Hearty breads and fresh fillings have transformed the sandwich into a main course meal.

How’d you like a third of your daily protein and a significant percentage of your calcium in a package that fits in the palm of your hand. And what if it tasted fabulous and took just ten minutes to prepare. A balanced meal in hand is just what you’ll get from our sandwich recipes.

Each of these vegetarian sandwiches whether made with spicy lentils, seared tempeh, or smashed chick peas – give a new meaning to the term “square meal.” They’re flavorful, vitamin-rich, and just as protein-dense (about 15 grams per sandwich) as old stand-bys like tuna fish or grilled cheese.

In fact, a closer look at a traditional sandwich reveals that it just can’t stack up to ours. The typical egg salad sandwich made with hard-cooked eggs, onions, and mayonnaise packs a walloping 33 grams of fat, 328 mg of cholesterol (that’s more than you should have in an entire day!), and 1166 mg of sodium (half your daily allowance). What it doesn’t contain is vitamins and fiber. Our no-egg salad contains a third of the fat, half of the sodium, and no cholesterol – yet gives you a quarter of your calcium and vitamin C.

Here we’ve developed nine delicious sandwiches that pack in the vegetables, grains, and legumes – adding up to a significant percentage of protein, vitamins, fiber, and calcium. So make a sandwich your next square, or perhaps we should say, well-rounded meal.


Serves 4

This warm sandwich would make a great casual supper, since it’s a snap to put together at the last moment. You could easily substitute a block of firm tofu for the tempeh.

  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 small purple cabbage, cored and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 small green cabbage, cored and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 4 12-inch flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in medium nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add tempeh and saute, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon soy sauce and turn heat to high. Cook, turning occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cut tempeh crosswise into thin slices.
  2. Heat wok over high heat. When almost smoking, add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add cabbages and carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and remaining 1 tablespoon each sesame oil and soy sauce. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat.
  3. Heat each tortilla in large skillet set over medium heat until warm. Lay on flat surface and spread each with 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce. Spoon portion of ginger slaw down center and top with several slices of tempeh. Roll up, tucking sides towards center to form a bundle. Slice each roll in half and serve warm.

PER SANDWICH: 342 calories, 15g protein, 17g fat, 36g carbohydrates, 6.2g fiber, 944mg sodium, 82% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 9% calcium


Serves 4

The topping for this warm and comforting sandwich resembles guacamole – and contains almost 100 percent of your daily vitamin C.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 4 cups)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 4 large slices grain bread, each about 1-inch thick
  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add tomatoes, pinch of salt, and several grindings of pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and avocado and saute for 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice, pine nuts, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toast grain bread until quite crisp and place on four large plates. Top each with portion of cherry tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

PER SANDWICH: 464 calories, 12g protein, 34g fat, 39g carbohydrates, 8.9g fiber, 210mg sodium, 24% vitamin A, 96% vitamin C, 7% calcium


Serves 4

Red lentils, also called Turkish lentils, are skinned and split, thus enabling them to cook in less time than their green counterparts. Like all lentils, they are rich in protein, energy-giving complex carbohydrates, and essential nutrients like iron and folacin.

  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Salt
  • 2 cups clover sprouts
  • 2 pieces lavash bread, each about 10-inches square
  1. Bring vegetable stock (or water) to boil in medium saucepan. Add lentils, parsnips, and carrots. Partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender and liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add onion, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and cayenne pepper and saute until mustard seeds finish popping, about 3 minutes. Stir into lentil mixture and season with salt to taste.
  3. Place lavash on flat surface and scatter 1 cup clover sprouts over each piece. Spoon half of lentils down center of each piece of lavash and roll up. Cut rolls in half to make four sandwiches and serve immediately.

PER SANDWICH: 385 calories, 15g protein, 10g fat, 60g carbohydrates, 11.4g fiber, 275mg sodium, 97% vitamin A, 19% vitamin C, 19% calcium


Serves 4

The broccoli rabe has a pleasant bitter zing, which is nicely balanced by the sweet raisins, salty olives, and spicy pepper flakes. Like other leafy greens, broccoli rabe is a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, and other cancer-fighting substances.

  • 2 pounds broccoli rabe, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as desired
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 pound oil-cured black olives, pitted and quartered (about
  • 1/2 cup)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • 8 medium-thin slices sourdough or country white bread
  1. Cut off and discard tough bottom stems of broccoli rabe. Separate leaves and florets from stems. Chop stems into bite-sized pieces and coarsely chop leaves.
  2. Bring 4 cups water to boil in large skillet. Add broccoli rabe, stir to dampen all leaves, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until broccoli rabe is tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set broccoli rabe aside.
  3. Place skillet back on stove over medium heat. When dry, add oil and heat briefly. Add raisins, olives, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. Saute for 30 seconds. Stir in broccoli rabe, saute for 1 minute, and season with salt to taste.
  4. Lightly toast each slice of bread. Place one slice each on four large plates and heap each with portion of broccoli rabe. Drizzle with more oil to taste and top with another piece of sourdough toast. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

PER SANDWICH: 394 calories, 14g protein, 14g fat, 63g carbohydrates, 9.7g fiber, 551mg sodium, 37% vitamin A, 355% vitamin C, 22% calcium


Serves 4

This is an excellent sandwich to bring to work. To prevent the pita bread from becoming soggy, pack the filling in a lidded plastic container, the pita in a plastic bag, and scoop the salad into the pita just before serving. Each sandwich supplies 15 percent of the RDA for calcium and iron.

  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, tough parts discarded and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 small purple cabbage, cored and shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 large whole wheat pita rounds, cut in half, or 4 small whole wheat pita rounds, slit open at the top
  1. Combine garlic, tahini, lime juice, hot red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup water in small bowl. Stir until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place chickpeas in medium bowl and lightly mash with fork or potato masher. Add fennel, cabbage, red pepper, and mint. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Spoon portion of salad into each pita pocket and serve.

PER SANDWICH: 302 calories, 12g protein, log fat, 45g carbohydrates, 9.1g fiber, 492mg sodium, 10% vitamin A, 74% vitamin C, 16% calcium


Serves 4

Puffy Italian bread, known as focaccia, is available in Mediterranean bakeries and specialty markets. Although the mushrooms provide much of the texture and bulk in this sandwich, don’t skimp on the arugula; it delivers excellent flavor and a healthy dose of vitamin C.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 medium portobello mushrooms (about 2 pounds), stems discarded and caps cut into thick slices
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 bunches arugula, washed and trimmed (about 8 cups)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced thin
  • 4 pieces focaccia, each about
  • 4 inches by 6 inches
  1. Heat oil in nonstick skillet set over high heat. When hot, add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium low and add garlic, mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Saute for 1 minute and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in arugula and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
  2. Horizontally split each piece of focaccia in half. Pile portion of mushroom mixture on bottom piece of focaccia. Cover with several tomato slices and top with other piece of focaccia. Cut sandwiches in half and serve immediately.

PER SANDWICH: 499 calories, 11g protein, 17g fat, 64g carbohydrates, 13.2g fiber, 704mg sodium, 13% vitamin A, 30% vitamin C, 7% calcium


Serves 4

This recipe uses pureed silken tofu to create a smooth, creamy dressing and crumbled firm tofu to take the place of the hard-boiled egg.

  • 1/2 pound soft silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound firm tofu
  • 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 4 bagels
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced thin
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
  1. Combine silken tofu, dill, lemon juice, rice syrup, mustard, and turmeric in food processor. Pulse until creamy and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Crumble firm tofu in medium bowl and add celery and onion. Add dressing and stir until blended.
  3. Horizontally split each bagel in half. Spread bagel bottom with no-egg salad and cover with tomato slices, sprouts, and bagel top. (Or, spread each bagel half with no-egg salad and top with tomato slices and sprouts.) Serve immediately.

PER SANDWICH: 395 calories, 26g protein, 11g fat, 52g carbohydrates, 5.3g fiber, 529mg sodium, 6% vitamin A, 26% vitamin C, 26% calcium


Serves 4

Although the ingredient list is long, this sandwich takes very little time to prepare. Whole wheat couscous is slightly denser than regular couscous, so it sticks together well and will not fall out of the tortilla.

  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1/2 small cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, tough parts discarded and chopped(about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 12-inch flour tortillas
  1. Bring 1 1/4 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Add currants and couscous, cover, remove from heat, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine cucumber, yellow pepper, fennel, kidney beans, and scallions in large bowl. Fluff couscous with fork and add to vegetables. Add oil, orange and lemon juices, and mint. Toss and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat each tortilla in large skillet set over medium heat until warm. Place tortilla on flat surface and spoon portion of couscous down middle. Roll up, tucking sides towards center to form a bundle. Cut burritos in half and serve immediately.

PER SANDWICH: 324 calories, loci protein, 9g fat, 53g carbohydrates, 9.5g fiber, 482mg sodium, 3% vitamin A, 98% vitamin C, 6% calcium


Keeping It Together

Beyond sliced loaves, here are your options.

* Focaccia: This dimpled Italian hearth bread is often strewn with herbs, onions, olives, and other savory items and is best enjoyed heated. For sandwiches, focaccia works best when used as a base upon which to layer or heap warm or cold ingredients.

* Lavosh/Lahvosh/Lavash: Spelled numerous ways, this Middle Eastern flat bread comes in soft rectangles and crisp rounds, called Armenian cracker bread. The soft rectangles have a slightly corrugated surface and are ideal for holding long, flat ingredients or dense salads and bean fillings.

* Mountain Bread: Sweeter and tangier than lavosh, this round flat bread has its roots in the Middle East. Mountain Bread comes in white, whole wheat, and multi-grain and nicely cradles dense ingredients such as roasted vegetables and soy cheese.

* Pita or Pocket Bread: This disk-shaped Middle Eastern flat bread comes in white, whole wheat, oat bran, or multi-grain. Each round has a hollow center that can be split apart by cutting the pita in half. The pocket is particularly good for holding loose salads and potentially drippy fillings.

* Tortilla: Available in corn or flour (white, whole wheat, and grain), this unleavened Mexican flat bread comes in rounds that vary in size from six to twelve inches in diameter. Available fresh or frozen in most supermarkets, tortillas are best heated (try toasting them in a dry skillet for a minute or so) before wrapping around virtually any type of filling. Tortillas can be rolled or folded into neat little bundles.