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Roasted Vegetables Picnic Loaf

This is  a  wonderful sandwich to take  along  on picnics, hikes or in the lunchbox.   This is  sandwich  that is  prepared  ahead  of  time  and   the  flavors  are allowed  to  meld and mellow. Filling and  full of  flavors this vegetarian  version is  vegan  friendly as well.

A delicious pressed sandwich with grilled vegetables and a crusty loaf


I  bake  quite a  lot  of  bread – in summer  my baking  pattern  changes.  It  will be  reserved  for  once  a  week or  so when  the  temperatures are low (we are lucky that  way) – but  I will be baking in bulk.   Chances  are  that  I have a  few  loaves of  crusty  bread  and a couple  sandwich  breads  done  in that  time.

This is  wonderful way to  use up  extra  crusty bread  that  is a  day old (drying  out),  without  freezint  it.  It is a  vegetarian  version and often times I make these  vegan . It is  low   in calories and  perfectly fits into a day at  the beach or   even if you were  hiking up  in the mountains.  I would  definitely make a   vegan  version when  hiking,  coz I hate t o take  ice packs  along.

The  idea  is  simple –  hollow out a  crusty loaf and  fill  with   grilled  vegetables   and   sauce.  Close  it , wrap tightly and  place a  weight  on it .  This  is  left  in the  fridge for  a  few  hours  or  overnight. The  fillings  sandwich together  perfectly and  the flavors  meld  together  to  make  an incredible  picnic food.   Cut into int  and  you can  see the  distinct  bright  layers.

I have  made  these  for  school  lunches too, and  they are  better  received  than  paninis.
There are  many versions of this  loaf  and this  here is  one  of  the basic  version .  Here is  how to  make a picnic loaf  in   pictures .

Making Roasted Vegetable Picnic Loaf


Usually  I make  one large  loaf  and slice  as  needed.  You can make individual  servings  as  well –  Ciabatta  rolls are  perfect here.

Slice  this  before  leaving  on your  picnic and  tightly wrap.

What to do  with the   scooped  out  bread ?

Pulse  in the  blender  to make  coarse  bread crumbs   and freeze  is  my   choice. Use as  needed.

You can   tear  it  into  smaller  pieces   and  layer in  the  sandwich as  well. This is a  good  option if  you  suspect  that  there is  a  lot  of  moisture  in the fillings.

A delicious  pressed  sandwich with  grilled  vegetables  and  a crusty loaf

The picnic loaf is visually appealing, convenient, and delicious. There is  a  good amount  of  filling  there,  and  nothing  is  out of  place. One  great  way to stuff all your   sandwich  cravings  into one   easily transportable loaf !

Cross section of a picnic loaf sandwich showing the layers of vegetables.

Roasted Vegetable Picnic Loaf

By Syama
Picnic  loaves  are an  easy  and  delicious  way to enjoy a  day out.  It  is a  make  ahead  sandwich  that is  perfect  for  lunch boxes  as  well.   The  sandwich is  is  assembled  ahead of  time  ans  the flavors   are  allowed to meld  and   mature.   
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Course Main
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 3 - 4 Bell Peppers (Mix of colors) Medium
  • 1 Sweet  Onion
  • 1 Italian Squash
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Crusty loaf of bread  Day Old
  • Mozzarella As Needed See Notes
  • 3 tbsp Ready-made pesto or  Vegan  pesto See recipe below

Quick Creamy Vegan pesto

  • 1 C Parsley Leaves
  • ½ C Fresh basil large stems removed
  • ¼ C Cashew nuts Or sunflower seeds for nut free  version !
  • 1 Clove Garlic large
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt To taste
  • 1 -2 Tbsp  Nutritional Yeast See Notes
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil  Extra Virgin/Cold Pressed


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C).
  • Remove  the  stem  and  seed s from the peppers  and slice  length  wise  into strips  about 1” in  width. Slice the eggplant  and  Italian  squash into  long strip  about  the  same  thickness as  the  peppers.  Peel and  slice onions  into  thick  rounds.
  • Place all the chopped vegetables in a bowl and drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat all the vegetables in the oil. Arrange the  vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet  and roast until the vegetables are softened, about 15 minutes. You may need to do this in two batches.
  • Cut the top off the loaf to create a lid.
  • Hollow out the loaf by scooping out the soft bread and leaving an edge of around 1 inch.
  • Spread  the insides  of  the  loaf  with  pesto.  And layer  the  cheese . If needed  place  the  load   under  the  broiler  for  about  1 minute  to melt  the cheese.
  • Layer the  vegetables over the  bread – keeping  them as  distinct  layers. Repeat  until the  loaf  is  full .  Place the  lid  back on.  Tightly wrap with a plastic  wrap and place in the  fridge  with a  weight on top of  it.  Chill for 4 hours to overnight.
  • Slice  and  serve.

For Vegan Parsley Pesto

  • Place the basil, parsley , cashew nuts, and garlic in a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.
  • Add the  oil  and  blend   on low  until incorporated .  Add sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast,  in batches , pulse , taste  and adjust  to  taste .


  • If  the  veggies  are  watery – layer the  hollowed  out  bread  chunks  between the  layers  of  veggies.
  • Leaving  it pressed  in the  fridge  overnight  helps  the  fillings  stick together better.
  • Different  colored  peppers,  portobello mushrooms   and   squashes  are  other  good  veggies  in this sandwich .
  • I like  a  mix  of  parsley and   basil in the  pesto. Adjust  to your taste.
  • Leave  out  the  cheese for  vegan  version or  use  vegan  cheese. 
  • If  making   the  Vegan Pesto  use  the  nutritional yeast  for the cheese flavor.

Important: Nutrition Values are estimates. Actuals vary based on ingredients and serving size.

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A delicious pressed sandwich with grilled vegetables and a crusty loaf

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