These Toppling Creations Can Be Your Go-To Lunch
Green smoothies are everywhere. Thousands of recipes offer intriguing ways to blend leafy greens, such as kale, chard, and spinach, with fruits, plant milks, chocolate, ice, and more for a thick, cold, satisfying drink. Often filling enough to be a meal on their own, green smoothies can be a delicious part of a whole foods, plant-based diet.
Green smoothies often aim to be slightly sweet. People who are not much into leafy green vegetables can enjoy them, because the fruit and other ingredients mask the taste of the greens. So even if you are shy about leafy greens, you can get a healthy dose of raw vegetables in your drink.
Green sandwiches are different. Green leafy veggies are the stars and their taste and texture are fundamental to enjoying the sandwich.
Leafy green vegetables are wonders of taste, nutrition, and appealing color. Calorie for calorie, these foods pack in more vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (beneficial substances found only in plants) than anything else you can eat. These vegetables also give you omega-3 fatty acids.
Remember, leaves are the nutrient factories of planet earth, harnessing sunlight to drive life on our planet. It’s no wonder that eating leafy vegetables protects against disease and spurs weight loss.
I used to eat nut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day in the office for probably a decade. The last few years, however, I’ve branched out to creating green sandwiches. My inspiration was a goal to get more greens effortlessly into my daily menu. I began experimenting with sandwich possibilities and quickly discovered how simple and delicious green sandwiches are.
Here’s what I’ve learned about making green sandwiches.
• Excellent bread is the foundation of a hearty, satisfying sandwich. At a minimum, you need to choose whole grain bread. Read bread ingredients carefully. The first ingredient should be whole “name of grain” flour (This is usually whole wheat.) “Wheat flour” and “unbleached wheat flour” are not whole. Just because a bread is dark, does not mean it is whole grain. Using bread made from sprouted grain or gluten-free bread is fine.
• Equally important is using a variety of fresh leafy greens. Choose from the many varieties of kale, spinach, chard, collards, bok choy,
dark lettuces (such as romaine), or any other leafy greens you favor. Fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, chives, mint, and basil, also count and add excellent flavor and fragrance.
• Choose any add-ons you like. I usually spread the bread with a thin layer of hummus, smashed avocado, or tahini. You can also use any nut butter. It may seem strange to put peanut or almond butter on a green sandwich, but if you would put peanuts or almonds on your salad, it’s really the same thing. Additional vegetables, such as green onions or sliced tomato or onion, are also delightful on the sandwich.
Assembling the sandwich could not be easier.
• Toast the bread if it’s stale or you just like toast better
• Wash and thoroughly dry your greens and other raw ingredients, then cut large leaves into sandwich-size pieces
• Spread the bread with whatever healthy plant-based choices you want
• Make sure your sandwich wrapper is handy, because the sandwich will be messy and will tend to fall apart if you don’t wrap it quickly. A reusable sandwich wrapper is best practice.
• Pile the bread several inches thick with greens and veggies
• Press the second slice of bread on top of the sandwich, and wrap it quickly before it topples
Feel free to make the sandwich the night before and refrigerate it if you are rushed in the morning. I find it does not get soggy if I thoroughly dry the greens.
Be prepared for a messy but satisfying eating experience. If you use a mountain of greens, the sandwich will tend to fall apart. To counter this, press the two slices of bread firmly together when you pick it up. Take small bites as the sandwich is very thick. It will
take you a while to eat it all.
Why am I so addicted to my green sandwiches? The concentrated nutrients in the leaves lack one critical part of your fuel – calories. An entire pound of greens has only about 100 calories. To keep going through the rest of the day, the healthy, fiber-dense calories of the whole grain bread are a satisfying complement to the veggies. By varying the greens and bread and other fillings daily, I can make a different sandwich every day and never get bored.
Don’t like raw leafy greens? Not a problem. Your tastes can change in as little as 3 weeks. Start with a sandwich with only one layer of leaves, and pick the kind you like best (or dislike least). Over a period of months, gradually add more leaves until you’ve trained yourself to enjoy them. You may find some raw greens to be bitter. Start with spinach and lettuce, and gradually add other greens as your taste buds adapt.
Want an easy variation? Try a green wrap. It’s just like a green sandwich, but a little less messy, since everything is tightly contained in a whole grain tortilla or flat bread.
While green sandwiches might not be the world’s most gourmet whole foods, plant-based recipe, they are ultra convenient, easy to make, inexpensive, portable, nutritious, and delicious. You don’t even have to wash a blender after you make them.
If you liked this posting, you may want to read Not-Recipes for Not-Meals.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet: How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods. This easy-to-follow eating plan is built on a whole foods, plant-based diet that can prevent, and even reverse, most chronic disease. Green sandwiches are Janice’s go-to lunch recipe.
Tags: getting healthy, green sandwiches, Janice Stanger, kale, leafy green vegetables, Plant-based nutrition, sandwiches, whole foods plant-based diet, whole foods plant-based recipes, whole grain bread, wraps