Dear Blue Apron,
I’m not really a picky eater. I don’t cook up involved meals. In fact, most of the time, I’m content to fix a sandwich for, well, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Two slices of toast with an egg, some peanut butter, or ham and cheese are fillings I will always love.
But even I can get tired of the same old formula. How can I rev up my sandwich skills and bring some much-needed diversity to what’s between my bread?
Oh the places you’ll go with sandwiches! They’ll serve you well on picnics and plane trips, make the most convenient lunch to pack, and will endear you to any improvisational cook you meet.
Still, there is definitely life beyond ham and cheese, and we at Blue Apron are here to introduce you to some ideas for making your sandwiches a little more exciting. Here are some ways to become a sandwich champion.
1. Be Generous
Though it’s a critical ingredient in your sandwiches, no one likes it when bread takes center stage. One wimpy piece of ham and a slice of cheese between two pieces of bread will certainly lead to a disappointing lunch experience. Instead, it’s best to err on the side of extravagant when it comes to your fillings.
One of our all-time favorite sandwiches is the classic meatball sub. We make divine meatballs by including raw vegetables in the “dough” and roasting them in the oven before they braise in the sauce, where they become incredibly tender. Then we pile them up with sauce onto hero rolls and melt cheese on top. You can apply this same generosity to other types of sandwiches as well, stacking up vegetables, cheeses, and deli meats until you can fit no more.
2. Get Creative With Burgers
No reason to reserve burgers for relaxed dinners at home with the grill—they can be a great (and filling) lunch in sandwich-form. Step away from the classic beef patty and try turning to veggies, chicken, and even salmon to form your burgers. Add to that all kinds of toppings beyond the standard lettuce, onion, and tomato, and you’ve got a sandwich worth writing home about.
Keep in mind that you don’t need access to a grill to make a great burger; we often bake, broil, or sear our burgers on the (indoor) stove.
3. Think Mini
Instead of over-stuffing, you could try a different change in proportion: going tiny with tea sandwiches and sliders. To start, search the supermarket for dinner rolls and slider buns. (If you can’t find them, you can always cut hot dog buns into thirds.)
After that, going tiny is just a matter of smaller proportions (obviously). For example, we love how slider rolls turn decadent pulled chicken into adorable pulled chicken sliders. Since the sandwiches are tiny, you can try out a few different flavor variations and mix and match your meals all week long.
4. Condiments Make the Difference
Simply adding some unique condiments to your sandwich can take it from ordinary to kind of awesome.
Next time you’re making a standard-issue turkey sandwich, mix some mayo and Sriracha and spread it on the bread—suddenly you’ve got a pretty fancy pants, out-of-the-ordinary turkey sub. Spread arugula pesto on rye before piling on your sliced roasted chicken breast, and your sandwich just got kicked up a few notches. Find a fancy mustard, use a flavored butter, or go crazy mixing spices into your mayo. You’ll discover gourmet condiments that lead to gourmet sandwiches—and you’ll never look back.
5. Texture is Everything
Many sandwich fillings echo each other texture-wise—a lot of them are fairly soft, and that can make your lunch kind of blah. But your sandwich will improve tenfold if you start adding crunch. This can come in the form of vegetables (raw cucumber and pickled carrots up the ante in this banh mi) or something lower-brow (no lie, potato chips are one of our favorites).
Bread choice is also important here: If your fillings are on the softer side, opt for an ultra crispy baguette. If you’ve already got plenty of crunch, then it’s fine to stick with a softer brioche or roll.
There you have it—five amazing ways to improve what’s going on between those two slices of bread you rely on so much.
Tell us! How do you make your sandwiches awesome?