This month, we pay tribute to a nostalgic favorite food with National Sandwich Month! Though people have been putting meat and bread together for centuries in a variety of ways, sandwiches as we know them today are much the same as they were when the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague (1718-1792) invented them out of necessity. Food lore claims that this Earl was gambling for 24 straight hours one night and requested something he could eat without interrupting his game. The London club he was playing at provided beef slices and cheese between two pieces of bread, achieving a meal now familiar to people around the world.
Though sandwiches were invented as a convenience food, they can make for a very healthy meal. Whether your sandwich is in a sack lunch, at high tea, at a barbecue, in a fancy restaurant or at a picnic, summertime provides many opportunities for this on-the-go meal. Sandwiches are a prime opportunity to pack in veggies at any time of the day: Add tomato and spinach to your breakfast sandwich, cucumber and onion to a burger, avocado and sauerkraut to spice up a typical cold lunch sandwich, or hummus as a spread on your favorite wrap … the possibilities are endless.
In honor of National Sandwich Month, here is one of my favorites — a quick and easy vegan sandwich perfect for a busy summer night.
Barbecue Tempeh Sandwiches with Carrot Slaw
Recipe developed by Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, LDN
Yields 4 sandwiches
8 oz. organic tempeh, sliced thinly
¾ cup barbecue sauce (read the label to avoid high fructose corn syrup or preservatives)
4 whole wheat buns
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon celery seeds
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place tempeh slices in a 9×9 glass baking dish and cover with barbecue sauce. Marinate for one hour, then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- While tempeh is baking, prepare carrot slaw by whisking vinegar, garlic, cumin, oregano and celery seed in a small bowl. Combine cabbage and carrots gently in a large bowl and fold sauce into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm barbecue tempeh on toasted whole wheat buns and top with carrot slaw. Serve immediately.
Nutritional info per serving (1 sandwich): Calories 370; Carbohydrate 57 g; Fiber 7.2 g; Protein 18.5g; Total fat 8 g; Sodium 944 mg; Star nutrients Potassium 517 mg, Vitamin A (95% DV), calcium (13% DV), Vitamin C (26% DV), Iron (22%DV)