Building the Perfect Sandwich

What does the perfect sandwich look like to you? Is it packed with meat, do you like the special sauces or is it a veggies with great dill dip?

When it comes to sandwiches they are memories of meals eaten away from home. They were usually part of a family experience or a trip and I knew it would include a special bread we didn’t often buy. But now with my own family I eat a little different. This isn’t because I dislike the traditional is now the new and exciting and dare I say endless possibilities. I would even re-name the bread to the “carrier device” as it isn’t limited to bread. This new transportation device to hold it all together to get to my mouth can include lettuce, flat breads, flavored tortillas or even bean based “bread”-Who knew what this future of food would hold. Let’s dig in an explore some of these possibilities.

Details to build a great sandwich

Outer layer options

The base presents so many options the grocery stores are packed with option so let’s narrow it down. When making nutrition key look for whole grain, with the first ingredient as “whole.” This could be whole wheat, whole rye, whole barley, whole corn, whole rice etc. Remember that is you are looking for gluten free that doesn’t mean that all grain are out, try a whole grain corn tortilla or even a rice based product to limit your gluten intake. Consider these options in traditional bread but also pita, wraps, rice cakes, bagels and more. Also think outside the bun and consider a leaf pocket like in a romaine or bib lettuce.

Balancing dry vs too wet

If you are prepping a sandwich to travel for a latter meal consider a thin layer of a low-fat salad dressing or even a vegetable spread like hummus. Hummus is traditionally made from Garbanzo beans (Chickpea) which adds a great fiber boost to promote heart health. This layer will keep the bread from getting too soggy. On the other hand if you are starting with a dry bread and are going for the moist by lunch idea use vinegar based dressings. Vinegar is great for a lower sodium content and up the herbs for additional flavor.

Meat or alternatives

Choose lean cuts of Beef, ham, chicken or turkey by choosing loin or round and white meats. By choosing these lean options you can pack the flavor but contain the fat which mean less calories over all. Whatever protein choice you make, thin is the key. Charles Kelsey, of Boston’s Cutty’s, says “you can improve a sandwich 10,000-fold just by using thinly sliced meats, even when they’re not high quality,” Other meat alternatives to bring texture could include a portabella mushroom, grilled tofu or bean based veggie burgers.

Stacking the deck

The key to stacking is the size of your pieces, nothing worse than taking the first bite and having all the ingredient fall out. Keep all the pieces thin or bite size. Taste pairing is the next consideration, put flavors together that enhance each other such as cheese and mustard says Paula Forbes with Epicurious. Be aware of temperature and the impact on shifting or slick ingredients. Some people to have all the cold items together but consider if placing the cold cheese next to the warm meat may help “hold” it together as they melt. While placing slick mayo, tomatoes and lettuce all together can contribute to the avalanche.

In summary a great sandwich reflects YOU! You are the author, artist, creator and consumer so the possibilities are only restricted by your imagination. Create new traditions and experiment with different veggies, slaws and textures like chips and pickles.


Blog provided by: Elise Klopfenstein RD, LD


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