Declare your independence from boring sandwiches and check out these wonderful recipes for Fourth of July picnic fixings that are anything but ordinary.
These sandwich and wrap recipes are perfect for picnics, but they also translate beautifully to school or office lunchboxes. You can use these as springboards for your own creativity, or try the recipes as they are: there is something here for everyone, and the end results are intriguing, fun, and delicious.
Try the Scandinavian, or the French Provincial, the Vegan Southwestern or the Middle Eastern–or even the Vegan Tuscan Sun! Plus some great suggestions to get your creativity going!
1. Provincial French
Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced, or soft Brie
Radish, thinly sliced
Sprouts from sunflower seeds or peas (or mesclun, if sprouts are unavailable)
Sprinkle of Herbes de Provence (includes thyme, basil, sage, rosemary, marjoram, fennel seed, and lavender)
Split and butter a small baguette or French roll. Add other ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. This is one sandwich that is safe to make ahead because it won’t get soggy.
2. Vegan Tuscan Sun
Leftover cooked eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and onions–or a combination
Sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, or fresh tomato, thinly sliced
Oil-cured olives, pitted and sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients. When ready to eat sandwich, stuff pita or spread wrap or bread with filling.
Fun variation: Cut a small Italian loaf in half crosswise. Hollow out the inside of both halves with your hands, saving the soft interior bread for another use. Just before eating, stuff the loaf cavities firmly with vegetable mixture. May be cut into rounds and skewered with toothpicks to keep them together.
Non-vegan variation: Add some shaved Pecorino cheese.
Havarti or cream cheese with plenty of dill
Potato salad, lightly mashed
Hard-cooked egg, sliced
Thinly sliced cooked beets, patted dry
Spread bread of choice with cream cheese or Havarti. Add a layer of mashed potato salad and top with egg and beet slices. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Vegan Southwestern
Shredded cheddar or Jalapeno pepper jack (non-vegan option)
Leftover Corn Relish Salad, with excess dressing drained off
Lettuce or mesclun greens
Spread a wrap or flour tortilla with refried beans. Top with Corn Relish Salad, a little salsa, and shredded cheese, if using. Salt and pepper to taste. Place salad greens or lettuce on top and roll wrap up. (The beans serve as a moisture barrier, so this is safe to make ahead.)
Variation: Try using leftover guacamole in place of the salsa. Or simply add sliced avocado to your sandwich (with a few drops of lime juice to prevent too much discoloration). Sliced canned jalapeno pepper adds spice, too!
5. Vegan Middle Eastern
Hummus or baba ghanoush, depending on your preference
Leftover cooked couscous
Thinly sliced cucumber and red onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Stuff pita with ingredients.
Inspirations for your own creations:
Sandwich loaves are great, but it can be fun to try something new. There’s a world of possibility out there!
Toasted English muffins
Flavored wraps (our local grocery store carries sundried tomato, spinach, and three-cheese wraps, among others–see what you can find)
Indian soft breads, like nan or paratha
Ideas for fillings:
Besides the usual lettuce and tomato, try adding cooked leftover veggies to your sandwiches.
And if you’re tired of peanut butter, try almond or cashew butter–they’re rich and delicious! Add a sliced banana or apple and you’ve got yourself a great sandwich.
Be sure to try the Eggless Salad as a pita or wrap stuffing.
Check out your local deli for some cheese ideas you may have never tried before. Smoked gouda with honey mustard, gorgonzola with sliced pear, feta with cucumber and tomato, bleu with walnuts and spinach–the possibilities are endless!
And you may also want to try these sandwich favorites! Enjoy.
By Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).