Transform Leafy Salads Into A Veggie Sandwich For A Heftier Meal

In the eternal lunchtime battle between salads and sandwiches, you don't actually have to choose. That classic meal choice is usually cast as a contest between the more responsible, "healthy" choice of salad and the more satisfying sandwich. Of course this ignores the many ways sandwiches can be nutritious or that salads can be delicious and reinforces the unhelpful, false, and guilt-inducing dichotomy between food tasting good and being good for you. And perhaps most incorrectly, it casts salads and sandwiches as divergent choices, when they can actually be one in the same. A salad sandwich can give you all the filling comfort of bread, while still bringing all the advantages of a fresh green salad. 

I had always been aware of the idea of salad sandwiches, but it had always seemed a little strange, like you were making an incomplete meal, and so never really gave them much thought. That all changed once a restaurant near me whose salads I had always loved started offering them in sandwich form. A simple gem salad with radish, cucumbers, and broccolini, mixed with a poppy seed dressing and stuffed between whole wheat bread. I immediately realized that I had been overlooking salad sandwiches, and that they contained everything that makes sandwiches great. The contrast between the crunchy and soft, the bright dressing and savory bread. The ease of making them. Now they've become a regular lunch staple, with so many different variations to choose from.

Your favorite salads need only bread to become a tasty, satisfying sandwich

The one rule you should have for salad sandwiches is about the type of bread. As good as white bread can be, a veggie sandwich greatly benefits from the more robust flavor of whole wheats and grains, which balance out the fresh taste of your favorite salads and make everything seem more filling. You still have plenty of options, from rye to a sourdough multigrain, but most white bread just isn't substantial enough.

A great place to start is with an avocado and tomato salad. Topped with some cilantro lime dressing and paired with crunchy greens like romaine, the result is refreshing and delightful. You can go further in a southwestern direction by adding corn or black beans to make it more filling. It does help to keep things simple though, you don't want a messy salad spilling out of your bread. Another great option is a simple kale salad with a mustard dressing, crunchy toasted pecans, red onions, and some shaved parmesan. Four or five ingredients is a good spot to aim for.

It can also help to add some cheese occasionally. Light, creamy, spreadable cheeses like goat or cream cheese pair well with salads and add a little heft, although salty options like feta and parmesan add a nice umami element too. With little effort salad sandwiches can be every bit as good as their meaty alternatives and add a whole new option to your lunch.