I am not much of a sandwich eater, are you? Sandwiches have a lot going for them in terms of easy preparation and portability, but I don’t generally get excited about them. I’d rather have a giant salad or open-faced toast.
This sandwich, however, is something else. It’s all of my favorite things sandwiched between two slices of whole wheat bread: buttery avocado, roasted red pepper, as much of my favorite Greek salad ingredients as I could fit, a splash of balsamic vinegar and rich basil pesto. It wouldn’t be the same in any other form; sandwich is the way to go. I took back every insult I’ve thrown at sandwiches on first bite. And the best part? It kept me full from lunch until dinner. Not many vegetarian sandwiches can boast that.
The sandwich came to be while I was playing [read: procrastinating] at Panera’s Sandwich Showdown Contest. You can pick a bread and drag over ingredients. Avocado? Ta da! There it is. Bacon? Ta da! Change your mind on the bacon? Poof, it’s gone. If only bacon could be removed from the waistline so easily.
It’s a fun little game, a procrastination activity that I support, but I warn you that playing will make you hungry.
Another bonus of playing [procrastinating] at the Panera showdown is that they are giving away stellar prizes. The grand prize is $10,000 in cash, among other goodies, and the remaining top 20 entries are up for thousands of dollars in cash (plus gift cards! free bagels for a year!). I feel like a used car salesman here, but cash (!) and bagels (!) call for exclamation points, am I right?
Panera is also encouraging players to share their creations on twitter and pinterest with the hash tag #SandwichShowdown. The contest is open until this Saturday, October 6th, so hurry on over and play.
Before you go, though, please tell me about your favorite sandwich to make at home. I just might be on a sandwich-making kick. I took a couple of shortcuts with this sandwich by using store-bought pesto and roasted red peppers. Ta da! Lunch in under ten minutes.
- 2 slices soft whole wheat bread
- ½ avocado
- 1 tablespoon basil pesto*
- roasted red bell pepper (jarred is fine)
- cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
- thinly sliced red onion
- 6 pitted kalamata olives, thinly sliced
- handful spring mix
- balsamic reduction or regular balsamic vinegar
- Pit and peel the avocado half and mash it with a fork. Use a butter knife to spread avocado on one slice of bread. Spread a layer of pesto on the other slice of bread.
- Top the avocado bread with a single layer of roasted red bell pepper. Then add a layer of cucumber slices, red onion, olives and spring mix. Use a spoon to sprinkle some balsamic reduction over the lettuce. Place the pesto slice on top, pesto side down.
- Yields one sandwich.
- *Use vegan (cheese-free) pesto to make this sandwich vegan. Here’s my recipe for vegan basil pesto, plus tips on how to make it in bulk and freeze it for later.
- Feel free to lightly toast the bread beforehand; I tried it both toasted and not toasted and couldn’t decide which I preferred.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Panera Bread. As always, opinions expressed are my own. Truths: Panera is one of my favorite places to lunch with my mom, their sandwich game is fun and this sandwich is exceptionally tasty.
P.s. Find more of my super simple meal ideas here.