Sandwiches are everybody’s eternal easy lunch, but they can get boring after a while. And if you’re a vegetarian, you may find it even harder to get some zip in your lunchtime routine. Don’t worry. There are plenty of options for the vegetarian sandwich lover, and many are quick and easy. With a little thought and planning, you may even be able to convert the dedicated carnivores in your family.
Start your menu planning by thinking about the most common sandwiches that use meat, and then turn them into vegetarian delights. A club sandwich? Just leave out the turkey and bacon. Add some onions and avocado strips to the usual tomato, cheese and lettuce. For a little crunch, throw in bean sprouts and cucumbers that have been marinated overnight in sugar and vinegar. Like Mexican food? A burrito is a classic Mexican sandwich, but is typically made with seasoned ground beef or shredded beat. You can do the same with grilled onions and peppers spiced with Mexican seasonings. Add lots of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Or fill with refried beans, chopped tomatoes and a pepper-jack cheese. Add a few teaspoons of sour cream, roll up tightly and savor the goodness.
A grilled cheese made on white or wheat bread with cheddar or American cheese is a classic vegetarian sandwich. Kick it up a notch by adding sliced tomatoes or onions. For a Mediterranean touch, change the bread to Italian or focaccia, add provolone cheese slices, some green, red and yellow pepper slices, a few kalamata olives and drizzle the whole thing with good olive oil, a few garlic sprinkles and some feta cheese crumbles. Serve with a salad, and you’ve got a complete Tuscany meal.
Good, fresh bread is the basis of a great sandwich. Fill a fresh baguette with anything you like, such as roasted peppers and eggplant, artichoke hearts, cheese, tomatoes, onions, avocado slices, different types of lettuce, spinach leaves, sprouts and basil leaves. Grilled veggies taste great with hummus, but try substituting fresh mint for a different and exciting new taste. If you can’t find fresh bread, take what you have and toast it.
Vary your spreads. Instead of mayonnaise or mustard, try cream cheese, Caesar dressing or olive oil infused with garlic. If you’re stuck on mayonnaise, try making your own. It’s not nearly as difficult as you might think. Simply add one egg, one and a half cups of oil, one and a half tbsp. vinegar, one tbsp. lemon juice and salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until well blended. For a spicier version, add a teaspoon of hot sauce and a teaspoon of brown mustard. Chill the mayonnaise for at least an hour.
If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast sandwich, try defrosting some frozen cinnamon apples and wrapping them in thin pancakes. Or, toast two slices of multi-grain bread, spread with your favorite flavor of jam or jelly and sliced bananas. Can’t help falling in love? Try Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich. He often enjoyed a peanut butter and banana sandwich grilled in butter.