As promised, more tailgate food. Although, I suppose these sliders are not just for tailgates, as they would be just as good at a backyard barbecue…or anytime you have access to a grill really. Easy to mass produce and quick to make, these are perfect to serve when expecting a crowd…and they disappear quickly.
My family was checking out a new ‘country store’ that opened down the street a few weeks ago. It has a large aisle full of spices, in which, of course, I spent way too much time. I saw the powdered horseradish and knew immediately what I wanted to do with it. I love how the aioli came out, creamy and garlicy with a bit of a horsey kick (I know, I’m lame, but still laughing at my dumb joke anyway). It pairs very well with the eggplant. The slider itself is very plain…bread, arugula, eggplant, aioli. It’s not topped with a whole lot of stuff, simply because it doesn’t need it.
I recommend grilling only one side of each piece of bread. I love a toasted sandwich, but hate when it is overdone, which is easy to do when toasting both sides of a thinly sliced french bread. It can feel like eating a sandwich between to crostinis, not what I’m going for here. By toasting one side, you get the crispness on one side, but the other stays nice and soft and warm.
Mayo or Miracle Whip? Everyone has their own opinion. Vegan mayo is no different. Different brands can taste completely different, in fact for years I thought I didn’t like vegan mayo. Every one I tried I didn’t care for. Until I found ‘the one’. I love Earth Balance Olive Oil Mayo and almost never use anything different. The kind of mayo you choose really really makes a difference. Choose wisely.
I included my own basting sauce recipe, but you can probably use a variety of different sauces depending on what you prefer. I’ve used bottled barbecue sauce in a pinch. Just as long as it pairs with the aioli, you’re good. Happy grilling!
- 1 french baguette
- 1 cup arugala
- 2 baby eggplants
Eggplant Basting Sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ⅛ cup soy sauce
- ⅛ cup water
- ½ tablespoon roasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon agave nectar
- ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch salt
Garlic Horseradish Aioli
- ¾ cup vegan mayo (I use Earth Balance Olive Oil Mayo)
- ⅛ cup non dairy milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons horseradish powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon tumeric
- pinch salt
1. Combine all ingredients for the eggplant basting sauce in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
2. Combine all the ingredients for the aioli in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
3. Wash the baby eggplant and trim off the tops and bottoms. Cut 1/2 inch steaks. Repeat for the second eggplant. Each eggplant should yield approximately five 1/2 inch steaks.
4. Slice the baguette into twenty 1/2 inch thick slices.
5. Lubricate the grill with sesame oil and heat to medium high. Place the eggplant steaks on the grill and generously brush with the basting sauce. Flip the steaks and generously baste the other side. Flip and baste every few minutes until the steak is done. It will be softened, but not mushy, and have crisp dark grill marks. Meanwhile, lightly toast one side of the bread on the grill.
6. Place a dollop of aioli on each of the non-toasted sides of two slices of bread. To assemble the slider, place one slice of bread toasted side down, top with the arugula, eggplant, and the other slice of bread. Repeat for the remaining nine sliders. Skewer the sliders with a fun or decorative toothpick. Serve on a platter with the remaining aioli for dipping.
(Makes 10 sliders)
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista. Can’t wait to hear from you!