This particular tartine is a favorite of mine. It makes the most of glossy grilled vegetables piled onto quality crusty bread (also grilled), smeared with creamy goat cheese, and finished with a generous shower of finely chopped fresh mint.
If you’re worried that a tartine means something fancy, don’t. It’s just the French version of toast. In her book Around My French Table, award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan explains, “The verb tartiner means to spread, and a tartine is a slice of bread spread (or more rightly topped) with something or several somethings.”
This particular tartine is a glorious vegetarian meal or snack that most any omnivore will welcome into their kitchen.
Upside of a Tartine
I’m not much of a sandwich gal, but I do love a tartine. Here’s why: The ratio of fixings to bread is better, in my opinion. I find an open-faced sandwich to be tastier, lighter, and overall, more appealing.
Plus, grilled vegetables in plain view are so much prettier when they’re not topped with toast. And for anyone asking, this isn’t about cutting carbs, it’s about filling up on flavor.
How to Make This Recipe Without a Grill
If you don’t have a grill (or aren’t in the mood to fire yours up) you can cook the vegetables and toast the bread on the stove top, in a grill pan or roast them on a parchment-lined sheet pan in a 400°F oven until tender. The amount of time in the oven will vary by vegetable, from about five minutes for the zucchini to 30 or 40 for the onion. Alternatively, use a toaster oven to toast the bread.
Can I Make This Ahead?
Grilled vegetables are tasty at room temperature, so you cook them ahead of time. If you want to do the grilling the day before you can also do that! Once cooked and cooled, cover, and refrigerate them in an airtight container. Take the vegetables out of the fridge an hour before assembling the tartines. Be sure to hold off grilling the bread until just before serving.
Swaps and Substitutions for Vegetable Tartines
This recipe lends itself to so much riffing, it’s hard to know where to begin. Consider this the “anything goes” springboard for endless open-faced sandwiches depending on the season and your mood. Here are some starter suggestions:
- Use any soft cheese in place of goat cheese, such as fresh ricotta, cream cheese, Boursin, burrata, or a creamy vegan cheese for folks who don’t consume dairy.
- Use any other vegetables that work well on the grill, such as eggplant, asparagus, mushrooms, and scallions.
- Add a swipe of homemade or store-bought mint or basil pesto to the bread before adding the goat cheese. Figure about a tablespoon per slice.
- Take this in a savory/sweet direction by topping with grilled figs, peaches, or apricots instead of vegetables.
- Use hummus or tapenade in place of cheese.
- Make them mini by using baguette slices cut on the diagonal.
3 Ways to Serve Grilled Vegetable Tartines
As for when and how to serve tartines, anything goes if we’re being honest. Here are a few ideas for enjoying these open-faced beauties.
As a light meal—Serve tartines as the anchor for brunch, lunch, or a light supper. For brunch, add a plate of sliced fruit and a bowl of boiled eggs. For lunch or dinner, add a generous green salad with this vinaigrette or a summery tomato salad to go alongside. If you have heartier appetites at the table, the recipe is easy to scale up so everyone is well fed.
As part of a snack board supper—I like to cut tartines in half and arrange them on a large snack board along with other nibbles for a weeknight supper. Add olives, slices of prosciutto, radishes, or other raw vegetables like grilled artichokes, cornichons, canned sardines, fresh or dried fruit, and walnuts or roasted almonds.
As a party appetizer—Double or triple the recipe and cut the tartines crosswise into thirds. Arrange them on a large platter and set out a stack of cocktail napkins. It makes great finger food and tastes good hot off the grill or at room temperature.
More Glorious Grilled Veggie Recipes
- Grilled Vegetable Pizza
- Grilled Romaine
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn
- Grilled English Peas
- Grilled Artichokes
Open-Faced Grilled Vegetable Tartines
- 1 medium (8-inch) zucchini
- 2 medium red or yellow bell pepper
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for bread
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large round loaf of crusty bread, such as levain, sourdough, or Italian
- 4 ounces (chèvre) fresh mild goat cheese
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
Preheat the grill:
Preheat your grill, aiming for medium-high heat, about 400°F if using a gas grill.
Prep the veggies:
Cut zucchini on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices (cutting on the diagonal will make for bigger pieces less likely to fall between grill grates).
Cut the peppers in half through the stem end. Remove the stem and seeds and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel the outer skin off the onion and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, keeping the rings intact.
Season the veggies:
Lay the vegetables on a baking sheet, keeping the onions, peppers, and zucchini grouped separately, and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
Use your hands to gently coat the veggies with the oil and seasonings. Do your best to keep the rings of onion from separating. Set aside until ready to grill.
Cut the bread, drizzle with oil, and season with salt:
Cut four 1/2-inch-thick slices from the center of the bread so they are generous in size (leftover bread can be saved for another use). Brush lightly with olive oil using a pastry brush or drizzle with a spoon and season both sides with a pinch of salt.
Grill the veggies and bread:
Use a pastry brush to brush the grill grates with oil.
Using tongs, lay the peppers and onions on the grill and cook, turning occasionally until the vegetables are lightly caramelized, glossy, and tender, 6 to 10 minutes. The peppers will likely be done first.
When the peppers and onions are nearly done, add the zucchini and bread onto the grill. Grill until the zucchini is striped with grill marks on both sides and the bread is lightly browned around the edges, about 2 minutes total.
Assemble the tartines:
To assemble the tartines, spread the goat cheese over the surface of the bread. Lay the zucchini, peppers, and onion on top (you may have extra vegetables, which are delicious to eat on the side).
Squeeze lemon juice over top and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Scatter with the fresh mint and serve immediately.