Celebrate National Sandwich Month with Twists on Traditional Staples



What is often synonymous with summer is a delightful, mouth-watering sandwich. There is nothing quite like biting into one’s favorite. Especially in the South, as this region is nationally renowned for providing a variety of unique and different sandwich fare. From Elvis Presley’s favorite,  now simply known as “The Elvis,” (a banana, peanut butter and bacon sandwich served on Italian white Bread), to the more American traditional staple of a B.L.T (bacon, lettuce, tomato). When it comes to the perfect season for a sandwich—summer is a perfect time for devouring one.

Considering that August is also National Sandwich Month, it is time to celebrate by adding some new sandwich ideas to your meal rotation! Worried about ruining your summer diet with “The Elvis”? There are a few quick tips for avoiding that prospect. For example, when choosing the bread for your sandwich, considering choosing a lighter bread or a bread filled with nutritional value, like whole grain. Another quick and easy healthy fix would be to load your sandwich with veggies, such as spinach, red onion, and tomato. Finally, two last easy tricks is to skip the cheese, choosing a low fat option, and always opt for lean proteins, like turkey breast or lean ham.

If you are looking to celebrate this last month of summer with a delicious new sandwich recipe for your family and friends, yet provide them with a healthy alternative, read on for five new delightful new twists on traditional sandwich recipes.

Sandwich Recipe #1: B.L.A.T.Yes, you read the right. Instead of settling for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, add a bit of zest and taste to your sandwich by adding avocado spread and sprouts to the mix. This recipe, from Eating Well Magazine, is sure to make you not reach for your usual BLT staple.

Ingredients:

8 slices center-cut bacon, halved

  • 1 ripe medium avocado
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated or minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 8 slices sprouted-wheat bread
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 slices
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts

Preparation:

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Meanwhile, mash avocado in a medium bowl. Stir in basil, mayonnaise, garlic, salt and pepper. Toast bread.
  3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the avocado mixture on 4 slices of toast. Top each with 4 pieces of bacon, 2 tomato slices, 1 lettuce leaf, ¼ cup sprouts and the remaining toast.

Recipe #2: Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Sandwich: There is nothing like a cold chicken salad sandwich on a hot summer day. Lower the calories and dial up the flavor by substituting Greek yogurt for traditional high calorie and fat mayonnaise. Try this recipe from the Damn Delicious website, and we can promise you will not miss the mayo!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices bread
  • 4 leaves Boston bibb lettuce

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, red onion, apple, grapes, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Serve sandwiches on bread with chicken mixture and lettuce.

 

Recipe #3: Grilled Broccoli and Cheese:  While most kids are not crazy about broccoli, this is a sure fire way to have them asking for it this summer. This twist on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich, this new version is an easy way to include veggies in your lunch. Try out this recipe from the Two Peas & Their Pod lifestyle website.

Ingredients:

  • Florets from 1 medium head broccoli (about 1/2 pound), chopped small
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 slices bread
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a sheet pan, mix the broccoli, oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is evenly roasted but not burnt. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.
  4. Spread butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread. Dividing the ingredients evenly, layer cheese on the unbuttered side of half of the bread slices, then add chopped broccoli in the middle and more cheese on top so that the broccoli lies between two layers of cheese. This keeps the small pieces of broccoli from falling out as the cheese melts. Top each with another slice of bread, butter side out.
  5. “Grill” in the skillet, turning sandwiches over once, until the cheese melts and the bread is evenly toasted.

 

Recipe #4: Portobello Sliders: In this recipe, portobello mushrooms substitute for traditional pulled pork. While vegetarians will take delight in this recipe, meat-lovers may also be surprised how delicious this sandwich from the One Ingredient Chef website.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 white onion
  • 1/3+ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 10 mini hamburger buns

Preparation:

  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic and add these to a saucepan with a splash of water. Allow this to brown for 5-7 minutes while finely slicing the mushrooms into thin strips. Add these to the skillet with the BBQ sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce.
  2. Allow everything to simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes. The mushrooms will reduce considerably and absorb the BBQ flavor. Since BBQ sauces can vary so much, it’s smart to give the mushrooms a taste after 30 minutes to adjust any seasonings
  3. When everything is ready, simply add the mushroom filling onto the mini buns (or full-sized hamburger buns) and serve.

 

Recipe #5: Tuscan Tuna Sandwich: In this recipe from the Half Baked Harvest website, the old-fashioned tuna sandwich is given a modern spin with “basil mayo” substituting traditional mayonnaise.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tahini (alternately you can use mayo but I don’t love mayo)
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • zest + juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 ounce cans oil packed tuna oil drained, 5
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes chopped
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread halved lengthwise
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 2 Persian cucumbers sliced
  • 4 hard boiled eggs sliced or quartered
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 4-6 ounces feta cheese crumbled

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine tahini, greek yogurt, zest + juice of 2 lemons and the olive oil until smooth and combined. Add the basil + a pinch of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to the blender or food processor and pulse once more to combine.
  2. In a medium bowl, gently combine the drained tuna with the olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. Cut the loaf of ciabatta in half lengthwise and then generously spread both halves with the basil tahini yogurt sauce. Now spread the tuna mixture over the bottom half of the ciabatta. Layer the following ingredients in a single layer: avocado, cucumber, hard boiled eggs, cabbage and arugula. Crumble the feta over the arugula and season with pepper. Add the top half of the ciabatta and gently push down on the sandwich to help it stick together.
  4. Enjoy!

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