Sandwiching the Week: Hummus, sesame-oil and veggie “meh”

More mundane than paper towels! As average in speed as a 7-year-old compact sedan! Apparent as the hand in front of your face! It’s…. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!

That’s the moniker I’m giving to the hummus, sesame oil and veggie number among this week’s sandwich-focused recipes. I’ve been awash in “meh” thinking about writing this post, but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Do I dislike sandwiches? No. Have I picked unremarkable recipes for this week’s list? Nope. Don’t I have sparkling, witty things to say about the sandwich that is a staple of my lunchtime menu?

Aha, there it is. Because truth be told, I don’t. There’s just nothing terribly original about nestling carrots and spinach inside bread slathered with hummus and sesame oil – you can go to umpteen zillion food joints and see variations on this theme show up on their menu as a (often the only) vegetarian option.

This may be the right frame of mind, though. Sandwiches aren’t meant to be over-thought; they’re the food you idly munch from one hand while the other one’s busy with a task. Other dishes may jump off the plate and dazzle you, but sandwiches just need to show up and get the job done without attracting too much attention. So we won’t leave the spotlight too long on the sandwich recipes I’ve listed for you this week, but that should be just enough time to find a few you’d like to try.

A new favorite is this open-face eggplant sandwich, a variation on the baked mayo-garlic-parmesan eggplant recipe Stillman’s Farm posted on their blog. It remains to be seen how Mr Eating The Week – who asked if they were zombie leg slices – likes it when he has leftovers for dinner tonight.

Their instructions are fairly loose in terms of measurements, so here’s what I used: one large eggplant sliced thin; 4 Tbs light mayo mixed with 2 crushed garlic cloves; and arbitrary amount of grated cheese, salt and pepper sprinkled over each slice.

Another new addition to the ETW rotation are these “sloppy skillet beef” sandwiches, which I think everyone else would just call sloppy Joes.

When I made these, instead of the Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (which I meant to buy) I used regular stewed tomatoes (which I accidentally bought) plus a mix of spices: 1 Tbs dried minced onion, 1 Tbs paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp dried mustard, and ½ tsp cumin. Right at the end, I divided the mixture into halves and added 1 ½ tsp chili powder to one half (the other half I left un-chili-ed so that Eating The Week, Jr., could enjoy some when he returns from his trip to nana & grandpa’s in Texas).

If you’re interested in trying those out, or finding some other get-down-to-it-and-eat sandwich recipes, here you go:

  • Curried egg salad sandwich, from The Dabble (here)
  • Sesame salmon burgers, from Elana’s Pantry (here)
  • Open-faced avocado-bacon tuna melt, from My Recipes (here) – I’ve made a slightly different version from one of my Cooking Light cookbooks; this one looks very similar & has avocado, to boot.
  • Wine-braised mushroom-smothered tempeh sandwich, from Eating Well (here) – Still to come on this week’s dinner menu, but I’m expecting great things
  • Sloppy skillet beef sandwiches (aka sloppy Joes), from My Recipes (here)
  • Baked mayo-garlic-parmesan eggplant, from Stillman’s Farm (here) – I put four slices over basil and lettuce atop a slice of seed-encrusted bread to make an open-faced sandwich.
  • Hummus, sesame oil and veggie sandwich (recipe follows below)

Before we don our O-emblazoned capes and tackle my sandwich, I’ll admit that it does boast some nutritional intrigue. You’re getting a hefty serving of vegetables, plus the nutrient-packed punch of hummus and healthy fats from sesame oil. All this for a relatively low caloric price, provided you go easy on the bread by using sandwich thins, like I do.

But enough contradicting myself… it’s still terribly obvious… see for yourself:

Hummus, sesame-oil and veggie sandwich (aka Captain Obvious sandwich) (text file here)

This is a very simple dish that you should alter however you see fit. I find the trick is to have something crunchy (carrot slices, in my version) in there to balance the squishy hummus and bread, as well as to anchor the crunchy stuff in the hummus.

I use sandwich thins for the bread, but any bread you like will work fine (it will just change the calorie counts below).

(1 serving, approx. 275 calories each)

1 cup spinach
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
3-4 tablespoons hummus
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 sandwich thin (or two slices of your favorite bread)

Divide the hummus and spread on each of the sandwich thin pieces (inside). Drizzle the sesame oil over the hummus. Press the carrot slices into the hummus on one of the thins.

Top the carrots with the spinach, then the other sandwich thin.

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