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Sandwiches at home - no cold cuts

About a year ago, I basically gave up cold cuts and pasta. Just by excluding those two things and eating slightly smaller portions I lost about 50 lbs. Recently, I've been on a little bit of a take-out craze and added quite a few of those lost pounds, but when it comes to lunch, I'm sticking to the cold cut cut-out. So my sandwich of choice lately has been sliced tomato, red onion, lettuce, avocado and cheddar with a little balsamic vinaigrette, mayo and mustard (sometimes omitted). On occasion I'll add cucumbers. I think the sandwich is delicious and despite the bread and mayo, fairly healthy.

I'm not bored by this sandwich, because it's delicious, but was wondering, what other cold cut free sandwiches are people eating. I like tuna, but prefer it as tuna salad and not on bread...weird, but just a preference.

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  1. I realize you said you do not like tuna on bread, but one of the most incredible sandwiches I ever ate was made by an Italian friend of mine.....Imported Tonno in Olive Oil, on crusty Semolina Bread spread with butter first, then slices of NJ Beefsteak tomatoes and thin sliced onions. The tonno is just broken up with a fork and spread over the sandwich, with oil, and with fresh cracked black pepper. Salt is optional. Another surprising sandwich was made by an Egyptian co-worker many years ago...again on a hero type roll, made with a can of sardines in tomato sauce....simply smashed and put on the bread.

    I generally roast beef, pork or chicken once a week and the leftovers are used for the sandwiches I may make at home....but if they are not available then the following are always classic for me..

    Egg Salad
    Shrimp Salad

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      The tuna thing actually sounds pretty good like that. Shrimp Avocado Salad I've done. And BLT is great, but don't want to eat bacon every day....wait, yes I do

    2. I've never liked cold cuts much anyway. My favorite sandwich is grilled veggies (in Foreman grill), top with cheese and put it back in the Foreman for a poor gal's panini.I also like canned sardines on toast, with thin slices of tomato. If I have pita bread, falafels. I enjoy peanut butter and good jam or honey. Maybe bananas in there too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: tcamp

        When I want a sweet, I have PB with bananas and a slight drizzle of maple syrup

        1. re: jhopp217

          i love that combo AND also love the combo of:
          PB, bananas, drizzeled with choc syrup made with valrhonna cocoa.
          also love PB on toast, sprinkled with semi-sweet chocolate chips, then put the whole thing back in the toaster oven on BROIL to melt the chips all over the peanut butter.

      2. I've made fresh chicken salad before with fresh roasted chicken, a combo of Greek yogurt & mayo and either added dried cranberries or grapes. Delicious!

        2 Replies
        1. re: jenscats5

          A deli that used to be near me had a sandwich with roasted turkey (real turkey), stuffing and cranberries....it was amazing

          1. re: jhopp217

            All of our sub shops around here carry the turkey-mayo-stuffing-cranberry sauce sub....Very popular!

        2. There's the bruschetta route: take your described sandwich, lose the avo, mayo & mustard, replace the lettuce with basil and the cheddar with fresh mozzarella (you can also use balsamic vinaigrette instead of straight balsamic vinegar) and, if you want, top with anchovy slices or capers.

          Also try your described sandwich using a handful of onion sprouts (available at some farmer's markets).

          A strange but yummy (and cheap) sandwich from my childhood was sliced green olives (the stuffed-with-pimento type) and sliced cheddar on soft bread spread with mayo.

          There are also the myriad of variations on pizza utilizing bread, bagel, or tortilla, tomatoes or jarred sauce (including pesto), cheese, and whatever else you have. Advantages of such "open-faced sandwiches" is that they're hot, and you use only one slice of bread. (My usual is lightly toasted sourdough, tomato slices, zapped a few seconds in the micro to warm the tomatoes, then topped with thick slices of extra sharp cheddar and returned to micro to partially melt the cheese. Optional: top with crispy bacon. Eat with lots of salt and freshly ground black pepper and sometimes tabasco.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Michelly

            I do tomato, mozzarella and pesto paninis sometimes. The olive thing sounds nice. I actually had a cheddar and olive sandwich with mayo a few weeks ago. I also threw in a few sun dried tomatoes

            1. re: Michelly

              The olive thing sounds like deconstructed pimento cheese!

              What's not to like?

            2. does it have to be a sandwich or nothing else?

              why not bring a piece of cooked chicken and some left over veggies? next day a burger patty or slice of meatloaf and some veggies; next day a tuna salad and some veggies, next day cottage cheese and some veggies; next day cheese & crackers & fruit ~~ why only a sandwich? I seldom buy bread and carry my lunch every work day.

              8 Replies
              1. re: laliz

                I was wondering the same. I'm not one of those weirdo "bread is the Devil" people but you know, what about soup, salad, the tuna salad you suggested and some veggies on the side, leftovers from casseroles or roasts, why just sandwiches?

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  I tend to eat very light breakfasts, so I usually want something filling. That being said, I quite often eat chicken and veggies, but my question was about sandwiches. Obviously, one could eat whatever they want

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    Fair enough. And I assume these are work sandwiches, not something you can make at home, like the fried egg sandwich idea would not work.

                    Cream cheese could be a good base for some sandwiches, you can buy the low fat kind or a tofu type (I've had them, they're very plain and not bad) and put chopped veggies and sprouts, or use mashed avocado mixed with a small amount of mayo as a base for same. Tomatoes and kalamatas and cream cheese would be good, maybe with some chopped scallion.

                    Chicken salad as someone else mentioned is a good idea. Or egg salad. Make it with predominantly whites and it's not a cholesterol boom.

                    You could also buy some of those veggie cold cuts. I've had those and they're surprisingly tasty, though obviously not truly like the original meat product.

                    1. re: jhopp217

                      ok. I just processed it differently and wondered: why cut out lunch meat instead cut out bread. just me. I often eat lunch meat for lunch w/out bread.

                      1. re: laliz

                        That's what I thought too. And I'm a dork as I didn't see in his title he said "at home." so the options are a lot more than what I listed.

                        1. re: laliz

                          I cut out lunch meat, because it's all basically crap. While I have done the low carb thing, I've noticed that since I completely cut out deli sandwiches, I've felt a lot better and basically lost weight without even trying. Probably because there is so much sodium in them you retain water. Plus, I noticed, the things I love about sandwiches are usually the veggies and the mayo!

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            also, lunch "meat"is normally high in saturated fat and concocted with chemicals that are less-than-healthy.
                            completely agree that lunch "meat" is a good thing to skip.
                            also, just so you know, i once went to a high-end grocery store with a deli case that included meats that looked like "real" meats. when i asked the clerk which of these meats had no added nitrates, nitrites, preservatives, etc. he told me that they inject that stuff into ALL the meats in the deli counter INCLUDING the roast turkey breast that they hand sliced to order.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              So many people have been sold the idea that turkey breast is healthy! It is so rarely EVER healthy!

                  2. I don't do cold cuts, mainly because why should I buy $10/pound turkey breast when I can grill a piece of chicken, slice it, and put it on a sandwich for a fraction of the cost? But I digress...

                    I have a few favorites, and mind you I lost 30 pounds last year so I am actively keeping that off:

                    1. One avocado mashed up with a 15 oz. can of cannellini beans. Add minced red onion, splash of lime juice, salt, and pepper. Smear it on a wrap (I like Garden City Flax Wrap) with some hot cabbage slaw (cabbage, oil, cider vinegar, minced chipotle). LOVE it. I could eat it daily. Plus lots of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, etc.

                    2. Sardines smashed up with a good olive oil, lots of minced fresh parsley, a little minced garlic, a splash of lemon juice. I especially like this on toast.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mels

                      I love the cannellini beans idea...I love them. Not digging the hot cabbage slaw, but that's a personal thing....maybe regular slaw

                      1. re: jhopp217

                        I love white bean dip and sometimes make a sandwich with it. I use canned white beans, olive oil, rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, salt & pepper smoothed into a dip in the food processor. I also like hummus and veggie sandwhiches (fresh or roasted!).

                      2. re: mels

                        Omfg these sound GOOD. I think I'm going to try both. I am a bit of a sandwich obsessive.

                        1. re: mels

                          The avocado + hot cabbage slaw sounds GREAT! Definitely will have to try that....

                          And I love any sort of "slaw" mix on sandwiches/wraps....

                        2. I don't eat sandwiches often, I prefer my bread on the side with my meal. But when I do feel like a sandwich, I like chicken salad. That's usually how I use up the very last bits of a roast chicken chopped up with a bit of sour cream (or yogurt) and whatever seasonings and add-ins I feel like that day.

                          If you need an easy to eat and easy to prepare lunch, can I suggest a wrap instead? As much as I love bread, a wrap seems to work b for me to make a meal. Food can be cut into strips and wrapped up isntead of needing to be flat to fit between slices of bread. Leftover meat of just about any sort can go in a wrap - I've done chicken strips, sliced up porkchops, left over salmon even. Add your favorite veggies and a dressing of some sort and you're good to go!

                          1. When you're in a hurry a fried egg sandwich is tough to beat. And get this, friends made me a scrambled egg sandwich on buttered toast with dill pickle slices! Sounded odd, tasted great.

                            Pressed sandwiches are nice because you make them ahead and they're just sitting in the fridge waiting for you. Anna Thomas' "New Vegetarian Epicure" has a nice one. She uses garlic, olive oil, olives, tomatoes, basil and parsley leaves, onion, arugula, roasted bell pepper, vinegar, and s&p. Fresh mozz, or parmesan, or whatever cheese you like.

                            Roasted red bell pepper and fresh goat cheese sandwiches are great.

                            I like to stuff Greek salad into pitas and call it lunch.

                            1. Riga sprats on rye with mustard.

                              1. I've cut out the lunchmeat too, trying to cut back on meat/dairy consumption, but losing wt as well. My main lunch these days is a tortilla wrap with hummus and any leftover veggies or main dish my wife can find, roll up, fix with a toothpick. I also like hummus and taboleh wraps, fresh sprout s are great and we grow our own. the wraps do hold the filling in better than bread. Also, our local boutique food shop has fresh ground honey roasted peanut butter which makes a phenomenal sandwhich. Got my basic hummus recipe here, but alwas zip it up with our favorite add ins. http://www.chow.com/recipes/10543-egg...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dijon

                                  I love hummus and hummus and tomato sandwiches, wraps, etc are one of my go to quick fixes

                                2. roast chicken or turkey--I mean actual fowl that you have roasted--with your choice of sandwich additions

                                  Hummus and roasted veggies

                                  Sliced egg, spinach and bacon

                                  falafel patties in a pita

                                  leftover meat or fowl ground up for potted meat spread

                                  homemade pimiento cheese with sprouts or lettuce on whole wheat bread.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I eat this for breakfast every work day.....my favorite!

                                      1. re: jenscats5

                                        When I die, I want to be buried in a huge life-size PB&J sandwich "coffin".

                                    2. I likes anchovies, roasted red bell pepper and super thin sliced onion with mayo on toasted marble rye. mmm mmm. Also try a Jr. Deluxe, no meat at Wendy's, .99, tastes great!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                        i love "doctored up" grilled cheeses, why don't i ever think to do great fast food burgers minus beef - i will now!

                                      2. Lemmie offer up a suggestion that will also help you with cutting out the crap. Make your own mayo. It's very easy and much healthier.

                                        For 2 egg yolks add 1 - 2 tbsp of dijon mustard and about the same amount of lemon juice. Whirl in a food processor and slowly add canola oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream. You should easily get a pint of oil in there. Adjust mustard and lemon juice to your taste.
                                        Much healthier than store bought stuff. On my diet mayo is a no-no but all of the above items are okay. (1 egg yolk/day)


                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Davwud

                                          I have never understood making your own mayo when Hellman's tastes so good. I've had homemade mayo and it is great, but it';s not Hellman's

                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                            Hellman's is not on my diet. The ingredients to make mayo is.


                                          2. re: Davwud

                                            I'm not sure I buy that homemade is healthier than store bought. Certainly not enough to make a big difference in the OPs cutting out the crap.

                                            Both homemade and store bought are indulgence foods, but I'll stick with my Duke's for its combo of great taste and convenience.

                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              You know, it's been ages since I've made mayo. Last time I made it way too thin and haven't done it since. Your post has inspired me.
                                              The discussion sent me looking for my beloved Hellman's ingredient list. Had to google calcium disodium edta, but what frosted me was "natural flavors". Why, oh why, are food labels so unhelpful? Fermented fish lips could be natural flavor...I'd like to know what the flavoring is. Drives me crazy. I know it's not only Hellman's Mayo, it's just that the label sent me into a tizzy.

                                              DT, I'm going to give it another go. :)

                                              1. re: Georgia Sommers

                                                Too thin may be too little emulsifier (yolk, mustard) or just not enough oil. The more oil, the tighter it will get. I've made it almost too stuff.

                                                I have an old Hellman's squeeze bottle that I use. I fill a zip top bag with the mayo and pipe it into the squeeze bottle.


                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                  ah, thanks for the tips. I've been in a mood to buy less and make more so this fits right in. Thanks!

                                            2. Fresh mozzarella on sour dough country white with artichoke hearts (I try to buy the whole ones with stems), roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, basil, olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar. Cold cuts are out but why not splurge on an ounce of proscuitto on this? It's good without, but divine with.
                                              Grilled, aged cheddar cheese, again on country white or whole grain (buttered on the outside) with honey mustard -- simple and irresistible.
                                              Ricotta, carmelized onions, and anchovies.
                                              Freshly roasted turkey breast, red onion, tomato slices, arugala and aioli.
                                              Hummus with tahini dressing (just stir some tahini into vanilla yogurt), a handful of chopped parsley,

                                              1. Pressed focaccia sandwich with tomato, feta & basil. May be not as healthy as you want so you can try using another type of bread but should be pressed.

                                                Cilantro chutney or pesto with cream cheese with or w/out cucumbers on sliced bread of choice.

                                                Grilled/sauteed veggies w/ pepper jack on wheat tortilla

                                                1. One of our favorites is a layer of cream cheese topped with chopped veggies (cukes, bell peppers, carrots), sunflower seeds, and fresh dill. Some shredded extra sharp cheddar is good in there, too.

                                                  1. I looooove roasted vegetables on sandwiches. Zucchini, red pepper, eggplant and red onions are my favorites, especially on bread that is slathered with pesto and has just a little bit of cheese. You can also do any variation of hummus (or, "bean spread"). Make one from black beans and put it on bread spread with salsa, tomatoes, red onion, avocado and topped with monterey jack cheese. Try an Indian-inspired one on bread with tomato-ginger chutney, spinach, red onions and grated carrots. (Recipes here: http://www.mvegetarianrecipes.ca/reci...). An Italian-ish white bean version would be good with my roasted veggies and pesto. I will also scramble an egg and cook it so it's omelette-like, and then add it to just about any sandwich to make "breakfast".

                                                    1. I love to make pate sandwiches, with whatever vegetables I have around. Cornichons taste great, as well as tomatoes (in season) and greens. Definitely a change of texture, and quite filling.

                                                      Another one that I like is minced chicken on toast, which came from Judith Jones' wonderful cookbook. It's very easy: take some leftover chicken and mince it up (I just throw it in the food processor). Then make a very small bit of bechamel sauce, thin it out with some sherry, and use it to bind the chicken. I toast my bread at work, then spread on the chicken. I like to have this with a side salad.

                                                      1. Don't forget grilled cheese.

                                                        1. Vegemite, melted butter, tomato. Sometimes with cheese and/or lettuce and/or onions.

                                                          Ever since reading A Wrinkle in Time, I've been fond of liverwurst and cream cheese.

                                                          1. Balsamic glazed sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions and garlic, gruyere, and freshly ground salt and pepper.

                                                            Pita stuffed with roasted chicken, hummus, cucumber, tomato, olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh parsley

                                                            Roasted Butternut Squash, caramelized onions, crushed toasted almonds or hazelnuts, crispy sage and a browned butter smear..

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. Hummous bi Tahin in a pita, also stuffed with shredded lettuce and diced tomato, topped w/ garlic yogurt mixed w/ diced cukes. Oh yeah. Grilled cheese; awesome. I also like to use the Foreman to grill vegetables to layer with cheese on wheat bread.
                                                              Your go-to sandwich sounds awfullly tasty.

                                                              1. When I was trying to lose weight I used to take to work large container of chopped lettuce and other vegetables and a small container of cottage cheese processed smooth with herbs etc. Mix the two and stuff it into a partially-split pita.

                                                                Two more: 1) Egg & olive (hard-cooked eggs chopped and mixed with mayonnaise and pimiento-stuffed olives; eat this on whole wheat bread with lettuce. 2) Sliced chicken with Tahini Mint Mayonnaise (commercial mayo plus tahini, lemon juice, dried mint, a bit of garlic and hot red pepper).

                                                                1. I haven't read this thread, but low-fat cream cheese or neufchatel (are they the same, or different?) and sliced green pimento-stufed olives on the bread of your choice, or even spread on a romaine leaf or two- is an awesome sandwich.

                                                                  1. egg salad on whole wheat w/thinly sliced cucumbers

                                                                    1. not healthy, but man do i love a cream cheese and jelly sandwich.

                                                                      you could also do cucumber with cream cheese...kinda like a tea sandwich.

                                                                      i love tomato, mozz, basil, and balsamic sandwiches.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: rizzo0904

                                                                        I second the tomato, mozz and basil...either with balsamic or skip the leaf basil and do a grilled cheese with pesto

                                                                      2. I've been enjoying for breakfast toasted English muffins with broiled cheddar on top -- I still have a litle bit of leftover ham from Christmas and nestle that under a slice of cheese before broiling. Other option is the broiled cheese with some good slices of ripe avocado and a sprinkling of kosher salt and good grind of pepper. Good for lunch, dinner or breakfast!

                                                                        1. Favorite all time sandwiches:
                                                                          Left over potroast inbetween buttered toast
                                                                          Roast beef green chilis and mayo on a crusty roll
                                                                          Fried egg, breakfast sausage, cheese & mayo on 9 grain

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: othervoice

                                                                            I use spreadable chevre goat cheese, finely chopped fresh watercress, black pepper then stir in a minced clove of garlic or a shallot. Spread thickly on multigrain bread, top with thin slices of cucumber and eat open faced. Delish!

                                                                            Sardines are really healthy and tasty and are delicious in a sandwich with spinach that's been sauteed with garlic and chile flakes.

                                                                            Another winner is basically a salad nicoise, minus the potatoes, in sandwich form. Try it, but be sure to make a strong Dijon vinaigrette with anchovy and tarragon to brush on both sides of a crusty roll.

                                                                            The best sandwich I ever had was in Tunisia. It contained tomatoes, onions, peppers, preserved lemon peel, cucumbers, olives, potatoes, tuna, hard boiled egg, harissa and a drizzle of olive oil. On a fresh baguette still warm from the oven, it was sublime.

                                                                          2. Souvlaki or Gyros sandwich (like an "Olga's", if you know that chain).
                                                                            Falafel sandwich.

                                                                            1. One of my favorite (vegetarian) sandwich is from Darwin's cafe in Cambridge, MA which I've replicated at home. The ingredients are: hummus, avocado, apple (tart like Granny Smith), carrots, tomato, sprouts, honey mustard and cheddar. Yum!

                                                                              Everything in moderation. Bread is not all bad or unhealthy. Choose whole grain grains and/or the thin sandwich bread that they sell now.

                                                                              1. If I have leftover shrimp, I love it on a sandwich...I slice them and thin slice sweet onions with them. I was a huge fan of pepper and egg sandwiches (even cold)--in a bit of olive oil, quick-saute bell pepper and onion and a pinch of salt, add beaten eggs (or egg whites, or a mix thereof). Chick pea salad in a pita is also satisfying and yummy....lots of variations on the salad mix depending on what you want (or don't want) in it.

                                                                                1. No big source of protein. Cut out the cold cuts and do it yourself Tri-tip is a great cut you can cook and then store, slicing it for sandwiches. I like mine with grilled onions, tomato, avocado and mustard.

                                                                                  You like tuna, how about a seared tuna steak? Do a little wasabi or wasabi mayo with it, some sprouts, tomato, butter lettuce... yummy.

                                                                                  1. My adult children are repulsed by this BUT sardines any brand in any sauce (prefer bone in) with slices of white onion on any thick sliced bread with any mustard.Also peeled English cucumbers sliced and piled high onto bread spread with a smidgen of Best Foods mayo and sprinkled with sea salt.Last sliced tomatoes with sea salt Best Foods on any bread but honestly nothing is safe in my house.Sandwiches are one of my favorite things to eat so I can always find some good combinations in the fridge.BTW good job on losing 50 lbs :)!

                                                                                    1. Tuna salad, chicken salad, deviled egg salad; REAL corned beef I cooked myself - not deli corned beef - REAL sliced turkey I cooked myself - not deli; grilled cheese; Italian sandwiches like Chicken Parm, Eggplant Parm, Meatballs, Sausage & Peppers, etc., etc. There are plenty of non-cold-cut sandwiches out there.

                                                                                      I'm also a big fan of canned sardines - with a little mayo or not - on good bread with lettuce & very thinly sliced red onion.