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Sandwich spreads gone wild. August 6, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. I was reading an article on the Wall Street Cheat Sheet site this morning about seven great vegetarian sandwiches you could make at home. Given how many steps, ingredients, and dishes they all used, I would never make even one of them at home. I could easily make a great Indian feast or pasta dinner or pretty much anything using less time and effort than a single one of these sandwiches would take. No wonder people would go for the PB&J or BLT or takeout burger or sub or deli option. Geez!

But the article did bring to mind something I don’t often think about: sandwich spreads as condiments. Take hummus, for example. I typically think of hummus as a dip for veggies or as the main ingredient in a pita pocket, with tomato, lettuce and cucumber adding crunch and veggie goodness to the hummus’s protein. But what if, instead, hummus was a spread on a sandwich with plenty of other ingredients? How about white bean hummus smeared on olive oil-brushed grilled buns and topped with roasted sweet onion slices, goat cheese or feta, basil, beefsteak or heirloom tomato slices, and a couple of Romaine leaves?

I love falafel sandwiches, and it’s so easy to make your own. Buy tzatziki sauce (Greek yogurt with onion and cucumber), falafel patties (I like the garlic ones best, but plain are good, too), shredded carrots, and shredded purple cabbage at your local grocery, along with plump, moderate-sized pitas. (Not the authentic thin pitas that shred when you try to open or eat them, they’re best for dipping or rolling at the table.) Heat the falafel patties with a drizzle of olive oil on top to make them crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. Put halved pita pockets on top of the falafel patties for the last few minutes of cooking. Once the pitas are hot and the falafel patties are sizzling, open each pita half, add liberal amounts of tzatziki sauce, shredded cabbage and carrot, stuff in a couple of falafel patties, and enjoy! Oh, yum.

Tzatziki sauce is a great spread for veggie burgers, too, so much more flavorful and healthful than mayo. So, of course, is fresh salsa (pressed and drained), if you’d like some heat on your burger or quesadilla. (Works on real hamburgers, too.) I also like horseradish heat on my sandwiches. A horseradish-mayo spread will really bring a BLT, CLT (the vegetarian version, subbing cheese for bacon), or club sandwich to life. Or try sriracha-mayo or wasabi-mayo.

Pesto? Perfect slathered on both sides of a crusty roll or demi-baguette and heated before being topped with cheese, lettuce, sauteed onion, and tomato, a veggie burger or real burger, a BLT, or a grilled portabello. You can even make your own eggplant parm sandwich by “frying” eggplant slices dipped in beaten egg, then in a mix of breadcrumbs (or panko), salt, pepper, and granulated garlic, then sauteed in olive oil until both sides are golden and crispy and the eggplant is tender. Heat the rolls or baguettes with the pesto, top half with the eggplant, add a dab of marinara sauce or jarred salsa (not fresh this time, too runny), some fresh bufalo mozzarella slices and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella, and then the top half of the pesto-covered roll or baguette. Yum!!!

Homemade pimiento cheese? Easy and oh so good. (Type in “pimiento cheese” in our search bar at upper right for the recipe.) But rather than making it into a sandwich by itself, why not spread it as the cheese layer in a sandwich? It’s a fabulous topping for a veggie or ground-beef cheeseburger and lends itself to other toppings like pickles and onions. It’s great in a BLT, CLT, or either with fried green tomatoes. Try it in a Subway-style hoagie or a quesadilla.

A thick spread of egg salad, with lettuce and tomato, can up the ante for pretty much any sandwich, be it chicken or turkey or roast beef. Try a “Cobb salad sandwich” or a “Caesar salad sandwich” or even a “chef’s salad sandwich” or “antipasto sandwich” using egg salad as a base. You’ll have to agree that salad makes a great sandwich!

There are so many more options, but that’s enough for now. I guess I’ll tackle the whole nut-butter issue another day.

‘Til next time,

Silence

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