Spice up lunch with summer sandwiches

Use herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits to update traditional favorites and bring new life to noon meals

    We’re almost halfway through the summer, and it may be time to shake up your lunchtime routine.
    Instead of the same old sandwiches, how about a few new recipes to give an infusion of flavor to your lunchtime meals.
    As fresh produce becomes more available, try a few sandwiches that highlight the tastes of the season.
    It doesn’t take much to transform the most basic of sandwiches, whether you’re making a cold sammy or a hot one.
    After all, the basic sandwich is simple — two slices of bread, perhaps a little butter or mayonnaise, and a filling of meat or cheese or a homemade spread, traditionally an egg, chicken or tuna salad.
    But by using herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, nuts and other ingredients, and scaling back on such things as egg yolks, mayonnaise and creamy dressings, you can add variety and nutrition to your lunches.
    Instead of white bread, opt for whole-grain bread that adds full-bodied flavor and a hearty texture.
    You can also change up the taste of your lunch by using tortillas or pita pockets instead of bread.
    If you’re bringing the sandwich to work, remember to keep the sandwich cold until lunchtime. Use small freezer cold packs or frozen juice boxes to keep the meal cool.
    To keep the bread from getting soggy, place mayonnaise in a separate container and spread it on the slices just before eating.
    Instead of potato chips, enclose a container filled with slices of fruit or vegetables — maybe with a healthy dip — to round out the meal.
    Following are sandwich recipes from thekitchn.com.



Summer Vegetables Sub Sandwich With Garlic Cream Cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf soft French bread (not baguette)
1 12-ounce jar whole pimento or roasted red peppers, well drained
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 medium English or hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
1 12-ounce jar quartered and marinated artichokes hearts, well drained
1-1/2 ounces baby spinach

    Mash cream cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small bowl with a fork until combined.
    Slice the French loaf horizontally almost all the way through. Open the bread and spread the cream cheese mixture onto both cut sides. On the bottom half of the bread, layer the vegetables evenly in this order — pimentos or roasted red peppers, tomato, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and spinach.
    Close the bread and cut crosswise into four sandwiches. Tightly wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
    Makes four sandwiches.


Best-Ever California Sandwich

1/2 medium English cucumber, thinly sliced
4 medium carrots
2 medium beefsteak or vine tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 medium avocados
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 slices multigrain sandwich bread
8 tablespoons hummus
8 slices provolone cheese
1 cup alfalfa or clover sprouts

    Peel the carrots, then grate on the large holes of a box grater.
    Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil and kosher salt, then mash until the avocado is smooth.
    Toast the bread. Place four slices on a work surface and spread two tablespoons hummus on each. Top each with two slices provolone cheese. Divide sprouts over the cheese. Divide the tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots over the sprouts.
    Spread the mashed avocado onto the remaining bread slices. Place avocado-side down over the carrots to close the sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half with a serrated knife and serve.
    This sandwich is best eaten soon after it is assembled.
    Makes four sandwiches.


Pressed Broccoli Rabe and Mozzarella Sandwiches

Kosher salt
12 ounces broccoli rabe, tough stems discarded, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and finely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons drained brined capers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 sandwich rolls, split
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

    Pour water into a large saucepan to fill about one inch and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a large pinch of salt and then the broccoli rabe. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 seconds, until bright green and slightly wilted.
    Drain broccoli rabe in a colander, wipe the pot dry and return it to high heat. Add two tablespoons oil, garlic and red pepper flakes and stir about 15 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Immediately add the drained broccoli rabe and a large pinch of salt and cook about three minutes, stirring, until the broccoli rabe is coated with the garlicky oil and is a little softer. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
    Place olives, capers, vinegar, remaining oil and a small pinch of salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place rolls, cut-side up, on a work surface and evenly distribute the olive mixture among the rolls, putting some on both halves of each roll. Divide mozzarella and broccoli rabe evenly among the rolls. Close the rolls and tightly wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap.
    Place something flat and heavy, such as a large cast-iron skillet, on top of the sandwiches and let sit at least an hour before eating.
    Makes four sandwiches.


Ranch Chicken Wraps

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
4 pocketless pitas, flatbreads, or naan
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
1 large tomato, cut into 8 slices

    Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, chives, parsley and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper as needed, then set aside.
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper and sauté five to seven minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the heat and toss with two tablespoons ranch dressing.
    Lay one lettuce leaf and two slices tomato on one half of each pita. Evenly divide the chicken among the pitas. Drizzle with more ranch dressing, fold in half and serve.
    These sandwiches are best made and eaten immediately.
    Makes four wraps.


Mozzacado Sandwich

4 thick slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1 medium avocado
1 small ripe tomato
4 thick slices whole-milk mozzarella
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    Smash pitted avocado with a little salt and pepper. Spread a thick layer of smashed avocado on the warm bread. Layer the cheese with the basil and tomato over the avocado.
    Makes two sandwiches.


Salmon and Kale Caesar Wraps

5 cups shredded kale
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
2 6-ounce cans wild salmon, drained
4 large flour tortillas

    Place kale, Parmesan and Caesar dressing in a large bowl and toss until the leaves are evenly coated with dressing. Add salmon, using a fork to break it into flakes, and toss to combine.
    Place one tortilla on a clean work surface. Spread a quarter of the filling horizontally, slightly below the center of the tortilla. Roll tightly by folding the sides over the filling, then rolling from the bottom up. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Serve immediately.
    Makes four sandwiches.


Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped fermented pickles
1 medium stalk celery, finely diced
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices multigrain bread
Arugula, for topping
Sliced tomato, for topping

    Drain and rinse one can chickpeas. Place about half of the chickpeas in a large bowl and mash completely with a fork. Add the remaining chickpeas. Add diced red onion, pickles and celery.
    Add shredded carrots, Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, ground turmeric, kosher salt and a few grinds black pepper. Stir to combine.
    Divide chickpea salad evenly between two slices of multigrain bread, top with arugula and sliced tomatoes, then close the sandwiches with remaining bread.
    Makes two sandwiches.


One-Minute Tomato Sandwich

2 slices Ezekiel or whole-grain bread
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 medium to large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1-1/2 teaspoons large-flake salt
1 tablespoon honey

    Toast bread to the desired doneness. Spread butter evenly on both slices while they are piping hot. Place one slice on each of two plates. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the bread. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the honey. Serve immediately.
    Makes two sandwiches.





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