Ah the classic sandwich, a perfect lunch when you are on the go. Delicious, filling and packed with nutrients, you can make the most out of your sammy by filling it with the best possible ingredients. To me, the keys to a great sandwich are toasted bread, juiciness, and a variety of goodies on the inside. This particular recipe is from my university days, when this portable lunch/dinner was perfect for my irregular class times.
What you'll need
Good bread (this is completely up to you, I use rye or sprouted grain bread)
One large tomato
1/2 of a ripe avocado
Handful of spinach
1/2 red onion
2 button mushrooms
Frying oil of your choice (I use coconut)
1 TBSP vegenaise *non-vegans can sub this for mayo but vegenaise is pretty good
Salt and pepper to taste
Feta or cheddar cheese *
2 eggs over-easy * or few slices of grilled eggplant
*In the vegan version of this sandwich I sub the egg for oven-grilled eggplant slices and omit the cheese. However you can also use vegan cheese or add a balsamic-garlic glaze for moisture which pairs well with the eggplant.
makes 2 large or 3 small sandwiches
You can start by thinly slicing your bread if not already sliced. As you can see the bread I used above is not thinly sliced as it was pre-sliced. It all depends on whether you want a bread sandwich with a side of filling or a filling sandwich with a side of bread. I prefer the latter.
Lay the slices on a pan in the oven (or just on the rack if a pan is not your jam). Place the cheese on the slice you will use as the bottom slice and bake at 350°F or so and the cheese will quickly melt as the bread gets toasty. If you are using feta don't bake it, it doesn't melt well… along with parmesan. Feta is best eaten fresh so you can add it in the sandwich with everything else.
If you are not using cheese, this is a good time to grill your eggplant. You will want to do this before toasting the bread because it takes longer. Thinly slice your eggplant and place on the rack to grill or lay on a greased pan or on parchment paper.
In the meantime, chop up some red onion and button mushrooms. You want them to be thinly sliced because a lot is going into this sandwich and you don't want it to fall apart as you eat it. In the meantime, wash your spinach and remove the stems. Fry the onion and mushrooms until they caramelize and are releasing those beautiful aromas. Fried mushrooms and onions are the start of many great things….
When the onion and mushrooms are almost done add in the spinach and flip everything around evenly so the spinach gets enough heat to wilt before burning. Once the spinach has shrunk to your desired size, transfer everything to a plate. Its best not to overcook the spinach too much so that not all of the vitamins are lost from the heat. Vitamin C in particular breaks down at high heats but less cooking means more of the other great components of spinach may may be preserved.
Lets just take a second to soak in the beauty of red onion
Reheat your pan with a bit more oil add an egg or two (depending on your desired number of sandwiches). I like to break the yolk and flip once the bottom is cooked. Then I only cook on the flipped side for a short time so the yolk is still soft and borderline runny when eaten. An overcooked egg is almost as bad as a raw one. Eating your eggs when they are on the verge of being cooked ensures you are getting some of the preserved nutrients, as with spinach or any other fruit/vegetable.
By now your bread should be toasted meaning all thats left to do is put it all together!
Spread some avocado on the plain other half of bread (this will be the top half). Put some fried onion/spinach/mushroom mixture on the bottom half which should now be sitting on cheese or grilled eggplant (if you are using feta, nows the time to add it in). Layer this with fried egg, then tomato slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. It's easiest to spread the vegenaise on the avocado toast. Try to evenly distribute each layer and make them as flat as possible- if you put everything on as a pile your sandwich experience will be you trying to catch your falling ingredients more than anything else.
Mix 1 TSP minced/pureed garlic, 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, 1 TBSP aged balsamic vinegar (should be thick and sweet) and salt & pepper to taste and pour on your eggplant slices or anywhere else in your sandwich.