Wine Country Recipe: Open-Faced Avocado Sandwiches with Arugula Pesto and Crisp Cucumber

September 16th, 2014

CA Open-Faced Avocado Sandwich(c)Wine Institute & M.Armendariz

The mellow, nutty flavor of avocado contrasts deliciously with the peppery snap of arugula and cool cucumber on this rustic, open-faced sandwich. Serve with your favorite dry Temecula Valley Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.


2 cups arugula leaves
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Dry Jack* cheese or other hard aged cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices French bread, lightly toasted
2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into small cubes
1 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 piece (about 2 ounces) Dry Jack cheese, for shaving

*Dry Jack refers to the aged version of this classic California cheese.


Place the arugula, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, nuts and salt into a food processor and process for ten seconds. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and process again for ten seconds. For each serving, place two pieces of toasted bread on a plate. Spread pesto generously on each slice. Cover pesto with a layer of cucumber slices and top with avocado cubes. Use a vegetable peeler to shave desired amount of Dry Jack cheese over the tops.  Serves 4.

Pair with:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Aromas of pineapple and lemon. Flavors of passion fruit and papaya.

Hart Winery ~ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.

Falkner Winery ~ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Wonderful citrus flavors of lemon and white grapefruit.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2012 Grenache Rose – Chic and stylish with peach, strawberry and tangerine notes, hints of sweet rose petals. Complex, vivacious and noble.

Recipe adapted from the Wine Institute’s recipe book:  Down to Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California


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