Pastrami, now an American institution, initially gained popularity in New York City. Robert Moss writes in Serious Eats that trade journals of the 1850s first mention the meat, which at the time was often referred to as “pastirma.”
But over the years, it has become a national phenomenon and one of America’s favorite meats. The Days of the Year team even mentions that January 14 is Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day — an annual occasion that pays homage to this culinary invention.
But as you’re about to find out, it doesn’t end with just sandwiches, and there are countless recipes that use pastrami (navel, bottom round or first cut) as the primary ingredient.
Here are some of our favorites.
California Pastrami Sandwich
The California Avocado team puts avocado on just about everything and have figured out a brilliant way to work it into a pastrami sandwich.
This particular recipes calls for 12 ounces of thinly sliced pastrami, 8 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese, a thinly sliced fresh California avocado and a large onion sliced into 1/3-inch thick slices.
Two slices of rye bread are spread with whole grain mustard and heated in a panini press. From there, you top the slices with the ingredients to create a fresh, delectable sandwich.
Mini Pastrami Pizzas
If you’re a fan of pizza and pastrami, this recipe by the Between Carpools team gives you the best of both worlds. It specifically calls for navel pastrami, along the the following ingredients:
- 24 pizza rounds or small three-inch pieces of pizza dough
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 large sliced onion
- 8 to 10 sliced baby bella or white mushrooms
It’s prepared by grilling the pizza rounds and then adding the ingredients on top. You can also throw on some fresh greens, spicy mayonnaise or Parve Caesar dressing for even more flavor.
Lisa Lavery explains in Chowhound: “The peppery crust and smokiness of pastrami add flavor to this diner-style hash.” And you better believe that it’s jam-packed with flavor.
It works by combining pastrami, bell peppers, onion and salt and pepper in a nonstick frying pan until the pastrami is light brown and the peppers and onions have softened. From there, these ingredients are set aside, and the potatoes are cooked separately until golden brown.
Finally, the initial ingredients are stirred back in and cooked to perfection for a very hearty meal.
Vietnamese Pastrami Rolls
If you’re looking for an interesting fusion of Southeast Asian and Jewish cuisines, this recipe from Perry Rey in Cookpad is just the ticket. To make it, you’ll need:
- Brown sugar
- Green curry paste
- Lime juice
- Fish sauce
- Chopped mint
- Deli style pastrami, thinly sliced
- Rice paper wrappers
The ingredients are combined and served as a filling that’s inserted into the rice paper wrappers, which results in a delicious taste that’s one-of-a-kind.
Goma & Shio Kitchen offers a simple yet amazing spin on classic sushi by incorporating pastrami.
But instead of using seaweed nori to wrap the sushi, you create a sushi-like shape of warm rice, rice vinegar and sea salt and wrap it with pastrami. For an extra kick, they recommend adding a small dab of wasabi on top.
Pastrami Fried Rice
Rick Martinez at Bon Appétit has an interesting way to incorporate pastrami into traditional fried rice. You combine a variety of ingredients including sauerkraut, grated peeled ginger, sambal oelek, roasted cashews and pastrami, then mix it together with beaten eggs and cooked rice.
Top it with basil leaves, and you’ve got a savory masterpiece to enjoy.
Egg Sandwich with Pastrami and Swiss
The Eat This, Not That team provides their own unique take on breakfast with this tasty sandwich. They note: “The combination of pastrami and Swiss has long been confined to the realm of the lunchtime deli counter, but we think it works beautifully with soft scrambled eggs.”
And making it is pretty straightforward. Sauté the pastrami for two to three minutes, and then whisk in the eggs. From there, you simply add a slice of Swiss cheese to lightly toasted whole-wheat English muffins and assemble the sandwich.
If you’re a fan of stromboli, you can dial it up a notch with this delicious recipe from Pillsbury Kitchens. And you only need a handful of ingredients:
- An 11 ounce can of refrigerated crusty French loaf
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- ½ pound of thinly sliced pastrami
- A 6-ounce package of sliced provolone cheese
- A 2.8-ounce can of French fried onions
Just unroll the dough onto a cookie sheet and add the other ingredients. After folding the sides over, it’s cooked until golden brown (roughly 30 minutes) and cut into slices.
Luck of the Irish Skewers
Amanda Paa at Heartbeet Kitchen came up with an amazing culinary combination involving some classic Irish favorites. And it’s super simple. All you need is:
- 1 block of Irish (or white) cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
- Dill cornichons (tiny pickles)
- 8 ounces of thinly sliced pastrami
- 1 jar of pickled brussels sprouts, cut in half
- Wooden skewers
Spike these ingredients onto a skewer and serve along with either ground mustard or horseradish sauce for dipping. That’s it.
Cabbage Pastrami Knishes
If you’re looking for some classic, old school Jewish fare, it doesn’t get much better than this. Fraidy Rabinowitz breaks the recipe down on Kosher.com, explaining that you’ll need:
- Shredded green cabbage
- A Spanish onion
- Pastrami, cut into strips
- Sweet and sour duck sauce
- Mini puff pastry dough squares
Start by cooking the onion and cabbage until they’re soft. Then add the pastrami, mayo, mustard and duck sauce, and fill each dough square with the filling. Brush the outside with a bit more duck sauce and bake for 25 minutes.
Pastrami Hot Dogs
The Complete Savorist team puts a killer touch on traditional hot dogs by adding pastrami. And it’s really easy to assemble.
Simply take a Kosher, all-beef jumbo hot dog and place it in a potato hot dog bun. Then, add pastrami on top and garnish with yellow mustard and a dill pickle spear.
Voila! You’ve got an interesting spin on the traditional hot dog.
Pastrami Cheese Fries
While it may not be the healthiest dish on the planet, Andy Baraghani’s recipe for pastrami cheese fries at Tasting Table may certainly be one of the most mouthwatering.
It’s made by first creating a unique cheese sauce featuring whole milk, unsalted butter, Swiss cheese and yellow onion. Combine the sauce with a ridiculously good pastrami topping and slap it on top of a plate of fries, and you’ve got the ultimate comfort food.
Pastrami Patty Melt Sliders
The Cheeky Kitchen team puts a nice twist on the classic patty melt with this dish. It works by combining ground beef or turkey with thinly sliced pastrami and Swiss cheese and placing it between two slices of mini rye bread.
For added taste, they recommend working in seasonings like dried thyme leaves, oregano leaves, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper into the patties. The end result is a succulent concoction that makes for a great appetizer.
Alexa Weibel offers another way to infuse pastrami into a classic dish at the Rachael Ray Every Day blog — and that’s by adding it to carbonara. The recipe calls for:
- Lumache pasta or medium shells
- Olive oil
- Thinly sliced deli pastrami
- Parmesan cheese
Pasta is cooked in boiling salted water until al dente, while pastrami is cooked in a skillet. The other ingredients are combined to make a sauce, and it’s finally garnished with parsley and parmesan.
Mushroom Pastrami Hoagie
This final recipe by the Taste of Home team is a hearty lunchtime favorite. It involves piling mushrooms, pastrami and provolone, along with a few other ingredients, onto a hoagie bun.
The key is to broil it for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey, and the buns are toasted. That way, you end up with symphony of flavors and a distinct warm goodness hitting your mouth.
Taking Pastrami to New Heights
Part of the appeal of pastrami is its versatility — something that’s definitely been proven by this list of recipes.
Whether you’re adding it to a sandwich, a hot dog or even sushi, this cured meat favorite is sure to result in big flavor that you’ll love.
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