“An item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese or other filling between them.” That’s the formal definition of a sandwich, and it’s been in use for centuries. While the sandwich has been experiencing a dramatic evolution recently, Tori Avey at PBS writes that the word “sandwich” was first used in a published recipe all the way back in 1773, which no doubt included bread.
But who says that you have to use bread to hold it all together? Who says you can’t experiment and innovate? Though bread may be the standard when it comes to sandwich making, it’s by no means your only option. In fact, there are a smorgasbord of delicious sandwiches that don’t use any bread.
Whether you’re trying to reduce your carbs, you’re allergic to gluten or you simply want to try something a little different, here are 14 no bread sandwiches that should get your culinary juices flowing and make your taste buds happy.
Low Carb Cucumber Sandwiches
Here’s one that’s ideal if you’re a health conscious eater or want to cut back on carbs. And it’s drop-dead easy. Tammy Kresge at Organize Yourself Skinny says there are two ways to prepare the cucumber: You can just cut them into slices, or you can cut them into chunks and remove the seeds. Both techniques work well — it’s simply a matter of preference.
For the filling, Tammy suggests using hummus, shredded carrots, turkey and the cheese of your choice.
But that’s just one way to go about it, and the Edible Harmony team has their own unique take. They recommend using roast beef, lettuce, shredded carrots, sliced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and your favorite condiments as the filling.
More specifically, hand-sliced deli style roast beef tends to work best. The thinner the slices, the better.
If you’re looking for a slightly exotic taste, the jibarito sandwich is just the ticket. As Rebekah Garcia point out in Kitchen Gidget, this Puerto Rican plantain sandwich is one of a kind and completely amazing.
It starts with two fried plantains for bread (one plantain should yield two slices). Then fill with meat such as steak, chicken pork or deli meat — pastrami works well.
Layer with lettuce and tomato and mayo ketchup sauce, which Vanessa Mota of Smart Little Cookie explains is made by combining 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 ½ tablespoons of ketchup and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
Add cheese and onions if desired and you’re all set.
The Super Sandwich with Hash Brown Buns
The Allrecipes team presents an interesting alternative to bread in the form of hash brown buns. It works by placing tater tots or some type of potato nuggets in a waffle iron and cooking for three to five minutes until it resembles a slice of bread.
Then repeat until you’ve got two “hash brown buns.” Fill with ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss and a slice of tomato. Finally, add mayo, mustard or whatever condiment tickles your fancy and you’re good to go.
Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich
Chicken and waffles is a tasty culinary combo that’s especially popular in Pennsylvania Dutch country and the Southern United States. Jonathan Melendez of The Candid Appetite offers his own unique take on this classic dish with his fried chicken and waffle sandwich.
But there’s a twist.
Rather than using traditional waffles, he opts to use bacon/cheddar/green onion waffles, which pair perfectly with buttermilk fried chicken. As for the condiment, Jonathan recommends maple mustard sauce to truly make this dish pop.
Grilled Eggplant Turkey Sandwich
Eggplant is quite palatable on its own. But grill it and fill it with sliced turkey, cream cheese, fresh peppers and salt and pepper like Lisa Leslie-Williams of The Domestic Life Stylist suggests, and you’ve got a rock star sandwich on your hands.
What’s great is just how easy it is to prepare. Simply grill two slices of eggplant on medium high for one or two minutes until golden brown. Then fill with the other ingredients and you’re ready to eat.
Paleo Italian Sub Roll-Up
Deli meats like ham, salami and prosciutto are usually the focal point of an amazing Italian sandwich. So why not make them “the bread” as well? That’s what the team at Our Paleo Life suggests. Here’s how it works.
First gather your deli meats and lay them out in order from smallest to largest while overlapping. Add condiments and veggies such as thin-sliced tomatoes, banana peppers and shredded spinach, and roll it so that it resembles a wrap.
Then place it in parchment or wax paper to keep it nice and tight until it’s time to eat.
Red Bell Pepper Sandwich
The Primal Parent team offers a great alternative to the traditional turkey sandwich and shakes things up by swapping the bread with red bell pepper.
For this recipe, simply cut a red bell pepper into two slices and fill it with sliced turkey, seaweed strips and avocado. Of course, the possibilities are endless, so there’s always room with experimentation with the filling.
Karen Ray at My Skinny Sweet Tooth has another idea — filling it with Black Forest turkey, bacon, spinach, cucumber and spicy brown mustard. Either way you choose, you can’t lose.
Tomato Bun BLT
For most BLTs, the tomato is only of minor importance and even an afterthought. But for this recipe, it’s the center of attention. Lindsay Funston at Delish explains how to prepare this lycopene-rich sandwich step-by-step.
First, make a “bacon weave,” by weaving three slices of bacon halves (six total) together and baking at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then using the top and bottom slices of a tomato as “the bread,” fill with the bacon weave, romaine lettuce, sliced avocado, mayo and black pepper.
Voila! A brand new take on the classic BLT.
Roasted Portobello Mushroom Bun “Burger”
Not only is this “burger” amazing, it’s perfect if you’re carb-conscious or gluten intolerant. The team at Let’s Regale writes that you’ll first need to roast two large portobello mushrooms in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on each side (20 minutes total).
For the filling, include a sliced tomato, Tuscan kale leaves, mashed avocado with lemon juice and mayo. Then it’s time to enjoy.
Butternut Flatbread Turkey Sandwich
Nutritional therapy practitioner and creator of Empowered Sustenance Lauren Geertsen has yet another interesting alternative to bread. It involves using butternut squash as the base for a delicious flatbread.
Her first choice is to bake squash until tender and mash it. But she also points out that canned butternut squash puree will work as well. Use sliced turkey and guacamole as the filling for this instant favorite.
Of all the sandwiches listed here, this one offers the largest amount of customization and there really is no “right way” to prepare it. Rather than cooking one large omelette, make two smaller ones and fill with whatever ingredients you’re craving. For some tasty ideas, check out the ideas at Keeper of the Home.
Then using the two omelets as “bread,” fill with your favorite deli meat — ham and turkey tend to work well — and you’ve got an amazing breakfast or lunch sandwich.
Fried Tofu with Ham and Cucumber
Tofu is incredibly versatile and can be used in a myriad of dishes. And as Makiko Itoh points out in Just Bento, it works brilliantly as sandwich “bread.”
Here’s how to prepare it.
- Soak freeze-dried tofu squares in cold water until soft
- Squeeze out the water
- Simmer the tofu squares in vegetable soup stock for a few minutes to add flavor
- Squeeze out the liquid again
- Heat in a frying pan with olive oil or butter until crispy and golden brown
Now place ham and cucumber as a filling along with your favorite condiment.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Rather than placing a grilled chicken breast between two slices of bread, you use the chicken as the “bread.” It’s actually a spin off of KFC’s “double down” sandwich of bacon, cheese and sauce slapped between two fried chicken fillets. But this is so much healthier.
Fine Dining Lovers suggests cutting two slices of grilled chicken breast and fill it with arugula and either a slice of ham or shrimp. Then top it off with mayo.
Though not technically a sandwich, lettuce wraps rely on the same concept and are particularly popular in Asia. As the Cooking Light team notes, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fillings.
There’s the spicy turkey wrap with white-meat turkey and sweet-tart cranberry sauce spiced with adobo and chipotle. There’s also spicy Thai basil chicken that has a crunchy, flavorful wrap with a bit of kick to it. Then there’s the pulled pork lettuce wrap to which Robin Bashinsky at MyRecipes suggests adding Korean chili paste, green onions and sliced radishes. All are quite delicious.