I was flipping through Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook, and this sandwich caught my eye.  It was just what I was looking for – an Italian themed sandwich for a picnic lunch.  I served it with some colorful tomatoes, veggie chips, and fresh fruit… and voila, a gourmet lunch in a snap.

The most time-consuming part of Ina’s recipe is roasting the red peppers.  Not only does roasting them take 30-40 minutes, but then you have to let them cool before you peel them.  Trader Joe’s sells ready-to-eat jarred roasted bell peppers, and using the ready-made version cuts out more than 1 hour of prep time from this recipe.  These roasted peppers taste great right out of the jar and are wonderful in all kinds of sandwiches, salads, or pasta dishes, so I always keep some on hand.I omitted red onions that were in Ina’s original recipe, because I’m not a fan of raw onions, but you can add them.  If you can’t get fresh basil, you could try spreading on some pesto, also available ready-made at Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section; they also have a jarred version, but we prefer the refrigerated one.

My husband, who is prone to ask, “Where’s the beef?” whenever I serve a vegetarian entreé, was pleasantly surprised at how satisfying this sandwich was.  This is the type of fancy sandwich you’d expect to see at a gourmet cafe, and it takes just minutes to make!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwich

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home)

Ingredients for each sandwich

  • Baguette or other crusty bread
  • 1-2 pieces Fire Roasted Red or Yellow Bell Peppers
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Slice baguette open and toast if desired.
  2. Spread goat cheese on one side and balsamic vinegar on the other.  Add a layer of roasted red peppers and a layer of basil leaves.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  4. Close sandwich and serve.