Now, I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things to do with delicious whole grain and sprouted grain breads is create an amazing sandwich! The combination of breads, meats, cheeses and condiments has been going on for a very long time, and food historians attribute the creation of what we call a "sandwich" to an English bloke named John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (love the name!). He was a gambler and, as the story goes, while on a gambling spree in 1762, he told his cook to prepare his food so that it would not interfere with his game. The genius cook served him some cooked meat between two pieces of toast - that way he could eat with one hand and gamble with the other. Unfortunately, no one got the name of that very creative cook!
With kids heading back to school and the rest of us heading out of our summer vacations and back to work, packing a sandwich for lunch seems like a perfect fit right about now. But remember: a great sandwich doesn't just belong to lunch! It can make a hearty breakfast or a light supper.
But, like just about any favorite dish, a sandwich can be really good for you, or not so good at all. Here are some ideas for building a healthy, delicious sandwich.
First, choose your bread. Go for whole grain options such as:
- Whole wheat or spelt tortillas
- Whole wheat or spelt English muffins
- Sprouted grain breads
- Whole wheat baguette
- Whole wheat, spelt, or sprouted whole grain pita bread
- Sourdough whole wheat or rye bread
- Pumpernickel bread
- Seeded whole grain bread
- Oatmeal bread
Now, choose your filling:
- Hummus (there are so many varieties)
- Baba Ghanouj
- Bean spreads
- Marinated baked tofu or tempeh
- Smoked salmon
- Shrimp salad made with just a little good quality mayonnaise or vinaigrette dressing
- Tuna, egg, or chicken salad made with less mayonnaise. Instead, stir in a little hummus or Greek yogurt. Delicious!
- Nut and seed butters such as tahini, almond, all-natural peanut, cashew, macadamia or sunflower
- Nitrate-free deli meats such as turkey breast, roast beef or ham
- Canadian bacon or turkey bacon
- Sliced cooked chicken or turkey sausages
Next, choose one or more flavorful condiments.
- Good quality mustard such as Dijon, spicy, German, etc.
- Good quality mayonnaise made from natural, expeller pressed oils
- Low fat cream cheese
- Ricotta or cottage cheese - be sure to season if desired (salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, etc)
- A smidgen of olive tapenade
- Caper, garlic slivers and your favorite salad dressing (not too heavy, now!)
And now it's time to pile on the veggies and/or the fruit. Remember, lettuce and tomato are fine but there are many other wonderful options! Here's where you start:
- Go a bit more exotic and reach for some arugula, baby spinach, watercress and sprouts - pair with cooked veggies such as roasted peppers or Portobello mushrooms, or pair with hummus or cheese
- Try some sliced cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms and bell peppers with cheese, deli meat, bean spreads and hummus spread
- Roasted red, green, yellow and orange peppers - try these with olive tapenade, arugula and melted Swiss
- Sliced apples and pears - delicious with almond butter
- Sliced strawberries -try them with cream cheese, cottage or ricotta cheese
- Sliced peaches, plums and nectarines - great with cheese, ham or smoked turkey
- Pineapple - great with ham!
- Add some slivered onions, sundried tomatoes and fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro and dill to just about any sandwich.
Like a specific recipe? Here are some:
- Show your family some TLC with a healthy TLC Sandwich - Tofu, Lettuce and Cucumber. It's a fun twist on a BLT that is unbelievably yummy, with easy homemade salty, smoky tofu "bacon."
- Make a breakfast sandwich with a sliced boiled egg and a couple slices of turkey bacon, or some warmed vegetarian refried beans and some avocado slices. Here's a delicious Pineapple Breakfast Sandwich and here's a Waffle Breakfast Sandwich (be sure to use whole grain waffles!).
- Next time you fire up the grill, throw on some marinated Portobello mushrooms; they make a great, flavorful sandwich with tomatoes, a little cheese and some dark green baby spinach or arugula. Here's an idea for a Portobello Mushroom Supper Sandwich.
- Make a grilled cheese sandwich but get exotic: try some Manchego cheese from Spain or some Emmenthaler from France - add some heirloom tomatoes and fresh green salad for an amazing lunch! Here's the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
- Fruit can make a delicious sandwich. I love peanut butter with ripe nectarines and pears with toasted almond butter. Here's an idea for Apple and Tempeh Sandwiches and an idea for an Apple Tahini Sandwich.
- Need a good snack? Here are some wonderful snack sandwich ideas:
- A good tuna sandwich is a must! Here's a Tangy Curry Tuna Salad Sandwich.
Got a favorite sandwich? I'd love to hear you rave about your fave!