Green Tapenade & Vegetable Melt

A really good sandwich is a beautiful thing, and I’m particularly partial to one that sports a cheesy melt on top! Like many people though, my body doesn’t react well to preservative-filled breads and over-processed ingredients, so I’m always looking for recipes that actually help gut health, rather than damage it.

This delicious melt uses a big batch of veges, is a powerhouse of nutrition and tastes – and looks – ahhhhh…mazing.

Green Tapenade & Vegetable Melt

Serves 4. Ready in 35 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 400 g chicken tenderloins, halved through centre
  • 1⁄2 small eggplant, cut into 4 rounds
  • 1 zucchini, halved crossways, then cut lengthways into 3 mm thick slices
  • 8 slices gluten-free chia and sunflower bread or gluten-free seeded bread
  • 1 large tomato, sliced into thin rounds
  • 100 g mozzarella, grated

Green Tapenade

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 80 g pitted Sicilian green olives
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted finely
  • grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons garlic-infused olive oil

Method

To make the green tapenade, place all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth, adding a little water if required to loosen it. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a large chargrill pan over high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked and golden, then transfer to a plate. Add the eggplant and zucchini slices and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until just tender.

Preheat the oven grill to high. Grill the bread on one side for 30 seconds or until golden. Turn half the slices over and leave them on the grill tray. Remove the remaining slices and spread the uncooked side with some of the green tapenade, then top with the warm chargrilled chicken, vegetables, tomato slices and mozzarella. Return them to the grill and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the plain bread slices and continue to grill the topped bread for 1–2 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Dollop the remaining tapenade over the melts and place the toasted bread slices on top. Serve warm.

Recipe extracted from The CSIRO Healthy Gut Diet by Pennie Taylor & Michael Conlon, Macmillan, RRP $39.99.