Awhile back I attended a fancy catered event where I could hardly eat anything, as most of the dishes contained meat, dairy, or gluten — ingredients I have to avoid. My only consolation was the kids' table, where I found "sandwiches" made from sliced apples, peanut butter, oats, and raisins. Though the apples satiated my rumbling stomach, I didn't think much of them as I gazed longingly at the parade of off-limits foods.
But then a funny thing happened. In the weeks that followed, I found myself craving these well-rounded, tasty snacks. Apples and peanut butter are nothing new, but somehow the addition of toasted oats and raisins, and a touch of honey and cinnamon, makes them that much more satisfying. Now I frequently make these sandwiches for an afternoon snack.
Apple sandwiches are great for both adults and kids (little hands can help assemble them), and they're adaptable for various preferences and allergies. Instead of peanut butter, you might try almond butter or pumpkin-sunflower-flax seed butter, and the raisins may be swapped for dried cranberries, chopped dates, and other dried fruits. I like the simplicity and texture of lightly toasted oats, but granola is an option, as are toppings like chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chia seeds.
Apple SandwichesMakes 3 sandwiches
1 tablespoon rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter
3/4 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon raisins
1 medium apple
Combine the oats and cinnamon in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring occasionally, until the oats are golden. Cool before using.
Mix together the peanut butter and honey.
Core and slice the apple into 6 rounds. (If you don't have an apple corer, you can slice the apple first and then cut out the centers with a small cookie cutter or knife.)
Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on 3 of the apple slices and sprinkle with raisins and oats. Top with the remaining apple slices to form sandwiches.
• If you are not eating the apple right away, you can brush it with lemon juice to prevent browning. A solution of 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice does the trick without tasting too lemony.
• For strict gluten-free diets, be sure to use gluten-free oats.
(Images: Emily Ho)