Meatless Monday: grilled peanut butter and jam sandwiches
Homemade strawberry jalapeño jam adds a grown-up kick to the classic pb&j and dill gives grilled vegetables a fresh, summery finish in this satisfying vegan grilled meal.
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Grilled Peanut Butter & Jelly SandwichesSkip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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thick slices of a crusty white bread (see above)
jam (if not my Strawberry Jalapeño Jam, something else interesting)
Prepare your grill for direct grilling. When the coals are nearly ready (or the gas grill plenty hot – don’t have one, so that’s the best I can tell you), make your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Don’t be overly generous with the peanut butter, or it will melt out the sides.
Just before putting the sandwiches on the grill, brush the outsides with olive oil, as if you were making crostini. Place the sandwiches on the grill, cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Check to see if the sides facing the grill are sufficiently browned and grill marked. If not, leave for a moment longer, then flip. Cover the grill and cook for another 2 minutes or less. Transfer to a platter. Let rest for 5 minutes or so to avoid burning the bejesus out of the roof of your mouth. Serve.
Just one – you want smoke. With a charcoal grill, using the cover will impart a nice smokiness to it. With a gas grill, use wood chips and close the lid to achieve the same result.
Well, one and a half – how was it? Delicious. I was skeptical about the whole idea, but curious, as you probably picked up from the opening. So much so that, with the first bite, I thought, “Well, it’s not bad.” But as I continued to eat it, the campfire smokiness, the heat from the jam and the savory richness of the melty peanut butter just won me over. It was satisfying too. Combined with the side of grilled zucchini and peppers, it created a vegan meal that hit all the right savory/smoky/sweet taste notes and didn’t leave me hankering for a piece of steak or a chop. That was the biggest surprise, I think.
And now, about those grilled vegetables. This is less a recipe than a description, not unlike Mark Bittman’s famed and sorely missed “101 something-or-other” lists. Many vegetables lend themselves beautifully to grilling. For this dish, I sliced two bell peppers (a yellow and a red) into thick strips and sliced some zucchini diagonally into half-inch thick disks. I tossed them with some olive oil and, just before grilling, seasoned them generously with salt and pepper. I grilled them for 3 or 4 minutes, turning once and closing the grill in between to impart some smokiness to them.
The zucchini got some nice grill marks; the peppers charred on the outside in some spots, some pieces alarmingly so. No matter. They were delicious, especially when sprinkled with some fresh dill.
Relate post: Five cool grilling recipes for the long, hot summer
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