When you’re in the mood for a sandwich, do you assume you’ll need to use bread? Maybe you like using whole wheat, rye, or sourdough. Or maybe you’re into special artisan bread from your local bakery and can’t imagine having your favorite sandwich on anything else. Perhaps, you even feel like your favorite sandwich wouldn’t be your favorite anymore, if it weren’t for the amazing bread. Just for a moment, set aside your preconceived notions about sandwiches and consider the possibility that you’re missing out on something fantastic: a sandwich that doesn’t need bread. Pretty crazy thought, we know.
When you really think about it, though, there’s no need to stay stuck between slices of bread when it comes to sandwiches. There are many fabulous ways to make sandwiches without bread, like using fruit, roots, or veggies. There may be more prep time with some options but others will be easy as blinking. And once you’ve tantalized your taste buds, you may not want to go back. Let’s take a look at how we can think outside the bread!
Cucumbers are high in water content, helping you stay hydrated. They also help fight inflammation in your body and brain. You can slice cucumbers length-wise, peeled or not, and use them in several of your regular sandwich recipes. Imagine the difference between the dryness of bread and the light, refreshing taste of cucumbers. They even look refreshing with their whitish-green flesh.
Go ahead and try cucumbers in this recipe for Black Bean Hemp Burgers and eliminate the bread altogether. How about this great recipe of Hummus, Carrot, Cucumber, Avocado, and Sprouts Sandwich. Instead of adding the cucumber in the mix just layer the veggie goodness in between your cucumber slices, and you’ve got a delicious sandwich. Using cucumbers as the bread in these Pesto Veggie Sandwiches will make your mouth water. Making savory cucumber sandwiches is a breeze.
Eating jicama is beneficial for your brain, bones, immune system, digestion, and overall health. Jicama is full of vitamin C, E, and B6, as well as minerals, phytonutrients, minerals, and folate. Jicama’s flavor is similar to an apple, though it looks like a white potato when it’s peeled. Jicamas are juicy, crisp, and firm and can replace bread in all kinds of sandwich recipes. An important note, though, if you’re using jicama you’ve grown yourself, don’t eat the leaves, flowers, vines, or seed pods, just the root itself. The leaves, flowers, vines, and seed pods are toxic, containing a natural insecticide called rotenone that can make you sick.
Make sure to pick a large jicama at your local organic store, peel it, and slice it in half. Slice two slices from one of the halves and you’ve got a great beginning and end for your sandwich. You can cook them or leave them raw, either way it’s delicious. You can try layering this Spicy Spring Garden in between jicama slices or even this Mushroom and Pepper Fajitas With Spiced Cashew Cream Sauce. The ideas are boundless. Time to put your thinking cap on and get creative!
3. Salad Greens
Lettuce is also a great way alternative to bread in your sandwich routine, and there are so many varieties to choose from! Romaine lettuce is rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and phytonutrients, which are all beneficial for your body, especially your heart. Plus, Romaine’s nutrition value is greater than other lettuce varieties. Romaine is an easy replacement for bread since they have a natural “boat” appearance and can handle most anything you load on top. Also, Romaine is less bitter than some greens, offering a lighter bite to your sandwich. Try using Romaine “boats” for these Chickpea Salad Sliders.
Collard greens are another fabulous bread replacement. They are full of vitamin A, B-6, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and other minerals. They improve bone health, help prevent cancer, balance glucose levels, and aid digestion. Collard greens are not as succulent as lettuce and can have a bitter hue, but are great for wraps, like these Hummus and Collard Wraps.
You could also try Boston Lettuce for these Grilled Artichoke and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps. There are several different kinds of greens to choose from like Endive, Radicchio, Escarole, Baby beet greens, Rainbow Chard, Kale, and Leaf lettuce. Any of these would add rich flavor and variety to your everyday sandwich.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are great to use for sandwiches, and they’re good for you too! They are one of the best sources for beta-carotene. and are also rich in minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. They hold just a hint of sweetness, similar to what an acorn squash and a white potato might taste like if mixed. A sweet potatoes’ flesh can come in a range of colors: magenta, pale orange, off-white, dark orange, bright orange, white, cream, and purple, depending on the type of sweet potato you buy or grow. Either way, you will definitely brighten your meals with vibrant color.
To make sweet potatoes into a sandwich of sorts, bake them in the oven first for about 20 minutes so that they’re tender but can still be held, let them cool, and then slice them length-wise to create the perfect vessel. How about stuffing them with the ingredients in this Smoky Portobello Black Bean Burger? Or you could also switch things up in this recipe for Cheesy Mexican Sweet Potato Noodle Wraps by ditching the gluten-free wraps, using the sweet potatoes as the “bread,” and layering the spinach, salsa, avocado, and cilantro inside. Sounds delicious! And let’s not forget these Kale and Cranberry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes just in time for the holidays.
5. Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are simply amazing. They are full of B vitamins which help with energy and your nervous system. They’re on the mid-way point for fiber content, which benefits your blood-sugar levels and cholesterol. Portobellos have a meaty, earthy taste, with rich brown coloring. They are round, which makes them great for sandwiches. You could start with these Raw Portobello Hemp Cheese Burgers to get you in the groove. Next, you could try this Portobello Burger With Caramelized Onions and Tempeh Bacon or this Roasted Red Pepper and Toasted Walnut Sandwich. You’ll just need to replace the buns with portobellos and you’ve got a great dinner on your hands.
The ideas are limitless on what you can use instead of bread. You could even use apple round-slices, peppers, eggplant, or tomato halves. One of the best things is to find creativity and joy in the kitchen. Invent and inspire. Share your delectable dishes with friends and family, because a dash of love always adds the best flavor!
Lead image source: Raw Portobello Hemp Cheese Burgers