Wow, I really liked these appetizers! They are very easy to make (especially if you take the shortcut I recommend and skip the first five steps) and yet they are really delicious! A great change from the standard dips or cheese and crackers, your guests will eat these up in a flash. Or, you can serve them as full-size sandwiches for lunch or a light dinner. Either way, they don’t disappoint!
2 medium red bell peppers (see note below for option to use prepared roasted peppers)
1 loaf French bread (about 14 inches long)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. fat-free Italian dressing, divided
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
8 large fresh basil leaves
3 ounces Swiss cheese, very thinly sliced
toothpicks (to secure the sandwiches)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cover large baking sheet with foil; set aside.
- To roast bell peppers, cut peppers in half; remove stems, seeds and membranes. Place peppers, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until skins are browned.
- Transfer peppers from baking sheet to paper bag; close bag tightly. Let stand 10 minutes or until peppers are cool enough to handle and skins are loosened.
- Using sharp knife, peel off skins; discard skins. Cut peppers into strips.
- Trim ends from bread; discard or reserve for another use, if desired.
- Cut loaf lengthwise in half. Remove soft insides of loaf; reserve removed bread for another use, if desired.
- Brush 1/4 cup Italian dressing evenly onto cut sides of bread.
- Arrange pepper strips in even layer in bottom half of loaf; top with even layer of onion.
- Brush onion with remaining 2 Tbsp. Italian dressing; top with layer of basil and cheese.
- Replace bread top.
- Wrap loaf tightly in heavy-duty plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap. Cut loaf crosswise into 1-inch slices.
- Secure each with a toothpick.
Food Mingle Blog Alternatives and Substitutions:
- You can skip steps 1-5 if you use prepared roasted pepper strips, which can be purchased in your grocery store, usually near the jarred pickles. That is what I did and it cut down on the time and mess quite a bit! And, the jarred roasted peppers were a mix of red, orange and yellow, which made the sandwiches look extra festive!
- Be sure to warn your guests that the sandwiches have toothpicks in them.
- Consider tearing the basil leaves so that they will be easier to eat in the small sandwiches.
- For even more depth of flavor, add your favorite sliced sandwich meat, such as salami, turkey, ham, or roast beef.
- I had some leftovers and decided to heat them in the microwave to melt the cheese – just 20 seconds did the trick!
Yield: 12 appetizer servings
Adapted from: “The Appetizer Bible”