grilled vegetable sliders with a lemon walnut pesto

Listen up. I'm just not that into watching sports. Okay? No matter how many times someone tries to explain to me what a first down is, I'll never get it. It goes in one ear and out the other.

You know what else? I'm not going to tell you that I'm one of those people who watch the superbowl for the commercials, because I'm not.  Nope. 

Touchdown!  Field goal! 1st and what??

What's that you said?  You want another vegetable slider?  Coming right up!  

I do watch the superbowl.  It would be un-american for me not to.  But, just like any other holiday or event with me, it is all about the food. The food, and me winning a couple hundred dollars on a football pool. Oh yeah. 

If it's an excuse for me to cook for people, I'm all in.  

If it's an excuse for me to sneak in healthy, vegan recipes without anyone knowing I did so, I'm all over that too. 

These vegetable sliders are the perfect way to sneak in veggies without your football fans booing you out of the kitchen.

Packed with your favorite veggies that are in season, then loaded with a zesty lemony pesto on a mini-toasted whole grain bun.  How can you go wrong? (Insert cheesy touchdown joke here).

grilled vegetable sliders with a lemon walnut pesto

5 sliders


3-4 of your favorite fresh vegetables (for mine I used an organic red pepper, an eggplant, and a zucchini)
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (or a neutral tasting, high heat oil of your choice)
1 small red onion, chopped
5 multi-grain, or your choice of mini (slider) buns 

For the pesto:
1 cup of basil leaves, loosely packed
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of walnuts 
the juice and zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons of olive oil (plus a little more for toasting the buns) 


Start by preparing the lemon walnut pesto:

  • To make this pesto, I use the chopping by hand method.  You end up with a chunkier, more flavorful pesto that goes well on the sliders.  Feel free to use a food processor if you prefer.
  • Start by roughly chopping the basil. Then add in the garlic and continue to chop. Then add in the walnuts and keep chopping until all of the ingredient are very finely chopped and are the consistency of a paste. 
  • Place the mixture into a small bowl and add the lemon juice, zest and the olive oil and whisk together. Cover and set aside until you're ready to assemble the sliders. 

Prepare and cook the vegetables:

  • Depending on what vegetables you are using, you'll want to prepare them by de-seeding, and slicing into think slices. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Using a grill pan (or a cast iron pan if you do not have a grill pan), heat up a tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium heat and then add the vegetables.  You want to cook them for about 10 minutes on each side. Once they're browned on each side, remove and set aside. 
  • Then, cook the onions. Add the remaining tablespoon of grapeseed oil and cook the onions over medium heat until they begin to brown.  Remove and set aside with the vegetables. 

Assemble the sliders: 

  • If you would like to toast the buns (I prefer them to be a little toasted), brush the insides with a little olive oil, and place them oil side down onto a pan and cook them for 5-7 minutes over medium heat, or until the edges begin to brown. 
  • Then, assemble the sliders by slicing and stacking the vegetables so they fit nicely onto the bun. Top off with the onions, and spread the pesto on the top bun. Continue until all of the sliders are assembled.