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recipes to upgrade your sandwich. a chickpea salad wrap.

Who doesn’t love a sandwich? If you’re looking for a simple, pack-and-go lunch, it’s hard to beat this classic fare займ на любую карту . But if you’ve been relying on the standard ham on white bread, your sandwich game might be due for a nutritional upgrade.

These flavorful recipes are made with whole-food ingredients and plenty of plants, so you can enjoy a tasty sammie that’s good for you, too.

Building a good sandwich starts at the grocery store. Check out “Bread Basics” at the end of this article for tips on choosing a great loaf, or turn to page 85 for some of our favorite gluten-free breads and wraps.

Chickpea “Tuna” Salad Wraps

chickpea salad wraps

Makes two servings | Prep time 5 minutes | Assembly time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large celery rib, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 sheet nori, chopped
  • 1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 10-in. sprouted-grain tortillas (or gluten-free tortillas of choice)
  • 2 cups arugula

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the drained chickpeas and the celery, red onion, dill, and nori.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, mustard, and salt. Add the yogurt mixture to the chickpea mixture and stir to mix well.
  3. Place a tortilla on each of two plates. Scoop about a cup of the chickpea salad into the middle of each tortilla, top with a cup of arugula, and then fold in the sides and roll up. Serve immediately, or wrap tightly in wax paper and serve within two days.

Chia-Seed Jam and Nut-Butter Sandwiches

homemade raspberry chia seed jam toast topped with bananas

Makes four servings | Prep time 15 minutes, plus two hours for the jam to chill | Assembly time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tbs. chia seeds
  • 8 slices sprouted-grain bread or bread of choice
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter or nut butter of choice (make your own with this recipe)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 large bananas

Directions

  1. Start the jam at least two hours ahead of serving. Place the raspberries in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to keep the berries from sticking to the pot. Once the berries are bubbling, add the maple syrup and ginger. Continue to cook, stirring the jam to encourage it to break down, for about 30 seconds.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chia seeds. Let cool, then transfer to a jar and refrigerate until jelled, about two hours.
  3. Toast the bread, then spread four of the slices with 3 tablespoons apiece of nut butter. Sprinkle a tablespoon of walnuts over the nut butter, then dollop 3 tablespoons of the chia jam over the nuts. Peel and slice the bananas, then distribute banana slices over the chia jam, and top with another slice of toast.
  4. Serve immediately, or store wrapped in wax paper or in a glass container to enjoy for lunch.

Note: This recipe will make more chia-seed jam than you need for four sandwiches. Store the extra in the fridge for up to a week.

White Bean and Fontina Pan Bagnat

This recipe is a vegetarian spin on a traditional French sandwich. Pan bagnat translates loosely to “bathed bread.” Pressing the sandwich and refrigerating it before serving will soften the bread and allow the ingredients to meld.

white bean fontina sandwich

Makes six servings | Prep time 10 minutes | Assembly time 10 minutes, plus up to two hours for optional chilling

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 small radishes, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 4 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 crusty whole-grain bread loaf, unsliced (standard size)

Directions

  1. Put the drained beans, radishes, olives, cheese, and basil in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt, and red-pepper flakes. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and combine, stirring firmly to break up some of the beans. Let marinate at room temperature while you slice the bread.
  2. Slice the loaf horizontally into three pieces, making the top and bottom pieces about an inch thick. Save the middle piece for another use. Carefully scoop or tear out about half an inch along the center of both the top and bottom pieces, creating channels for the filling.
  3. Place the bottom piece on a 14-inch length of wax paper.
  4. Pile the filling into the channel, then place the top piece on it and press closed. Wrap tightly with the wax paper. Once it’s wrapped, press down on it with your hands or place a cutting board on top to compress it slightly. If desired, place in the refrigerator with a weight on top for 20 minutes to two hours.
  5. Slice the loaf into six portions and insert a toothpick into each sandwich to hold it together. Serve at room temperature.

Mushroom “Bacon,” Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

vegetarian "blt"

Makes four servings | Prep time 30 minutes | Assembly time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbs. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2–3 tbs. coconut oil, for pans
  • 8 slices ancient-grain bread (or bread of choice)
  • 1/2 cup vegan or other mayo (make your own mayo with this recipe)
  • 1 small head Bibb or butter lettuce, leaves washed and dried
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Use a sharp knife or mandoline to slice the mushrooms as thinly as possible. Place in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, tamari, salt, and paprika, then pour the mixture over the mushrooms and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Spread coconut oil over two sheet pans. Add the sliced mushrooms, spreading them out so each slice is flat on the pan.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, using a spatula to turn the slices halfway through cooking time. When the slices are shrunken and feel firm but pliable, remove them from the oven — they will become crisper as they cool slightly.
  5. Toast the bread, then place four slices on a cutting board. Spread with 1 tablespoon of mayo per slice. Cover the mayo with the shiitake “bacon,” then lettuce and tomato. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayo on each of the remaining bread slices and put them on top. Serve immediately, or store wrapped in wax paper or in a glass container to enjoy at lunch.

Veggie Grilled Cheese

sauted veggie sandwich

Makes four servings | Prep time 30 minutes | Cook time 5 minutes

  • 4 cups broccoli florets cut into 1/2-x-1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, split lengthwise
  • 8 oz. jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained (or 1 large fresh pepper, roasted, seeded, and peeled)
  • 8 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 8 slices sourdough bread (or bread of choice)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Avocado oil (or other neutral oil) for the pan

Ingredients

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the broccoli on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil, and toss to coat. Spread the broccoli evenly over the pan.
  2. Roast the broccoli for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Turn the florets with a spatula, then sprinkle with the garlic and roast for 10 minutes longer. Remove and let cool.
  3. Place the drained roasted peppers on a clean kitchen towel and pat dry, then chop and place in a large bowl. Add the broccoli, cheese, and salt and toss to mix.
  4. For each sandwich, spread 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise on one side of a piece of bread, place mayo side down on a cutting board, and scoop 1 cup of the broccoli filling onto the bread, distributing it evenly.
  5. Spread 1/2 tablespoon mayo on a second slice of bread and place it, mayo side up, on top of the filling. Repeat with remaining bread and filling.
  6. Heat a large pan over medium heat and brush with avocado oil. Place two sandwiches in the pan, not touching, and cover the pan for about two minutes. Uncover the pan and flip the sandwiches; they should be golden brown. Cook for about two minutes longer, then serve.

Tip: There are two tricks to the perfect grilled cheese: Use grated cheese for easier melting, and coat the bread with mayonnaise instead of butter for a golden-brown exterior.

Avocado Toast Three Ways

three avocado toasts

Makes six servings (two of each version) | Prep time 10 minutes (for the raspberry and balsamic version) | Assembly time 10 minutes

Salmon and Capers

  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 4 slices sprouted-grain bread, toasted
  • 2 slices lox (about 1 oz.), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tsp. capers, drained

Directions

  1. Halve the avocado, twist out the pit, and use a paring knife to slice the flesh thinly in the shell. Use a spoon to scoop out the slices, and distribute the slices over each piece of toast.
  2. Top each with a few pieces of fish, a few slices of onion, and a teaspoon of capers.

Radish and Microgreens

  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 4 slices sprouted-grain bread, toasted
  • 1 small watermelon radish, or two red radishes, thinly sliced
  • Himalayan pink salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup microgreens

Directions

  1. Halve the avocado, twist out the pit, and use a paring knife to slice the flesh thinly in the shell. Use a spoon to scoop out the slices, and distribute the slices over each piece of toast.
  2. Place the radish slices on top of the avocado, sprinkle with salt, and top with the microgreens.

Raspberry and Balsamic

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 4 slices sprouted-grain bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Directions

  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat as needed to maintain a strong simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.
  2. Halve the avocado, twist out the pit, and use a paring knife to slice the flesh thinly in the shell. Use a spoon to scoop out the slices, and distribute the slices over each piece of toast.
  3. Top with raspberries and drizzle with a few drops of balsamic syrup just before serving. Keep leftover balsamic reduction in the fridge for up to a week.

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Bread Basics

Read Labels. Ingredients are listed by volume: largest amounts to smallest. Look for breads that list 100 percent whole-grain or sprouted flours first — these breads contain more fiber than those with enriched or refined flours, which lose nutrients during the milling process. Avoid breads with added sugars or vegetable oils, like soybean or canola, which are often high in inflammatory omega-6 fats.

Go Back in Time. Breads made with “ancient grains” or “heritage wheat” contain unhybridized, unrefined grains. Ancient grains include millet, barley, teff, quinoa, and rice, as well as the grandparents of modern wheat: emmer, einkorn, Kamut, and spelt. Heritage wheats are newer, bred from ancient wheats but predating modern hybridized wheat.

Breads using ancient grains or heritage wheat contain more protein, fiber, and other vital nutrients than your standard loaf, and they may even be easier to digest.

Seek Sprouted Grains. Sprouted grains have been soaked and allowed to sprout, breaking down starches and deactivating their phytic acid — so the grain becomes more digestible and the nutrients are easier for your body to absorb.

Consider Sourdough. When sourdough ferments, the wild yeasts and bacteria in the sourdough starter break down some of the sugars and proteins in the flour, leaving behind beneficial lactic acid, lowering the glycemic impact, and making nutrients more absorbable and the bread itself easier to digest. (Try making your own with this starter recipe.)

Go for Gluten-Free. If you’re avoiding gluten altogether, look for products that are certified gluten-free (GF). Many GF breads and tortillas are made with ancient-grain flours, like rice or millet. You can also find grain-free options that use coconut or even cauliflower flour. The same rules apply: Avoid products made with refined versions of these flours or ones that contain added sugars.

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This article originally appeared as “Step Up Your Sandwich” in the September 2022 issue of Experience Life.

Photos: Terry Brennan; Food Styling: Betsy Nelson
Robin
Robin Asbell

Robin Asbell is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer and cookbook author.

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