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Go Grain-Free: 8 Breadless Sandwich Ideas You’ll Love!

March 31, 2014

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The sandwich has long been a lunchtime staple and for good reason: it’s easy, portable, filling, and endlessly customizable. Yet, its very foundation—bread—can be troublesome for many people, whether they’re gluten-free, following a Paleo diet, or just looking to avoid a food that’s often poor in nutrients and rich in processed ingredients. Luckily, having a sandwich at lunch while remaining bread-free isn’t too tall of an order! There are tons of ways to make healthy, no-fuss sandwiches that are packed with nutrient-dense superfoods and meat-free proteins, with no bread involved!  

Here are four of my favorite ingredients to turn to when I’m looking to make a bread-free sandwich, plus recipe ideas for each. Use them as your springboard for making your own unique sandwiches in a pinch, and feel free to tweak these combinations to please your taste buds and your personal time constraints. Enjoy your meat-free, gluten-free lunch!

1.    Sweet Potato

Prep it: Slice 4 to 6 sweet potato rounds (depending on size) to your desired thickness. Add a teaspoon or two of safflower oil to a stovetop pan and throw the sweet potatoes in until they crisp up (about 5 to 10 minutes). If you’re really short on time, skip the pan approach altogether and stick the slices in the microwave for two minutes to soften them.   

  • The Sweet Goat: Create your own spread by combining goat cheese crumbles (or even cream cheese or vegan cheese such as Daiya) with pomegranate seeds and crushed walnuts. Spread the mixture on one sweet potato round, top with spinach, and stack another round on top!
  • Southwest Spud-wich: Coat your sweet potatoes with black beans that you’ve cooked on the stove and mashed. Spread this in a thin layer and top with slices of avocado and tomato, plus some sprigs of cilantro (dried works, too!). Finish it off with a small dollop of tofu sour cream.

2.     Nori 

Prep it: Lay nori sheet on a dry surface. Place all fillings on one-third of the sheet, being careful of putting on too much to avoid overstuffing, Add any wet contents last, since it may cause the nori to get sticky. Starting at the end with the filling, tightly roll up the nori as you would a wrap or tortilla. Consider brushing a little lemon juice at the end of the sheet to seal it closed.

  • Island Sea Wrap: Stuff your nori with mango, watermelon radish, shredded carrot and coconut, and baby greens. Whip up this 3-ingredient miso-almond sauce, or use a store-bought carrot-ginger dressing as a condiment. 
  • The Green Egg Special: Slice a two-egg white omelet into thin strips and lay it in the nori alongside some kale, scallion, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, and toasted sesame seeds. Top with a drizzle of sesame oil before rolling it all up.  

3.    Red Bell Pepper

Prep it: Cut off the stem and the narrow bottom of your pepper. Then set the pepper on one end and slice it straight through to make two symmetrical pieces. Remove the seeds and the ribs so you’re left with two large, rounded pieces of pepper.

  • Ciao Bella: Fill the pepper with a slice each of fresh mozzarella and plum tomato, add a few leaves of basil, and spoon on some pesto or EVOO and balsamic vinegar for a sandwich-like alternative to an Italian Caprese insalada.
  • Humus-Stuffed Peppers: Go the Mediterranean route by filling your pepper slices with protein-packed hummus, thin strips of cucumber, and Kalamata or black olives, and dress it with tangy tahini sauce. 

 4. Rice Paper or Coconut Wrap

If you’re avoiding rice, consider cooking up these 3-ingredient coconut wraps or use a ready-made brand, such as Pure Wraps

Prep it: For the rice paper, rehydrate one sheet of it at a time. Let it sit in a bowl of warm water for about 20 seconds until it’s soft, then lay it on a towel to absorb excess water. Remember to place fillings on one side of the paper or coconut wrap to really pack in all of your ingredients, as you did with the nori.

  • Crisp Crunch: Mix peanuts and cashews with a handful of coleslaw or broccoli slaw. Dress it lightly with sesame oil. Wrap the filling up tightly in the wrap, and serve alongside duck sauce or low-sodium soy sauce as a dip.
  • Tofu Teriyaki: Heat up a few strips of firm tofu and season with coconut oil, garlic, and ginger powder. Lay them on the rice paper and add a sprinkle of bean sprouts, shredded carrots, and mushrooms. Drizzle teriyaki or hoisin sauce over the veggies for a flavorful finishing touch. 

Do you have a breadless sandwich you can’t get enough of? Tell us about it in comments!