I LOVE sandwiches. But even though I love them, I will get tired of just having my favorites all the time. A picnic is the perfect time to put a creative twist on some classic sandwiches that will taste refreshingly different.
Create a Whole New Club
The club sandwich is certainly one of the all-time favorite choices in restaurants and at home as well. My family makes fun of me because if it’s on the menu there’s a good chance I’m ordering it. lol This double-decker sensation usually contains turkey, mayo, tomato, romaine or bibb lettuce, and of course, bacon, all stuffed between layers of toasted bread. For me it needs to be sourdough bread.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a little creativity with your Club. Substitute fresh cabbage shreds for the lettuce and get a little crunch. Or try prosciutto or ham as an alternative to bacon. Yeah, not going to happen in my Club but maybe it’s a good swap for you. OR maybe add one of those alternatives PLUS the bacon 😉
Think of different condiments to use instead of plain mayo. Add a little sun-dried pesto or Dijon mustard to spice it up. Flavor your mayo with your favorite wing sauce or grilled japapenos. You could even try a honey mustard dressing if you aren’t into spicy flavors.
Pamper Your Pastrami
How about those old-fashioned deli stand-bys, the Pastrami on Rye, or the Reuben? These days, you have endless options as substitutes for standard ingredients. If you’re up for a change, you might forgo the spicy brown mustard for thin slices of red onion and spicy Pepper Jack cheese.
Speaking of cheese, there’s always a little variety in a hearty brie or havarti over the standard Swiss cheese. Also, think about your choice of bread. Bagels, hoagie rolls, and tortilla wraps also make good substitutes for rye bread, especially when you choose the onion toasted or flavored varieties.
A Reuben can be difficult to pack with the liquid from the saurkraut. Plus it’s near impossible to keep hot unless you are having your picnic in the backyard. Consider going with a cold style Reuben. Stack the bread, meat, cheese, mustard and dressing on the sandwich. You can even grill up the meat and toast the bread and then wrap the sandwiches in aluminum foil. Then bring coleslaw on the side. When you are ready to eat, just pop open your sandwich and spoon on some coleslaw. Awesome crunch and the slaw balances the saltiness of the meat.
Build Your Own BLT
What sandwich shop would be complete without the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich? Yet, with a little creativity, you can make your own classic favorite with a few exotic ingredients. Guacamole or hummus, for instance, make great substitutes for mayonnaise. Maybe a little arugula, watercress, or bitter greens could stand in for your everyday variety iceberg or romaine lettuce.
Make it a ‘BLTC’ with a number of different cheeses like Muenster, Gouda, or a super sharp Cheddar. Again, for those health conscious folks trying to avoid traditional bacon, you could go with grilled strips of tempeh, turkey bacon, or vegan substitutes.
Heck, shred the bacon, lettuce, and tomato into a hot dog bun, add a little relish, and think of Coney Island. We’ve even seen gourmet chefs incorporate smoked salmon, BBQ shrimp, and lobster into fancier versions of BLTs. These may come with uncommon price tags in the fancy restaurants, but you can make them at home for your next picnic at a fraction of the cost.
My favorite is to have a ‘BLAT’ but I think it’s a west coast thing. The “A” stands for avocado and when I add it to my BLT I barely put any mayo on. I know you can add guacamole but I prefer the full slices of avocado best.
Your imagination is all you need to create different takes on classic sandwiches. Choose a variety of ingredients to create a unique twist on old favorites. The choices you make could become healthier choices for your family that create more excitement at lunchtime… or anytime!
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