08/20/2012 01:36 EDT | Updated 10/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Lemon and walnut aioli perks up seasonal grilled vegetable sandwiches

Grilled veggies may never have tasted so good thanks to a walnut aioli that adds flavour and protein. Delicately balanced spices and herbs lend an earthy aroma and mouthwatering flavours to every bite.

The lemon walnut aioli tastes great with grilled chicken and also can be used as a burger spread or vegetable dip.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Lemon Walnut Aioli

250 ml (1 cup) walnuts, toasted

30 ml (2 tbsp) Dijon mustard

30 ml (2 tbsp) tahini

30 ml (2 tbsp) mayonnaise

1 lemon, juiced

Vegetable Sandwich

1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1-cm (1/2-inch) coins

1 small eggplant, cut in 1-cm (1/2-inch) slices

1 orange pepper, sliced in strips

4 small tomatoes, sliced in half

1 onion, sliced 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick

60 ml (4 tbsp) olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper, to taste

8 slices sourdough bread

1 clove garlic

Handful fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (optional)

Lemon Aioli: In a food processor, place walnuts, Dijon, tahini, mayonnaise and lemon juice; pulse into a chunky paste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss zucchini, eggplant, pepper, tomatoes and onion with 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the olive oil, salt and pepper and grill to desired doneness.

Brush bread with remaining oil and lightly grill on both sides. Rub each slice of bread gently with garlic.

Spoon 15 ml (1 tbsp) of aioli on 2 slices of bread and place one-quarter of the grilled vegetables between the slices. Repeat with remaining bread and vegetables.

Garnish sandwiches with basil leaves, if desired.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Nutrition information per serving: 714 calories; 16 g protein; 45 g fat (6 g saturated fat); 67 g carbohydrate; 9 g fibre; 3 mg cholesterol; 971 mg sodium.

To toast walnuts: Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently. To toast on stovetop: Cook walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Source: California Walnuts,