Lunch

By Aine Carlin | June 20, 2011

Photo: Aine Carlin

After a full on weekend of activities, Monday is invariably my lazy day, where I tend to lean towards food that requires assembling more than actually cooking. Sandwiches fall into the assembly category but that doesn’t mean they can’t be interesting – in fact few things get me more excited than a well constructed sandwich.

Photo: Aine Carlin

Of course, there are a few keys rules, beginning with the choice of bread.

I loathe cheap, mass-produced bread, but I know it is somewhat unrealistic to make my own all of the time. As much as I’d like to, it just ain’t gonna happen. This is when I rely on good quality, shop-bought bread that has at least a few of the attributes I look for in a decent loaf. In this case, white bread is a no-no. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the whole-grain, preferably thick cut farmhouse style (i.e. rustic) and containing some sort of seed.

Next up is the filling-and let’s face it-is all about the filling. I understand that for some (and at one point that was me) it can be hard to imagine a knockout sandwich without a wedge of deli meat in the center. So you’re going to have to just trust me on this one. I too used to favor a meat-filled sarnie* with very little in the way of vegetables, and normally an obscene amount of cheese – usually melted. That was just how I rolled.

Since turning vegan, one of my aims is to create a sandwich that could rival those meat and cheese filled numbers I used to bust out on a daily basis. Up until now I’ve come close, but not close enough. With this one, however, I really think I’ve nailed it. That first bite was seriously sensational and I immediately knew I was onto a winner but the real test was yet to come……my husband’s discerning approval.

Photo: Aine Carlin

It’s not that my husband dislikes avocado, it’s just that he doesn’t want it to be the main feature. Big slices of avocado are not his thing and for the most part I’ve respected that – I mix my guac with chopped red onion and tomatoes and I’m pretty good at hiding any trace of it in my avocado chocolate pudding – no mean feat! But in this sandwich there is no hiding the avocado in all its thickly sliced glory. It’s plain for all to see, eat and taste.

Therefore when my husband exclaimed he loved this humble humdinger sandwich, sliced avocado and all, I was pretty sure I’d discovered a winning combo that would appeal to a wide range of palates (including the hardened deli meat connoisseurs amongst you).

Photo: Aine Carlin

Sometimes perfection lies in simplicity and if nothing else this sandwich is the personification of that. Clean, simple, honest ingredients that will tickle those tastebuds, fill your belly and (if I may be so bold) leave you with a self-satisfied grin that only a really good “sammich” can induce.

*Editor’s Note: A “sarnie” is a sandwich

Photo: Aine Carlin

  • 2 slices of thick whole-grain farmhouse bread (preferably vegan)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1/2 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, halved, and sliced lengthwise
  • A large handful alfalfa sprouts
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Toast the bread-I like mine well done (on the cusp of burnt).

2. Spread one slice of toasted bread with a generous amount of hummus. Top with the grated carrot and cucumber.

3. Top with the avocado - layer it in a fan like fashion (fancy!) and lightly season with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread a little more hummus on top of the avocado - this will ensure the alfafa sprouts will stay put.
Add the final layer of alfafa sprouts.

4. Spread the other slice of toasted bread with the remainder of the hummus and place on top of the sandwich. Carefully cut diagonally - put a sharp knife in the centre of the sandwich, cut outwards on one side and then repeat on the other. This way the ingredients won't spill out the sides. :)

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