By Tamar Teitelbaum of @candidlydeliciousbytamar
Summer is all about getting outside and enjoying the fresh air, the sunshine, and nature. With that comes picnics! Throw some food into a cooler or a basket, grab a blanket, and go. It’s such a simple way to enjoy time at the park or the beach. But when you have to pack up for a large family, it can seem like an overwhelming chore. Here’s a breakdown of what makes a great sandwich and some quick and simple recipes to get you out the door with ease.
The Elements of a Great Sandwich
There are four main components in a sandwich: Bread, Protein, Vegetables and Sauce. To make a great sandwich, follow these basic steps.
Select a Bread. Crusty breads are best for wetter sandwiches because they hold together and don’t get soggy. A nice tender bread works best with softer fillings. Also, rolls tend to hold up a bit better than sliced breads. Choose one from the following: seeded rye, sourdough, pita, baguette, whole wheat, brioche.
Select a Protein. The protein is what makes a sandwich filling. It is the base for your flavor building. Choose one to two of the following: pulled beef brisket, tuna salad, egg salad, fun-flavored cheese (like havarti with dill), fresh cheese slices, hard salami, tofu, portobello mushrooms.
Select Vegetables. Vegetables add freshness which can break through the richness of proteins and sauces. They also add texture. No one wants a one-note sandwich. It’s important to add a variety of textures and flavor notes to keep it interesting. Choose a few of the following: romaine lettuce, mixed greens, sliced tomatoes, matchstick carrots, red onions, cucumbers, sliced mushrooms, dill pickle chips, pickled red onions, kimchi, roasted red peppers.
Select a Sauce. The sauce adds depth of flavor to the sandwich. It can also add a creamy texture when you have dry ingredients or acid if you have only rich flavors. Choose one of the following: hummus, tahini, pizza sauce, olive tapenade, garlic mayo, gochujang, horseradish sauce, BBQ sauce, Dijon mustard
Quick Picnic Sandwich Ideas
Using the lists above, here are a few easy and delicious sandwiches that can be thrown together in a pinch.
- The Beef Brisket Roll: Sourdough Roll + Pulled Beef Brisket (storebought) + Pickled Red Onions and Romaine Lettuce + Garlic Mayo
- Cheeseboard on a Bun: Brioche Bun + Havarti with Dill Cheese, sliced thick + Sliced Tomatoes, Red Onions, and Cucumbers + Olive Tapenade
- Salami Stack: Seeded Rye Slices + Hard Salami Slices and regular salami cut thick + Dill Pickle Chips and sliced Roasted Red Peppers (from a jar) + Dijon Mustard
- Asian Vegetarian Roll: Whole Wheat Roll + Portobello Mushroom Cap (roasted is ideal but not necessary) + Mixed Greens and Matchstick Carrots + Gochujang
- Pizza Sandwich: Baguette + Muenster and Mozzarella slices + Red Onions and Sliced Mushrooms + Pizza Sauce
There are so many more amazing combinations. These few ideas should whet the palate for a start.
Make these sandwiches in only a few minutes by purchasing premade ingredients. All of the sauces can be bought ready to go. Premade tuna salad and egg salad can be found in the deli section. Premade pulled brisket, if available in your area, can often be found by the hot dogs. Vegetables can be bought prewashed and cut. If you have a few more minutes, toasting the bread or warming the sandwich can be a nice addition of flavor and texture. Wrap warm sandwiches in foil to keep them warm in the picnic basket.
Classic Summer Sides
Summer picnics aren’t only about the sandwiches of course (just mostly). It’s fun to mix and match tasty sides to appease all the mouths in the family, big or little. Quick and easy options are melons and chips or pretzels. Melons are great to keep hydrated in the summer heat and everyone loves chips and pretzels. If there is time to dawdle, then consider some excellent summer salads: corn salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, fresh spinach salad, and more. For the little mouths, grab a handful of string cheeses, pouches of applesauce, juice boxes. For a healthier picnic, bring some veggies and hummus dip or celery sticks with peanut butter.