Jenny's Raw Recipe Blog

Thinking Outside the Bread - Raw Food Sandwiches and Wraps

Posted on June 01 2010 | (0) Comments
Category: Easy Raw Meals Tags: raw wrap recipes

You’re hungry, in a hurry, and want to grab something quick to eat.  What’s the answer?  If you said, ‘sandwich,’ we’re on the same wavelength.  Raw food sandwiches are perfect for today’s on-the-go lifestyle.  They’re quick, easy, and extremely portable.

But best of all, raw food sandwiches and raw food wraps don’t weigh you down with lots of unnecessary sugar and processed white flour.  That’s a recipe for good taste and good health.

The Earl Would Not Be Pleased

Question:  "If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you eat?" The answer: "The sand which is there."   I know that’s a groaner of a pun, but although the sandwich has nothing to do with sand, it does have a vague connection with island life...Hawaiian island life.

The Hawaiian Islands were once called "The Sandwich Islands."  They were named for the very same person for whom the edible sandwich was named, John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich.

Montagu introduced the portable, between-the-bread meal in Great Britain in the 1700’s, and the first settlers brought the idea with them to American shores.  Since then, we’ve spent the last 300 years turning the Earl’s simple sandwich into a high-calorie catastrophe.  Today, unfortunately, many popular sandwiches are loaded with salty, processed meats; high fat cheeses, and heart-clogging condiments and ‘secret sauce’ toppings. 

And then there’s the bread itself.  Most bread comes from wheat flour, which is one of the highest glycemic foods there is. Few foods will spike your blood glucose more and faster than wheat flour.

Just how high are high-calorie sandwiches?  Voted the ‘Worst Sandwich in America,’

Quizno’s large Tuna Melt delivers 1,760 calories and 133 grams of fat plus 2,120 mg sodium.  That’s a day’s worth of calories, fat, and sodium all in one meal!

Bread Begone

The problem with traditional sandwiches is that they tend to weigh us down, rather than give us long-lasting energy to get through the day.  You can understand why I wanted to be sure that my cookbook Raw Food Make Easy for 1 or 2 People included some raw food sandwich recipe alternatives.

In Raw Food Make Easy for 1 or 2 People my suggestion for making healthier sandwiches involves nothing more than a simple replacement strategy.  Lose the bread and wrap your hands around a raw food sandwich made with leaves -- lettuce leaves, collard leaves --  or the ultimate rolling wrapper:  nori sheets.  (Nori is seaweed and you’re probably familiar with nori sheets as wrappers for your favorite sushi rolls.)

Lettuce and collard leaves and big, broad, and sturdy.  To make a raw food wrap, like the Garden Wrap in the picture, collard greens are the perfect choice for a technique I call stack, stuff, and roll.  First, trim the collard stem so that the leaf is more flexible. Then mix together whatever filling ingredients you like.  The Garden Wrap has mushrooms, unions, cucumbers, carrots, and tamari.  Stack the stuffing on the leaf and roll it burrito-style, tucking the ends in as you go.  

Cut it in on a diagonal to reveal the filling.  Then go to town!

Nothing Will Remain When You Use Romaine

Use Romaine lettuce to make sandwiches.  Place one on your plate, pile your favorite sandwich fillings high, and then top it with another leaf. 

These Romaine Sandwiches are as easy to make as easy as any traditional sandwich, and much more satisfying with twice the crunch and none of the flour.  One of my favorite raw food sandwiches is the Veggie Sub Sandwich.  Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 large Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts (you may substitute clover sprouts, if you wish)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 6 thin slices of cucumber
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, sliced
  • 6 thin slices of onion
  • 1 tablespoon dressing

Place a Romaine leaf on a 9” lunch plate.  Arrange the sprouts on top, followed in order by the cucumber, tomato, and onion.  The soft sprouts make a nice bed for the other layers and this particular order accents the color of each ingredient.

Here’s another tip. Slicing your cucumbers extra thin will make them soft and pliable within the sandwich.  To achieve the best cut for the cucumber and the onion, use a mandoline.  Don’t have this piece of kitchen equipment at your house?  No problem!  A sharp knife and a little patience will do the trick.

When you’ve finished with the filling ingredients, drizzle on your dressing and then top with another Romaine leaf and serve immediately. 

Depending on my mood, I may ‘dress’ this sandwich with the Lemon Herb Dressing or Ranch Dressing that I included in Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People.  Frankly, the raw food ingredients are pretty darn tasty on their own, so the dressing really is optional.

I grew up eating soup ‘n’ sandwich, so I sometimes pair this sandwich with my raw Cream of Tomato soup.  Delish!

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