I googled the history of sandwiches on the Internet, and to my surprise, the concept of a sandwich is attributed to Rabbi Hillel the Elder in the 1st century. He started the Passover custom of sandwiching a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, spices, and wine between two slices of matzoh to eat with bitter herbs as a reminder of the mortar used in building blocks for the pyramids and the bitterness of Jewish slaves under Pharoah. This was long before the Earl of Sandwich, the person that I thought created this interesting combination of bread with some kind of filling between the bread. Thus, the sandwich is more than 2000 years old.
Of course, sandwiches are quite varied now. We have wraps and hoagies and stuffed pita sandwiches, all of which involve some kind of grain with other food “stuffed” inside. This could be egg salad, cheese, slices of meat, or roasted veggies. Almost every restaurant has some variation of the two slices of bread with something “sandwiched” in between the bread.
Below are some of my sandwich recipes with photos. I was not pleased with the photo of the sandwich itself, because showing the sandwich put together was hard to display. Thus, sometimes you will see a picture of the recipe before it was wrapped or covered with the top slice of bread. Also, many of the veggies are the same in each sandwich, because I used the ones that are now in season. Feel free to vary with the season.
Be creative with your sandwiches, or as the title implies, be crafty with your choices of grains (gluten-free are now readily available) and fillings. At the end of the recipes are some additional sandwich ideas from my book The Whole Foods Experience. Also, feel free to send me your own ideas for ‘Wichcraft. Finally, you might want to check out the Environmental Working Group’s website for a list of pesticides in produce. Go to www.ewg.org and check out their ideas for healthy lunches.
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and mashed with a fork
2-3 slices of organic cucumber
lettuce and/or sprouts
Sprouted Ezekiel bread or your choice of bread
1. Wash and slice organic cucumber thinly and set aside. (Peel if the skin is tough or the cucumber is not organic.)
2. Wash lettuce leaf and dry. Remove sprouts from their container.
3. Cut avocado in half; remove skin and pit; scoop out flesh. Mash with a fork. (Replace pit in other half and squirt on some lemon juice to retard oxidation before covering and replacing in ‘frig.)
4. To assemble. Spread avocado on one slice of the bread or divide avocado mash in half and place some on each slice. Add cucumber slices and lettuce and/or sprouts. Gently place one slice on top of the other and cut in half to enjoy.
Variation: Add sliced, organic tomatoes if still in season.
Note: My first “real” job at 17 was as a waitress in a coffee shop. When a sandwich was made with egg salad or tuna salad and could easily get squashed which cutting it in half, the short order cook cut the top bread slice (nothing on it except perhaps mayonnaise or mustard) first before placing it on the bottom half of the sandwich. Then he only had to cut through the bottom part of the sandwich, keeping the filling intact.
Minced Veggies in Pita Bread
2 cups of any or all of the following organic veggies, minced or diced:
yellow summer squash
Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper
Lettuce leaves and/or sprouts
Whole grain pita bread, cut in half to expose pockets
1. Mince or dice veggies of your choice. This will make more than enough for your sandwich, but you can always serve the rest as a minced salad for your next meal. Or stuff four or five pita halves for a crowd.
2. Toss the veggies with a small amount of olive oil (1-2 Tablespoons), juice of 1/2 lemon, and spices to your taste.
3. Cut pita in half. (For a softer pita, steam for about 30 seconds or less.) Line the pocket with a soft lettuce leaf that has been thoroughly dried after washing. This will prevent the dressing from leaking out when you add the veggies tossed with oil and lemon juice (or your favorite dressing).
4. Stuff pita gently with minced veggie salad, about 3 or 4 Tablespoons per half. Top with sprouts and enjoy immediately!
Variation: Add one or two slices of your favorite pickle.
Sea Salad Wrap
(For purposes of viewing, the veggies are spread out. When assembling, they are all at one end. See directions.)
Seaweed is considered one of the healthiest foods because of its high mineral content. (I avoid only hijiki because of the caveat about arsenic.) Sushi is made from Nori sheets, which is what I use here. I will feature sea veggies in a future posting, but for now, you can find nori sheets in any health food store or Asian market.
one or two nori sheets
1/2 cup grated or sliced veggies, such as:
sesame oil, plum vinegar, mustard, ginger and Bragg’s Aminos or soy sauce
herbs of your choice, ex. dill (Optional)
1. Place nori sheets on a cutting board and assemble the ingredients at one end.
2. First place a leaf of thoroughly dried lettuce on the nori. Then add a small amount of grated carrots, thinly sliced avocado, cucumber, zucchini, olives, etc.
3. Whisk together about 1/4c. olive oil and a dash of plum vinegar and soy sauce, a pinch or dash of ginger (powdered. liquid, or fresh) and mustard. Pour one or two teaspoons gently onto the veggies.
4. Starting at the end with the veggies, roll the nori sheet as tightly as possible. If you wish, cut in half crosswise or eat the roll uncut soon after assembling it. (If you cut it, some of the filling may fall out unless the nori is tightly rolled.)
Blue Corn Tortillas
(The wrapped photo of this came out too dark to post, so you see it as open-faced. Just be sure to roll it gently.)
2 small (blue corn) tortillas (Feel free to use regular tortillas)
Approximate amounts of the following:
1/8 avocado, mashed or grated cheese
1 1/2 T. cooked rice
1 T. cooked beans of choice (I used black)
1 T. grated carrot
1 T. chopped onion or leek
slice of tomato
sliced olives and pickles (optional)
garlic, cumin, hot pepper flakes to taste
1. Steam pita for 30 seconds if you don’t like it cold.
2. Place cooked rice and beans near the edge. Add on other veggies and spices and roll gently.
3. Eat immediately!
(One half is with cheese. I left it open-faced so you could see the colors and ingredients better.)
One Country Wheat Baguette (Whole Foods) or hoagie/hero bread of choice
One small eggplant, cut lengthwise in thin slices
Olive oil, salt & pepper for eggplant
Roasted red peppers or roasted tomatoes (Also Whole Foods)
Pickles and Olives
Cheese (Dairy or non-dairy)
Tahini or mustard or mayonnaise
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and slice eggplant in thin slices. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt (optional). Place in oven and bake about 5 minutes and then turn the eggplant and turn up to broil. Watch carefully and remove when the edges are crisp, perhaps only 5 minutes. (Depends on how thinly you sliced the eggplant.)
2. Cut bread lengthwise to expose two open slices. (I also cut the baguette in half to make 2 hoagies.)
3. Spread with tahini, mayo, or mustard.
4. Layer on the roasted peppers or tomatoes, olives, pickles, and cheese slices, if using.
5. Place top half of hoagie onto filled half and enjoy. If not already cut in half crosswise, do so carefully. (See note on first recipe about slicing a filled sandwich.)
Other Sandwich Ideas, mostly from my book The Whole Foods Experience. Remember, these can be made on any bread you like, and if you are allergic to wheat or on a totally gluten-free diet, check out the gluten-free flax bread at Whole Foods. The rice breads crumble and some of the others are also not great for slicing. More information will be coming when I do a gluten-free posting.
1. Natural nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, pistachio, soy, etc.) without sugar, hydrogenated oils, or preservatives) with grated carrots on whole grain bread.
2. Egg salad or tuna salad or tofuna salad (See Salads in Kitchen Nutritrion Index) stuffed into a lettuce-lined pita pocket bread.
3. Apple butter (no added sugar), sliced ripe banana on cracked whole wheat.
4. Cream cheese or Yogurt cheese (See Kitchen Nutrition Index) and honey on date nut bread or a pumpernickel bagel.
5. Natural cheese (dairy or non-dairy), sliced tomatoes, mustard, and sprouts on rye bread.
6. Hoomus (chick pea spread), cucumber, and grated carrots on a whole wheat bun or stuffed into pita pocket bread.
7. Banana slices, nut butter, and fruit-sweetened jam on oatmeal bread or flaxseed bread.
8. Slivers of ripe avocado, roasted red pepper, cucumber and sprouts on whole grain hoagie roll, baguette or kaiser roll. (Similar to recipe above.)
9. Tahini, honey, and wheat germ on challah. (Jewish braided bread)
10. Black bean dip (in salsa section), onion, sliced tomato on corn bread.