What’s for Lunch? Grand-wiches and Expand-wiches

So you think you’re stuck with fast food or bologna for lunch, eh?  That is a bad place to be stuck my friends and I’d like to help you out.  Lunch is problematic for a lot of people because the traditional lunch repertoire is rather narrow, i.e. gets boring, i.e. forces you to not make it – settle for mediocre – go out for evil fast food.  It is a mire of danger, despair and disease awaiting you at noontime everyday!  Yikes, this is getting scary.

So in the tradition of Baby Steps and Riffing on a Theme in the Kitchen (I hope you were singing while you made that incredible orange hummus yesterday Little Sis)… I’d like to offer the Grand-wich and the Expand-wich.

Expand-wiches are what you make when you consider and include non-traditional layers for sandwiches.  Look in your fridge and find something that would taste good between slices of whole wheat bread, or rolled into a tortilla or heaped on a flat bread.  Really… most anything:

Sunday I looked in my fridge and found a humble eggplant, bought on sale with several vine mates that would soon be going bad because I bought too many.  I thought, “Gee wouldn’t a roasted eggplant sandwich be good?”  “Yes it would,” I answered myself, “But I don’t have time to roast any eggplant right now!”  So I nuked it instead.

Slice veggies about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick.
I drizzled one with homemade oil and vinegar/tahini / Bragg’s / lemon juice dressing  – I’d recommend about 2 – 3 tsp spread out onto the slice.  (You can use this dressing recipe until I get my act together and quantify the above.)
The other I drizzled with olive oil, rice vinegar and Bragg’s – again maybe a total of 2 – 3 tsp, but this one is meant to be super easy and fast / not really necessary to mix or  measure : just drizzzzle.
Nuked for a total of 2 minutes, covered

Placed my eggplant on a slice of Ezekiel bread that I’d spread with artichoke spread.

I ate it just like that and it was really good, but I highly recommend adding more items from your frig :
lettuce, tomato, cheese, other veggies (hot or cold) or if you eat meat – some roast chicken or turkey left over from another meal.

Expand-wiches expand the list of items you can use in a sandwich.  You can take this idea to either roast,  nuke or go raw with the following items that I think are amenable to sandwiching:
Portabello mushrooms
zucchini or yellow squash
Long way sliced carrots
green beans
sauteed greens : swiss chard, kale, collards, bok choy
Namul (as described by Little Sis)
apple slices
sauteed greens

Now to make it a grand-wich you add a new and different topping!  See beyond the mustard or mayonnaise in your fridge (although as Baby Steps are still encouraged if you eat more vegetables with your mustard and mayo that is a VERY good thing).  The artichoke spread I used above has a very mayonnaisey consistency.  I described a veggie and bean dip and Little Sis described a scrumptious sounding orange hummus in our most recent posts.  Veggie and bean spreads make your lunches healthier and more interesting.  Worth packing.  Worth eating and worth investing a little time in.  But really is it any more time to make a lunch the night before than it is to leave your place of work to go spend too much money on food that is not very good for you?

If you don’t like sloppy or a sandwich that is too thick, try wraps and tortillas.  You can really just throw stuff in these babies and roll with it ; )

Combinations I’ve tried:

Salad in a wrap with feta cheese or hummus

leftover roast chicken with leftover roasted potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets – with mayonnaise, hummus or artichoke dip, or lettuce for some moisture.

leftover roast chicken with leftover pasta sauce – preferably that has big chunks of vegetables like zucchini or eggplant or spinach or swiss chard or onion… you get the idea.  You can top with cheese if you like!

leftover veggies with hummus or bean dip

veggies and fruit

leftover greens sauteed with garlic and cheese….or hummus…. or other bean dip.

tofu with salad in a wrap

tofu, apples, walnuts and artichoke dip

So you see, the bread or tortilla or wrap is your canvas and a great variety of foods are your colors… and as simple as it is, the combinations are endless.  Let us hear about your Grand-wich and Expand-wich creations!