The holidays are time for formal feasting and also for sharing casual bites. Sandwiches are a favorite, perhaps to set out as family and friends are gathering or while trimming the tree.
One of my favorite sandwiches updates a California classic. The original was a combination of cheese, avocado, tomato, alfalfa sprouts and mayo on hearty, whole-wheat sandwich bread. Variations appear all over social media, adding hummus, toasting the bread, skipping the sprouts, and more.
My stacked-high version calls for artisanal whole-wheat bread that is light-textured inside and produces sandwich-size slices – a round boule loaf is ideal. Avocado replaces mayo. Toasted bread quickly topped with finely shredded cheese that melts on the hot bread adds sensory contrast. But sweet potato is the big surprise.
Slices of sweet potato roast in 15 minutes. They add a creamy, luxurious layer that harmonizes lusciously with the avocado, sharp arugula and pungent onion.
Full confession: This is a come-and-get-it sandwich to eat freshly made. The bread and onions can be sliced, the cheese shredded and sweet potato roasted a few hours ahead. Then assembly is quick: toast the bread, add the cheese, layer on the veggies, smash the avocado and the sandwich is ready to serve as guests are ready to enjoy it. I sometimes do cheat by using a leftover baked sweet potato. Although the result is dryer, this lets me make just one or two sandwiches, a treat to share or enjoy during quiet time alone.
Pepper Jack, Sweet Potato and Avocado Sandwich
- 1 chubby orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled
- 4 (1/2-inch) slices rustic whole-wheat Italian bread
- 2 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, thinly sliced or shredded (preferably reduced fat)
- 4 thin slices red onion
- 4 (1/2-inch) slices tomato
- 1/2 cup baby arugula
- 1/2 medium avocado, sliced
- Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
Cut sweet potato in 1/4-inch slices. Place sweet potato slices on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, until slices are just tender. Using wide spatula, transfer slices to wire rack and let cool.
Meanwhile, lightly toast bread. Place 1 slice on each of two plates. Immediately cover hot toast with cheese. Top with 2 slices sweet potato, 2 slices onion, 2 slices tomato and half the arugula. Save remaining sweet potato for later use.
On remaining bread slices, use fork to mash and spread avocado. Close sandwich, placing avocado side down. With serrated knife, cut sandwiches diagonally in half.
Makes 2 servings.
Per serving: 345 calories, 15 g total fat (5 g saturated fat), 40 g carbohydrate, 16 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 483 mg sodium.
Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
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Photographs by Heather Victoria Photography