Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A TSA Friendly Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Eating on an airplane has it's hazards. The food offered is generally mediocre and expensive. It's hard to imagine anything more unappetizing than a cold, soggy, plastic encased day old turkey wrap with a side of sun chips. Then we ask you to pay $9.00 for these gastronomic masterpieces. As a flight attendant I've been desperate enough to eat these offerings and let me tell you, it's not a banquet for a Queen. More like alms for the poor. I've found with a little planning you can eat well for less. And in this economy, who doesn't like that?
One of my favorite things to bring is a grilled vegetable sandwich. Flavorful, delicious at room temperature and easy to pack. I wrap all the ingredients separately and assemble it on the plane. Just ask a F/A for a set of plastic flatware and your ready to eat a wonderful lunch while your fellow travelers look on longingly.

The TSA or Transportation Security Administration have developed rules for bringing food on board an aircraft, but it's easy to live within these guidelines. Just remember no liquids over 3 ounces, no cutlery or glassware. In other words, leave behind you chef's knife, wine bottle and glasses.
I usually start by grilling my vegetables the day before. I place those in a seal plastic container. I then cut and split my bread, and wrap it separately in plastic wrap. The cheese I place in a zip lock bag and finally pack it all together in a large zip lock bag to carry on board. If I have a small amount of pesto or sauce to spread on my bread, I place it in a small single serving "Gladware" container. You can always pull it out of your bag for inspection while your passing through security. Be careful, if it looks too good, some hungry agent may confiscate it!
Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 thick slices
1 red onion, cut in half across the width, leaving the skin, root end and blossom end attached
2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
handful oven roasted tomatoes
enough fresh pesto to spread on the bread
1 piece of ciabatta bread, split
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat an outdoor grill.
Place the cut side of the onion on the grill. When the grill marks appear, turn the onion and position it on the grill so that it is sitting up right. brush it with olive oil. Place it on the side and continue to cook until it's soft. Peel the skin, and slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Place whole red pepper on the grill. When the skin has blacken on one side, give it a quarter turn and continue turning it until all sides are black. Place it in a paper bag, seal it and allow to cool. This will steam the pepper and enable you to peel it easily. Once cool, peel pepper removing seeds and stem. Cut into large pieces.
Lay the zucchini slices on the grill, when grill marks appear, turn and brush with olive oil. Turn again after the other side is marked and brush with olive oil once again. Remove when the zucchini is soft.
To assemble, spread pesto on bread. Lay zucchini slices on the bread, top with red pepper slices, onion rings, mozzarella and oven roasted tomatoes.
This sandwich is good as is, but exceptional toasted.

All text and pictures are property of the Gypsy Chef


  1. Mmmmm This is a welcome and wonderful idea. It looks delicious, I want one right now.

  2. Yum and great idea! My boyfriend has a job out of town and lives in a hotel during the week...so his cooking options are pretty limited. I will be staying with him this weekend and this would be the perfect meal to whip together as a surprise. Very gourmet and can travel with me in a cooler on the way there! Thanks :)

  3. Thanks Miss Green tea, stay tuned I'll have more recipes you can dazzle him with! Happy Traveling!

  4. I take a certain cruel satisfaction knowing that the lunch I've packed for a flight or long train ride is the envy of everyone around me :)

  5. I so know what you mean! It's a delicious second course knowing everyone wants a bite......

  6. I would like to say that you really made my day, it's wonderful when you just look around the web
    and find something like this, reminds me of that ''How to make a dinner for a romantic...'' by Elsa Thomas,
    you're a wonderful writer let me tell you!!! ñ_ñ

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