Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Healthy Sandwich Base Recipe

Healthy Sandwich Base Recipe

Sandwiches are a great way to get in lots of nutrients from a variety of food groups. This sandwich base recipe is a great staple when following a plant-forward diet.
healthy sandwich base recipe on a small gray plate

This is one of the base recipes featured in Part 2 of our Whole Life Meal Plan. It might sound silly to have a “recipe” for a sandwich, but this isn’t any old sandwich recipe. This is a fiber-filled, protein-packed, and flavorful sandwich recipe that will put your traditional ham and cheese to shame. Give this healthy sandwich base recipe a try, and as always, adjust to YOUR taste!

Must Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for the Best Sandwich Recipe

If making an egg, tuna, salmon, chicken, or chickpea salad sandwich, mix the spread, protein, fillings, and flavors together for easier eating.

This sandwich can be eaten cold or warm. If heating on the stovetop or panini press, lightly brush the outside of the bread with olive oil or melted butter to create a deliciously crispy exterior.

If toasting the bread, go for a very light golden brown color, as this will allow the sandwich to have some “give” when you cut or bite into it.

When constructing the sandwich, consider your final eating experience. Chop or slice the fillings and protein into manageable pieces so that eating the sandwich is easier. Also, think about the different textures of ingredients. Aim for a mix of crunchy, creamy, and chewy.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Whole Grain Base: use whole grain or sourdough bread, an English muffin, whole wheat bagel, sandwich thin, or pita bread.
  • Spread: use mashed avocado, hummus, mashed sweet potato, pesto, tahini dressing, tzatziki, lime crema, marinara sauce, Greek yogurt ranch dip, mustard, jam, or a combination.
  • Protein: use cheese, chicken, salmon, marinated tofu, cooked tempeh, scrambled or hard-cooked eggs, mashed beans, hummus, nut butter, or a combination. Hummus and nut butter count as both a spread and protein.
  • Fresh Fillings: use sliced tomato, onion, cucumber, avocado, shredded carrots, leafy greens, sprouts, roasted veggies, pickled veggies, sliced apple or pear, fresh herbs, or a combination.

Sandwich Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Load it up with flavor, or keep it simple. There’s really no right or wrong way to make it; do what sounds good to you!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavor and texture.

  • Spices: add a dash of cayenne, paprika, or your favorite spice blend.
  • Hot Sauce: use your favorite hot sauce flavor that will complement your fillings well. Feel free to toss the protein with the hot sauce for even flavor distribution.
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Plain or Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Turn this into a hot sandwich by lightly brushing the outside of the bread with olive oil or butter and cooking it on the stovetop or on a panini press, 2-3 minutes per side.

To make this easy sandwich recipe vegetarian, simply choose vegetarian-friendly protein options.

Equipment Recommendations

Use these basic kitchen tools for recipe success:

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Health Benefits of this Simple Sandwich Recipe 

Sandwiches are a great way to get in lots of nutrients from a variety of food groups. This sandwich base recipe is a great staple when following a plant-forward diet. The key ingredients that make this a nutritious sandwich recipe are whole grain bread, healthy fats, quality protein, and colorful fruits/veggies.

Whole Grain Bread

Whole grains are a good source of fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, trace minerals, and phytonutrients. Replacing refined grains (i.e. flour tortillas) with whole grains (i.e. whole wheat tortillas) may reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Healthy Fats

Spreads made with avocados, avocado oil, or extra virgin olive oil contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols which may reduce inflammation. Healthy fats also increase the satiating power of a meal and can help you feel full for longer. Additionally, certain nutrients require fat for absorption; including a healthy spread on your sandwich can help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck!

Quality Protein

Healthy sandwich recipes with protein can help you feel satisfied. No matter which protein option you choose, all provide health benefits!

Chicken and turkey are both lean protein sources. They are rich in B vitamins and minerals, such as iron. White meat is considered moderately protective or neutral on cancer risk. We recommend purchasing organic if it is within your budget.

Fish is a quality source of protein that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Fatty fish, like salmon, is high in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for heart and brain health.

Eggs provide high quality protein and can contribute omega-3 fatty acids to the diet if fortified or pasture raised. Eggs are rich in the mineral choline, which is important for cognitive development, metabolism, and liver function. Although eggs contain dietary cholesterol, this does not necessarily increase your blood cholesterol.

Beans are one of our favorite foods because they are packed with high quality nutrients. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans weekly, if not daily. Beans of all varieties contain plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight.

Colorful Fruits/Veggies

Fruits, vegetables, and herbs provide fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables are different from the ones found in animal protein, whole grains, and beans, so it’s important to include lots of healthy sandwich fillings for best nutrition!

Learn more about health benefits of different foods in our book, To Your Taste!

Healthy Sandwich Serving Suggestions

Serve this satisfying sandwich alongside some fresh fruit to create a Whole Life Plate. Depending on the ingredients you added to your sandwich, you may want to serve some extra veggies on the side. Pair veggies with hummus or a Greek yogurt dip for a boost in nutrition and flavor.

Sandwich Storage Tips 

If holding the sandwich in the refrigerator overnight, take note of the density of your bread and the moisture of the spread you used. While some breads and spreads do fine overnight, others can result in a soggy sandwich. If using a soft bread, consider placing a “barrier” (lettuce, cheese, or meat) between the spread and the bread. Alternatively, leave the spread off overnight and add it when you’re ready to eat.

If packing a lunch and you don’t have a refrigerator available, pack an ice pack in your lunch box to keep the sandwich cool. 

Want more healthy lunch ideas?

Check out these easy lunch ideas for work.

Get inspired by these vegetarian lunch ideas for kids.

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healthy sandwich base recipe on a small gray plate

Healthy Sandwich Base Recipe

This is one of the base recipes featured in our Whole Life Meal Plan. This is a fiber-filled, protein-packed, and most importantly – flavorful – sandwich recipe that will put your traditional ham and cheese to shame. Give this healthy sandwich base recipe a try, and as always, adjust to YOUR taste!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 1 sandwich

Ingredients
  

Base Recipe

  • 2 ounces whole grain base (pita, sandwich bread, etc.)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons spread* (mashed avocado, hummus, etc.)
  • 2-3 ounces protein (chicken, cheese, etc.)
  • ½ cup fresh fillings (shredded carrots, chopped greens, etc.)

Additions to YOUR taste

  • Dash spice(s)
  • Hot sauce
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Drizzle plain or infused extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • If desired, toast bread.
  • Add spread on each piece of bread. Top one piece of bread with protein and fillings.
  • Finish with additional ingredients to your taste. Top with other piece of bread and slice in half. Enjoy!

Notes

*Hummus and nut butter can be used as both a spread and/or protein.
 
Turn this into a hot sandwich by lightly brushing the outside of the bread with olive oil or butter and cooking it on the stovetop or on a panini press, 2-3 minutes per side.
 
See the ingredient substitutions section of the article for more spread, protein, fillings, and flavor ideas.
Keyword Healthy Sandwich

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