I worked at a deli for a short season during college. I suppose it was my first job making food for people, though I'd had a number of other jobs prior. I would go between classes and on the weekends, I liked people and the hustle of the lunch hour, and how hard could it be to whip together a sandwich? The deli was known for having these perfectly soft baguettes for sandwiches, a few of the specials were made on sliced bread, but those baguettes were why people came in. None of the sandwiches were particularly ecentric or creative, but the simple art of a good sandwich is getting the ratio of fillings correct. Here in also lies personal preference. I like lots of mustard or sauce, if there is mayo, I don't really want to see it, but I can appreciate it's moisture contribution. The owner of the deli taught me to take the rib out of the lettuce so the lettuce layer is even and consistent, and also that more filling is not always better. I agree with that. You've got to be able to get your mouth around it without a gigantic mess, especially since a number of sandwich eaters are on the go or sitting on a bench. I don't remember a lot of details about that job, or what exactly I took from it, but getting your sandwich just right is like how someone takes their coffee. Little tweaks but usually you know what you like.
This is a recent veggie sandwich that pushes beyond the sprouts, avocado, lettuce, tomato limits. It folds over like a taco, but we're going to call it a sandwich anyway. I would consider it pretty simple, especially if you opt to purchase the naan instead of make your own. There is a creamy component, almost like a rustic hummus of sorts, a crunchy, raw vegetable, a hint of acid from the onions and the bits of feta that are bold enough to make the whole naan'wich a real treat. It's tough to give exact amounts here, but the fun of a sandwich is to make it as you wish. Hugh likes his with extra sriracha, I like easy onions, triple greens. Here's to a little something different for lunch either way.
VEGGIE NAAN'WICH WITH FETA CHICKPEA MASH // makes 4 sammys with a few extra naan
The chickpea mixture could be made in advance and kept covered in the fridge. If you need a GF option, I would stuff these items in a charred brown rice tortilla and just fold it in half.
// Naan //
Naan recipe adapted from Indian Simmer
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup of warm milk
1/2 cup of yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
ghee or coconut oil
Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well of flour.
Mix milk and yogurt together and pour half of it into the well and slowly combine it together.
Add the liquid slowly and combine it all together slowly until a soft dough is made. The dough should be soft and tender. If dough sticks to your hand, use little bit of oil.
Cover with damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat a heavy bottomed, seasoned skillet or cast iron. Flour your work surface and knead the dough a few times, working in the minced garlic. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 pieces depending how large you'd like your sandwiches. Roll them out into a thin, oblong shape. Brush one side with water and add it to the pan, damp side down. Cook for about one minute until it browns, flip and cook the other side for another minute or two. Once lightly browned, run it over an open flame on the stove to get a few char marks. Brush the warm bread with a thin layer of ghee or coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Repeat with remaing dough. Keep covered with a dish cloth until ready to prepare the sandwiches.
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- giant handful of chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- zest and juice of one small lemon
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup crumbled sheep's milk feta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 carrots, thinly peeled with a peeler
- 3 cups sprouts of greens of choice
- extra virgin olive oil
- sriracha for spice, if needed
Rinse and drain the chickpeas. In a food processor, give the beans and cilantro a few quick pulses JUST to rough them up, you don't want a paste. I'm talking like 2 to 3 pulses. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the tahini, lemon juice and zest, pinch of red pepper flakes, feta, olive oil and lots of fresh ground pepper. Stir to blend. Add a tiny splash of water if it looks too dry.
Combine the onion and vinegar in a bowl with a pinch of salt and toss with your fingers to coat just to soften them a bit. Set up your space with the carrots ribbons, vinegared onions and greens. Make each sandwich with a hearty swipe of the chickpea mash, a generous layer of onions, carrots, greens. Drizzle the vegetables with a bit of olive oil and your hot sauce on the side as needed.