Tomato, pesto, and almond ricotta sandwiches on homemade sourdough ciabatta

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

My sister got me this amazing cutting board for my birthday, which was Wednesday. I'm in love!

My parents are my source of summer tomatoes, and they are having a squirrel problem. They have around 60 tomato plants growing in their back yard - in addition to the cucumbers, peppers, Brussels sprouts, herbs of all kinds, pumpkins, and probably more. They have grown tomatoes for the last 3 or 4 years, but this is the first time the squirrels have found them. This has been highly distressing to my mother, who tried to enlist my dog to scare away the squirrels, but they have been very clever. The point is, I had better enjoy the tomatoes my parents send my way while they last, because they may not have much of a surplus for long.

This sandwich is the perfect way to savor some of those tomatoes, as well as the basil they have growing in large bushes. I have always loved the classic tomato-basil-mozzarella on ciabatta. This amps up the basil flavor in a pesto, and while there are a few vegan mozzarellas that I love, anyone can make this almond ricotta and it's so good that I can eat it with a spoon. The extra pesto and almond ricotta are also great sauces for pasta or dips for crackers, combined or alone!

60% whole wheat sourdough ciabatta sandwich rolls

Ingredients (makes 6 rolls):

80g sourdough starter (fed)

300g water

160g bread or all purpose flour

240g whole wheat flour (I used fresh milled hard white wheat berries)

9g salt

  1. Whisk the starter into the water until full combined. Add the flour and salt and combine until it makes a wet dough.

  2. In 30 minutes, use a spatula to gently mix and stretch the dough. Repeat again after an additional 30 minutes. Leave to bulk rise overnight, or at least 16 hours.

  3. After the bulk rise, generously flour your work surface. Dump the dough and flatten into a rectangle about 1.25 inches thick. Use a metal bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into 6 rectangular rolls, as shown below.

  4. Separate the rolls, place on floured parchment paper, generously dust with flour, and cover with a kitchen towel to proof for 1.5 hours.

  5. When there is 30 minutes remaining on the proofing time, preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with a cookie sheet on the top rack and a dish pan or cast iron skillet on the bottom rack.

  6. When the rolls have been proofing for 1.5 hours, uncover, and carefully remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Lift the parchment paper that the rolls are on and place on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet back in the oven.

  7. Pour about 2 cups of water into the hot pan below the rolls and close the oven door. This will create steam that helps to get a chewy crust on the ciabatta.

  8. Bake the rolls at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until just barely golden.

  9. Cool the rolls completely before cutting.

Basil pesto


1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tbsp)

1/4 cup walnuts

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

2 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup vegan parmesan or 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor until well combined. Taste for salt.

Almond ricotta


1 cup of sliced or slivered almonds with no skins, soaked overnight or at least 6 hours

1/4 to 1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I used oat milk)

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tbsp, use the extra lemon from the pesto)

1 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined, and has the consistency of ricotta. Start with 1/4 cup of nondairy milk, and add more 1 tbsp at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. Feel free to re-use the blender from the pesto, or vice versa, without washing.

Sandwich assembly

The best part! Slice your ciabatta roll in half. Spoon a ge

nerous portion of almond ricotta on one side, and top with basil pesto or spread on the other side of the roll. Add however many and whatever type of chopped tomatoes you like. Enjoy!

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