Sometimes you have to head off The Reckoning.

Like, say, after two big family Thanksgiving meals and a drive-by chili-dogging at Sonic, when you KNOW that if you don’t eat some vegetables – one that aren’t covered in marshmallows or served in “tot” form – bad things will happen. Like scurvy. Or realizing the Elf on the Shelf could perch on the Junk in Your Trunk. Judgmental little turd.

That’s when it’s time for something like these Portobello, Broccoli and Red-Pepper Melts. The vegetables are broiled, piled onto thick slices of country bread, and toasted until the cheese on top melts and bubbles. It’s the sort of sandwich that requires a knife, a fork and a really big mouth.

Hey, I’m eating my vegetables, Elf! DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!

Portobello, Broccoli and Red-Pepper Melts

If you’d prefer not to use your broiler, feel free to sauté the veggies in a skillet and place the sandwiches in your toaster oven. For even more flavor, add sliced red onions or pesto.

Adapted from “Everyday Food” (March 2008)

  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets (stalk discarded)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 portobello mushrooms (stems removed), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed through a press
  • 4 thick slices country bread
  • 4 ounces Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, toss broccoli with oil; season with salt and pepper. Broil, tossing once or twice, until broccoli begins to char, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms and bell peppers to sheet; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Broil, tossing once or twice, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more; set aside.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Place bread on a separate baking sheet, and top with the mayonnaise mixture. Add vegetables, then cheese. Toast in the oven until cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 7 minutes.