Italian Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto-Cheese Sauce

I save calories in this sandwich by removing the interior from the loaf of bread and leaving the crust intact. The filling of chicken with vegetables, pesto-cheese sauce and shredded lettuce makes this a unique and delicious sandwich.

1. To make the pesto-cheese sauce, combine the pesto, mayonnaise, ricotta, cream cheese and goat cheese in a food processor and purée until smooth.

2. Cut the loaf of bread in half horizontally and pull out as much of the bread as possible, leaving only the crust.

3. In a nonstick grill pan or skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, cook the chicken breast just until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Cool, then slice thinly.

4. Spread the pesto-cheese sauce over both the bottom and the top half of the loaf. Layer the bottom half with the chicken, roasted red pepper strips, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, olives, salt and pepper. Top with the top half of the loaf and cut into 6 sandwiches.

2 Tbsp pesto
2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1/3 cup light ricotta (5%)
3 Tbsp light cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 1 1/2 oz)
1 whole Italian round loaf of bread (about 1 1/4 lb; about 12 inches across
8 oz skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts), pounded flat
1 roasted red pepper, thinly sliced (see page 100)
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced and seeded
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup chopped black olives
pinch of salt and pepper

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (1 sandwich)

Calories 345
Protein 17 g
Fat 8.3 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Carbohydrates 53 g
Cholesterol 20 mg
Sodium 560 mg
Fiber 4.5 g

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare the sandwich early in the day wrap tightly and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8

Nutrition Watch: If you hollow out the bread by 75%, you reduce the amount of calories and carbohydrates and have a different and unique new sandwich, one that’s much healthier for you.