OK, anyone ready for an utterly-butterly (borrowed from the famous Amul ads I grew up with), delicious and incredibly easy-to-make lunch, that’s also kid-approved? This healthy sandwich works great for spicing up a desk lunch or for an easy and lazy weekend brunch. One of the best ways I’ve found to get kids and the I-don’t-like-veggies-adults to eat healthy is simply to make the food look good. And this colorful vegetable sandwich is as delicious as it is beautiful!
During the course of my blog story, I’ve provided other ideas to keep varying the taste of this sandwich. Are you ready to get eating? Let’s start!
How to Select Your Bread:
Not every slice of bread is made alike. Store bought breads could hide an amazing amount of added sugar and salt. Not to mention the long, long list of additives, chemicals and preservatives. Corporations add these unnecessary ingredients to extend the shelf-life of bread, and to enhance the taste. Make sure you read the labels before purchasing your bread. If you really think about it, bread needs just a small handful of ingredients: flour, active dry yeast, water, salt and oil. Then, why do you think you need to purchase bread that has a long ingredient list? Here are some ways I can suggest you procure your bread:
- Saturday farmer’s markets are a good place to purchase freshly baked bread; talk to the vendor to find out the ingredient list. Our farmer’s market has a French lady that makes delicious croissants and breads that get sold out within an hour of her opening her wares!
- Many grocery stores bake their breads daily. But that doesn’t mean the breads are free from harmful ingredients. Stores like Whole Foods and Central Market bake some of their breads using organic flours with minimal ingredients. Always, ask questions and educate yourself before you buy.
- Of course, you can make your own bread, if you have the time and the equipment and this will give you full control of what goes into it. Sourdough is a great option, if you can procure the starter. Sourdough bread undergoes a fermentation process that may alter its starches, making them healthier. You can also experiment with herbs, seeds, nuts etc. and create a healthy and varied version at each batch. I owned a bread maker many years back but gave it away as our bread consumption went down.
- Do the ‘pick up’ test: Bread made from whole grains will feel heavy and dense compared to refined-grain breads, which tend to be light, soft and fluffy. You don’t really need to stick to just regular wheat breads. Experiment with amaranth, rye, spelt and the ancient wheat berries like Einkorn.
- If bread can last on your kitchen counter or in your refrigerator for more than a few days without losing its texture or taste, then, as I repeatedly say, read the ingredient list.
I like to make my own spreads. My favorites? Hummus and Baba Ghanoush. Not only are they a great way to get protein and veggies into this sandwich, it also adds the want-to-sink-my-teeth-into feel-good feeling. It is easy to make these spreads in advance, and they last for several days under proper refrigeration. My other favorites are spicy chutneys that you can smear on, instead of spreads are…
Use your imagination and/or use your favorite veggies. Anything that cooks quick and crisp is my preference. All colors of bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, onions, garlic work great. You can even throw in some greens (arugula, spinach, mustard greens) right after you sauté the veggies and turn off the stove. The greens will wilt in the heat and will make a great addition.
Vegan or Vegetarian?
Of course, this is your choice. Instead of butter, you can use ghee, olive oil or coconut oil. You can skip the mozzarella cheese entirely or try a vegan cheese. I love this sandwich because of the flexibility it affords. You don’t need to have the same old, same old boring sandwich.
Loaded with fresh vegetables, this easy minimal prep meal, delivers a wide array of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. Vegetables are important part of healthy eating and provide a source of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. Potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.
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The BEST Open-Faced Veggie Sandwich
- 1 Teaspoon Avocado Oil
- 1 Jalapeño Diced. Or to taste
- 1/2 Cup Red Bell Peppers Cut into 1" strips
- 1/2 Cup Zucchini Cut into 1" strips
- 1 Teaspoon Butter Slightly melted. Use coconut or olive oil if vegan
- 1 Tablespoon Mozzarella Cheese Shredded. Use vegan cheese alternatively
- 8 Slices French Bread Herbed or Rye
- 8 Teaspoons Baba Ghanoush Baba Ghanoush, Hummus or any of our healthy chutneys
- 1/8 Teaspoon Salt Or to taste. I prefer herbed salt
- Heat oil in a skillet. Add diced jalapeños and sauté for 30 seconds
- Add zucchini and bell pepper slices, and other vegetables of your choice, and sauté on high heat for 2 minutes, until the veggies are crisply cooked. Turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, on another burner, heat a pan on medium heat. Arrange the bread slices and allow to toast lightly for a couple of minutes
- Turn bread over. Using a silicone brush, light smear melted butter (or oil) on the upward facing side of the slices. Lower the heat
- Sprinkle mozzarella (or vegan) cheese on the slices and allow the cheese to melt. Smear Baba Ghanoush, Hummus or any of our healthy chutneys on the open face. You can also substitute with any other healthy spread of your choice
- Top the bread slices with veggies
- Sparingly, sprinkle herbed salt over the slices
- Gently, using a spatula, scoop the sandwiches to a dinner plate