Life is too short for boring sandwiches, so liven up your lunches with these five delicious recipes inspired by grab-and-go varieties from around the world.
Despite lunch being a highlight of most people’s working days, it’s easy not to plan ahead – especially when working from home. By the time the clock strikes 12pm and your stomach is growling, you may find yourself throwing together the quickest sandwich you can in order to maximise your time going for a walk/having a midday shower/scrolling through Instagram.
But there are few things as satisfying as a perfectly proportioned sandwich, and we reckon the simple lunchtime staple deserves some special attention – not least because inspiration may be running low during lockdown.
With that in mind, we’re turning to Posh Sandwiches (£12.99, Quadrille), a compilation of over 70 recipes celebrating the grab-and-go meal inspired by culinary classics from around the world. From wraps and tortillas to paninis and picnic loaves, the cookbook is filled with healthy and delicious ideas that will keep you happy until dinner.
Looking to reinvent your everyday lunches? Below, you’ll find five recipes to help you get started. If you’re a fan of doorstep sandwiches piled high with experimental fillings, then the Provencal pan bagnat and Roman-style sausage and broccoli buns will make perfect WFH lunches.
For days when you’re dining al fresco with friends, the stuffed picnic loaf will make light work of kitchen prep, and is perfect for packed lunches. And if you’re after a simple but sophisticated snack for your socially distanced garden party, the halloumi with green goddess sauce or pickled cucumber and hot smoked trout won’t fail to impress.
You’ll never look a shop-bought sandwich the same way again…
Stuffed picnic loaf
You can make this mega sandwich up to two days in advance and chill until required. Perfect for a picnic or packed lunches. Use the scooped-out bread centre to make crispy croutons for salads or soup.
Takes 30 minutes, plus standing
- 1 x 400g (14oz) round crusty loaf
- 2 tbsp green pesto
- 2 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
- 75g (2½oz) sliced fennel salami
- 75g (2½oz) roasted peppers from a jar, drained
- 75g (2½oz) chargrilled artichokes in oil, drained
- 50g (1¾oz) sun-blushed tomatoes, drained
- 25g (scant 1oz) Parmesan cheese
- large handful basil leaves
- 150g (5½oz) mozzarella cheese, drained
- 80g (2¾oz) Parma ham
- large handful rocket (arugula)
- freshly ground black pepper
Use a bread knife to cut off the top of the loaf about two-thirds of the way up. Scoop out most of the doughy middle and a layer of the lid, leaving a bread shell. Mix the pesto and mayo together and spread inside the base and lid of the loaf right up the sides.
Line the base of the loaf with the salami. Roughly chop the peppers, artichokes and tomatoes.
Mix these together and spread half on top of the salami. Use a potato peeler to shave half the Parmesan cheese over the top, then scatter over a few torn basil leaves.
Pat the mozzarella dry on kitchen paper, then slice.
Lay a single layer on top of the basil, followed by all the Parma ham and half the rocket – flatten down with the back of your hand as you go. Repeat with another layer of chopped vegetables, more Parmesan and mozzarella, and keep going until you have used up all the ingredients. Season each layer with a twist of black pepper.
Replace the lid of the loaf, gently press together and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for 2–3 hours.
Cut into generous wedges to serve.
Roman-style sausage & broccoli buns
The broccoli becomes melt-in-the-mouth tender and the bread soaks up all the delicious juices. These sandwiches are a meal in one glorious handful.
Takes 20 minutes
- 200g (7oz) tenderstem broccoli
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 good-quality sausages
- 1 onion, sliced
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- a knob of butter
- 4 ciabatta rolls, or other crusty bread rolls
Cook the broccoli in a pan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain, reserving about half a cup of the cooking liquid. Cool the broccoli under cold running water to stop it cooking any further. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat. Cook the sausages, turning them frequently for about 10 minutes, or until they are browned all over. Add the onion, chilli flakes and fennel seeds, and fry for 5 minutes until lightly golden and starting to soften.
Tip in the cooked broccoli and heat through. Increase the heat, pour in about 3 tablespoons of the cooking water and the butter, and shake the pan to emulsify the juices. Remove from the heat.
To serve, split the bread rolls in half, divide the sausages and broccoli equally between the buns and spoon over the onion and any pan juices.
Pickled cucumber & smoked trout rolls
These rolls make for a sophisticated light lunch. You could make double the dill mustard dressing and keep it in the fridge to dress any salad leaves before serving.
Takes 15 minutes
For the dill mustard dressing:
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- 1½ tbsp white wine vinegar, plus a drizzle
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- handful dill, finely chopped
- salt and black pepper
For the cucumber salad:
- 2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 dill pickle, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 brown bread rolls
- 4 tbsp cream cheese
- 250g (9oz) hot-smoked trout
Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, mustard and sugar until combined and emulsified – the dressing should look yellow and creamy. Stir in most of the dill, reserving some for sprinkling, and season.
To make the salad, tip the cucumbers, dill pickle and shallot into the bowl with the dressing and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Cut the rolls in half. Lightly toast the cut sides of the rolls under a hot grill. Remove and spread each bottom half with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese.
Flake over the trout, then spoon over the cucumber salad and any dressing. Sprinkle with the reserved dill, sandwich with the top of the rolls and serve immediately.
Provencal pan bagnat
The perfect food to pack up for a seaside picnic, this sandwich really benefits from sitting around for an hour or so to allow all of the classic niçoise flavours to meld and the bread to soak up the juices.
Takes 20 minutes, plus standing
- 4 medium eggs
- 6 baby potatoes
- 6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 200g (7oz) mixed pitted olives, roughly chopped
- cracked black pepper
- 2 large ciabatta loaves
- large handful parsley, chopped
- 2 red (bell) peppers from a jar, drained and sliced
- 2 x 200-g (7-oz) cans tuna fish in oil, drained
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
Cook the eggs and potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 9 minutes. Check the potatoes – they should be tender. If they are still hard, remove the eggs and carry on cooking the potatoes until easily pierced with a sharp knife.
Drain and run under cold running water to cool.
Drain again, then peel the eggs. Thinly slice the potatoes and the eggs. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the anchovies, capers, garlic and mustard. Whisk in the oil and vinegar. Fold in the shallot and olives, and season with black pepper.
Split the ciabatta loaves in half lengthways. Stir the parsley into the anchovy mixture, then spread most of it over the cut sides of the bread.
Arrange the sliced eggs and potatoes over one side, followed by the red peppers, then drizzle over a little of the remaining dressing.
Flake the tuna onto the other side of the bread and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Lay the tomatoes on top. Carefully sandwich the two halves together and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Leave to stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or chill until ready to slice and serve.
Halloumi sandwich with green goddess sauce
Green goddess sauce, given a creamy addition with ripe avocado, complements the salty, slightly sharp halloumi wonderfully.
Takes 20 minutes
For the green goddess sauce:
- 1 ripe avocado, stoned and peeled
- juice ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 mild green chilli, roughly chopped
- ½ garlic clove, crushed
- handful coriander
- salt and black pepper
For the sandwiches:
- 250g (9oz) block halloumi cheese
- 8 baby plum tomatoes
- olive oil
- 8 slices sourdough bread
Start by making the green goddess sauce. Roughly chop the avocado and put it into the bowl of a food processor with the lemon juice, yogurt, chilli and garlic. Roughly chop most of the coriander and add it to the bowl, reserving a few leaves. Season and pulse until almost smooth. Cover and set aside.
Heat a griddle pan to high. Cut the halloumi into eight slices and cook for 5 minutes, turning halfway through until charred and soft. Add the tomatoes to the pan. Griddle the tomatoes for 2–3 minutes – you just want them to begin to soften and the skins to pop. Remove, halve the tomatoes and season with a little salt and a drizzle of oil.
Griddle the bread on both sides until warm and lightly toasted. Spread four slices with green goddess sauce, then lay a couple of slices of halloumi and some tomato halves on top. Finish with a sprinkle of the reserved coriander leaves and sandwich with the remaining bread.
Posh Sandwiches (£12.99, Quadrille) is out now
Photography: Faith Mason
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.