Warm veggie hoagies

Herbed fresh tomato-carrot soup
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Makes 2 sandwiches (2 servings)

Heating these sandwiches in the microwave makes the buns soft; for a crusty texture, individually wrap the sandwiches in foil and heat them in a 350° F oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is crusty. To serve a crowd, multiply this recipe by 4 and substitute a loaf of Italian bread for the poor boy buns, then slice into sections for serving.

For the spread

2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, minced

Dash of freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Dash of red pepper flakes, or to taste

Salt to taste

For the bread

Two 6- to 8-inch poor boy (hoagie) buns, halved horizontally

For the filling

1 tomato, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

Dash of salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper

Two 1/8-inch-thick slices red onion, separated into rings (optional)

½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms

¼ green bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch-wide strips

½ cup (about 2 ounces) coarsely shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup sliced ripe olives

1 cup finely shredded lettuce

To make the spread, stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To prepare the bread, spread the cut sides of the buns with pesto-mayonnaise mixture.

To assemble each sandwich, atop the spread on the bottom half of a bun, layer half of the filling ingredients in the order listed. Close the sandwich, spread side down, fasten with long sandwich picks, and halve diagonally.

To heat, place the sandwiches between 2 paper towels in the microwave. Heat on high for 1 minute, or until the buns are warmed and the vegetables are still crunchy. (Heating for longer will make the buns soggy.)

Advance preparation

These sandwiches can be assembled up to 2 hours before serving; wrap them in plastic and refrigerate. Heat just before serving.