut in half horizontally (may substitute sturdy, long sub rolls)
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce leaves, stacked, rolled and cut into thin ribbons (julienne)
  • 4 to 6 ounces fontina cheese slices


Prepare the grill for direct heat: If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (400 degrees) with the lid closed. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 to 6 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Brush the grill grate.

For the marinade and vegetables: Combine the oils, garlic, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper in a blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to a gallon-size zip-top bag.

Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of peel away from the eggplant(s) (so that it looks striped), then cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut the onion into 1/4-inch slices; pierce a thin bamboo skewer through each slice to hold it together. Cut the red bell pepper in half from top to bottom. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Place all the vegetables in the bag. Seal, pressing out as much air as possible, then massage to coat evenly. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the roasted garlic spread: Combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in the blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to a small container with a tight-fitting lid.

Arrange the marinated vegetables on the grill. Discard the marinade. Close the lid and cook for about 8 minutes total or just until tender, using tongs to turn them as needed; you’re not looking for lots of char here. Transfer to a baking sheet. (Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to do this in batches.)

Discard the peel and seeds/ribs from the red bell pepper halves, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

When ready to assemble, slather both halves of each po' boy loaf with the roasted garlic spread. On the bottom halves, create a layer of tomato slices (some overlap is okay) and a layer of lettuce on each one, then cover with a combination of the grilled eggplant, red onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Lay a slice or two of the cheese over each portion of warm vegetables.

Place a top half of po' boy loaf on each portion to create 4 sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

NOTE: To roast garlic for this recipe, cut 1/2 inch off the non-root end of the 2 heads of garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until softened and caramelized. Unwrap; when cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out of their skins.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from the "Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook," by Poppy Tooker (, 2009).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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