Grilled Vegetable Ciabatta Sandwiches

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

A mix of grilled vegetables is the perfect filling for a ciabatta sandwich. For this recipe, you grill zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, bell peppers and red onions. Then spread the bread with pesto and layer in fresh mozzarella and baby spinach. Each bite of this vegetarian sandwich has lots of smoky grilled veggies. Make it during grilling season.

Grilled vegetable ciabatta sandwiches on a plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

With ciabatta for the bread, you can make a big single sandwich that you cut into serving sizes. This makes it so easy to feed a group whether that’s at a picnic or a summer potluck. 

This is a tasty and filing vegetable sandwich that’s perfect for vegetarians. You may think sandwich and deli meat might be the first thing that comes to mind, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t limit your requirements for sandwiches.

These sandwiches are customizable. If you have a mix of vegans, vegetarians and carnivores, it is simple to make adjustments and additions and even create somewhat of a sandwich bar.

Save this recipe for lunch meal prep. You can grill the vegetables in advance and wait to assemble the sandwiches on soft ciabatta bread that’s freshly cut. 

The Ingredients

Ingredients including bread, vegetables, pesto, olive oil, salt, pepper and mozzarella.

This is what you need:

  • Ciabatta means “slipper” in Italian, a reference to its shape, which is more flat and rectangular. It is an airy Italian white bread. The crust is chewy rather than crunchy and the inside is very soft with lots of holes. I like using a large individual loaf, but you can find ciabatta baked in sandwich-sized buns or rolls.
  • Vegetables: I go for a range of colors, textures and flavors with zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, eggplant and red onions. For the peppers, I prefer sweeter yellow, orange or red peppers rather than green peppers, but it is your choice.
  • Pesto: You can use homemade basil pesto or store-bought pesto. If you do buy it, I recommend looking for pesto in the refrigerator case with the fresh pastas because it will have better flavor than jarred pesto.
  • Baby spinach leaves are the greens on the sandwich. 
  • Fresh mozzarella: I slice a ball of mozzarella because I love its milky taste with the flavor of the grilled ingredients.
  • Olive oil: I toss the veggies in extra-virgin olive oil before grilling them.
  • Salt & pepper season the vegetables.

Substitutions & Variations

With this sandwich recipe, there is plenty of room for making changes to suit your tastes. I like to think of it at its most basic with the following components:

  1. Bread: As mentioned, the great thing about ciabatta is that it is easy to find at the grocery, and you can make a single large sandwich and cut it. Another great option is focaccia because you can also have this same approach. If you prefer sliced bread, then go for sourdough or country bread with a nice crust.
  2. Vegetables & Filling: Maybe you don’t care for eggplant, then just use more zucchini or peppers. Adjust the vegetables depending on what you like and what you have in your kitchen. For the carnivores, you can add salami, prosciutto or sliced turkey. 
  3. Cheese: Sliced provolone cheese or parmesan cheese are options along with feta and goat cheese. 
  4. Greens: Besides spinach, you an add baby arugula or crisp romaine lettuce to your sandwich.

Optional Additions

  • Avocados, sliced or mashed, give the sandwich something rich and creamy.
  • Pepperoncini are for those people who like sweet and sour flavor with some heat.
  • Tomatoes: Either sliced raw or roasted tomatoes can be added to the sandwich with the grilled vegetables.

How To Make This Grilled Vegetable Ciabatta Sandwich

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat.

1. Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. I like doing this on a sheet pan because there is plenty of room, and then I can use the pan to carry everything to the grill.

2. Grill the vegetables. They should be crisp-tender with grill marks. It will be about 3-4 minutes per side for eggplant, peppers and onions and 2-3 minutes per side for zucchini and squash.

Vegetables on a sheet pan before and after they are grilled.

3. Spread pesto on the top and bottom pieces of bread and add the spinach.

4. Add the vegetables. I find it’s best to put the spinach down before the vegetables. I also like to split the onions into rings, so I don’t end up with solid bites of onion.

Pesto and spinach on bottom slice of bread. Grilled vegetables layered on top.

5. Add the cheese slices. 

6. Stack the top piece of bread on the sandwich and cut it into smaller sections. The size of your sandwiches is up to you depending if you are feeding a group and what else you are serving.

Fresh mozzarella slices on sandwich. Big sandwich sliced into servings sizes.


You can keep it very simple and serve chips on the side. Also, you can make a salad such as a simple arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, a classic house salad or an Italian chopped salad. I also think these sandwiches would be great with a Mediterranean bean salad.

Leftovers, Storage & Make-Ahead Tips

Similar to my approach with salad recipes where I never toss the entire thing in the vinaigrette if I’m planning to save leftovers, don’t assemble the whole sandwich if you are going to get a few meals out of this recipe. Store the grilled vegetables in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days. In this case you might find it better to use sliced bread instead of a big ciabatta loaf for your sandwiches.

I did do a test with leftover sandwiches by wrapping them up and putting them in the fridge. My strategy was to eat them warm. I took off the top bread slices and put them and the open-faced sandwiches in the oven at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. That toasted the bread and made the cheese a bit melty and most importantly gave the sandwiches a second life.

Ciabatta sandwiches on a plate.

Recipe Tips

Grill the vegetables in batches. Unless you have a very large grill, you will need to cook the veggies in a few rounds. They grill pretty quickly, so this isn’t a big deal.

It is up to you how thick you make your sandwiches. Stack up those vegetables if you want. Again, this sandwich can handle customizations. Just think about dietary preferences and how many sandwiches you need to get out of the recipe.

If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can use a stovetop grill pan. Zucchini, yellow squash, peppers and onions are great for indoor grilling.

Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below, and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus enjoy recipes and cooking inspiration each week.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Grilled Vegetable Ciabatta Sandwiches

No ratings yet
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
A mix of grilled vegetables including zucchini, yellow squash, peppers and red onions is the perfect filling for this ciabatta sandwich with pesto and fresh mozzarella. 


For vegetables

  • 1 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 medium yellow squash, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
  • 2 bell peppers, cut lengthwise into 3-inch wide strips
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For sandwich

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta, halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced


  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat.
  • Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. (It’s easiest to do this on a sheet pan because then you can use that to carry the veggies to the grill.)
  • Grill the vegetables until they are tender and have grill marks, about 3-4 minutes per side for eggplant, peppers and onions and 2-3 minutes per side for zucchini and squash.
  • To assemble the sandwich, spread both cut sides of the bread with pesto and scatter the spinach on the bottom piece of bread. Layer on the grilled vegetables. (You can spilt the onions slices into rings). Then add the mozzarella and top with the other piece of bread.
  • Cut the sandwich into your preferred serving sizes.


If you’re planning to save leftovers, don’t assemble the entire sandwich. For meal planning, store the grilled vegetables in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Also, you might find it better to use sliced bread instead of ciabatta for your sandwiches.
Store leftover sandwiches in the fridge up to 2 days. Then reheat them in a 350-degree F oven. Take off the top bread slices and put them and the open-faced sandwiches on a sheet pan for 8-10 minutes. It toasts the bread and melts the cheese.
Substitutions & Variations:
  1. Bread: You can use focaccia, sourdough or another sliced bread with a good crust.
  2. Vegetables & Filling: It’s ok to adjust the vegetables depending on what you like and what you have in your kitchen. For the carnivores, you can add salami, prosciutto or sliced turkey. 
  3. Cheese: Provolone, parmesan, feta or goat cheese are all great options.
  4. Greens: You can try baby arugula or romaine instead of spinach.
Optional Additions
  • Avocados: sliced or mashed
  • Pepperoncini: for some heat
  • Tomatoes: raw or roasted


Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 1199mg | Potassium: 555mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2593IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 258mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @lastingredient on Instagram and tag it #lastingredient!

Author photo

Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I agree with you that the bread absolutely makes or breaks a sandwich and using focaccia for a vegetable sandwich is perfect. Thanks for the post!