I’ve come a long way from the days when Ma would make us tuna melts. You know, the Costco croissants with canned tuna and melted cheddar? Anyone? We led a strict, low cholesterol diet at our house.

Anyone can make a good ol’ brown bag sandwich, but when a sandwich is warm, and with homemade pesto, it makes me want to snuggle up and have another. I think that's one of my favorite things about days off... I get to spend time cooking food that is warm and tastes yummy. The beauty of the open face sandwich is that you get to enjoy the goodies, as opposed to just tasting bread. It seemed the perfect day to blend up a pesto with all of my basil, and was just the flavor punch these veggie melts needed. If you use store bought pesto, you don’t get the kick back that the fresh stuff gives you. It is worth the time, as you can double the recipe and use it in eggs, as a dip, dressing etc.

I layered the lemony pesto with fresh greens, then another flavor punch (caramelized onions), then a thick layer of fresh (heirloom tomatoes) and topped it off with just a bit of crispy mozzarella. Post picture indulgence, Hugh and I wished there were more. It was like having a healthier version of pizza… you don’t need mounds of cheese when you have a great pesto and tasty onions.


1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Slices Ezekial Bread (or whole grain of choice)
1 Big Heirloom Tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
1 Cup Arugula
4 Thin Slices Fresh Mozarella Cheese
Black Pepper

The Pesto
4 Cups Basil Leaves
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Toasted Pine nuts
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Large Cloves Garlic
1 tbsp. Black Pepper

In a blender or food processor, add the pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add in half of the basil leaves and pulse to combine, add the rest of the basil leaves and pepper and with the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Stir in parmesan cheese. Leave the pesto a bit chunky, does not need to be totally smooth.

1. In a sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the chopped yellow onion and sauté on medium until caramelized, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare above pesto.
2. Oven to broil. Toast the bread for one minute. Assemble on each: toast, generous spread of pesto, arugula, caramelized onions, two heirloom tomatoes, sprinkle of black pepper and fresh mozzarella cheese in the center (it will melt down).
3. Broil on top rack for about 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and a bit crispy on top. Then make another one if you have leftover ingredients because you will want it.

Reader Comments (35)

I'm amaized by your blog! thaks for sharing, your images are amazing, and they make me calm. I the cooks are so nice... I love to cook, and we are in a family of 6!! so I cook all new stuff for everyone. Keep up the good work, promis to pass by regulary.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermariana

i dont get it please come home and make for me so i can tasteeeeeeee

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercydney morris


June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBlake

Oh yeah this will be on my cooking list this weekend!! Thanks Sara you are a gem!!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue Bradley

I am SO excited to discover your blog. Beautiful photos and great site design.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

We are going to tear this recipe UP tomorrow!!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrich + alyssa

these little sandwiches look so fresh, tasty and flavorful!

nice job -- you have a similar approach to food as I -- let the natural flavors shine through for maximum enjoyment!

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleela

I imagine this to be a recipe that covers all cravings, with the smooth, flavorsome and creamy parts that make it. I especially like your addition of the onions ~ they win me over anytime :) Beautifully inspiring photos again too *sigh*...

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Eats

Your blog is beautiful! I'm dying over here.

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy@OldSweetSong

"tested & approuved !"
simple and nice recipe.

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpierre

Great photos and I could eat that veggie melt RIGHT NOW!!

June 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkaren and casey

Fresh tomatoes are one of the greatest gifts in this life! Adore them! Fabulous photographs to compliment a yummy looking recipe!

June 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I just do. not. know. what to say. Your recipes are glorious of course. But the photography is so beautiful it makes me a little panicked.

how pretty and inspiring.

June 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkristina

wonderful blog...on my way to the kitchen now

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkaylovesvintage

hi there! thanks for commenting on my blog (, not just for the nice words but because it led me to YOUR blog! beautiful photos and great writing. i've added it to my inspiration list. thanks again!

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramber

I love this combo! It's classic and perfect. I love the idea of having it open-faced. I usually press it into a panini. It reminds me of the first time my fiancee made us lunch, and we had it by the river in Reno where we went to school. I was so impressed! and I'm definitely impressed by yours :)

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEatingRD

om nom nom nom

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhugh

Just stumbled onto your blog from the and I love it! Beautiful photos and a cooking philosophy similar to my own. Can't wait to try some of your recipes!

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Gasp! I am so happy I found your blog. I love your photographs. I'll be stopping by often!!! :)

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsha

My gosh, your photos are GOR-GEOUS!

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererin @ dessert girl

I suggested your site to my three foodie friends, one of whom is thinking about going vegetarian!

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterR

Ha-ha-ha. Very funny comment from hugh.

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterR

Beautiful food, Sara and Hugh! Can't wait to try the recipes! You make the best team!

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervaleria forte

wow! what a great blog discovery! i can't decide which is more impressive the food or the pictures! thanks for all the ideas {with simple ingredients!}

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererin@vittles

these look amazing! what a beautiful blog, too! glad i found it.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

oh my!! I am so impressed by you both. Cera, I think you have something here, a serious future. I don't cook anymore but I actually want to try every recipe of yours. Keep up the excellent work!! I LOVE YOU!

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdiane

I made this last night, but added a grilled portobella and put it on a whole wheat bun. It was the ultimate "veggie" burger!

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSara

just stumbled on your blog and love it already. can't wait to try your pesto veggie melts! such amazing photos, too.

June 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen jafarzadeh

this looks fabulous!

June 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy D

Hello Sara!

So sorry for the late reply. Thanks so much for your email and the correction. Oopsies. I have to say it was an honest mistake but still my sincere apologies.

Anyways, love everything about your blog. More power! :-)

July 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterR

MMM! This sounds so delicious... My husband has been making a lot of basil pesto lately - I'll have to show him this recipe!

By the way, thank you for your comment on my blog the other day! Your recipes are lovely! :)

July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

[...] out these beauties: Pesto Veggie Melts  (photos from Sprouted [...]

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHomage » Blog Archive &r

Stunning blog and a beautiful post!
We don't often do sandwiches in our home; however, this is one we will have to try.
Thank you

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLael Hazan

Ok, perfect lunch for a day off, or any day for that matter. Love the look of that heirloom tomato!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

WOW. this recipe looked rad and tasted delicious. thanks for posting!

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

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