17 Simple Summer Suppers to Eat with Your Hands

17 Simple Summer Suppers to Eat with Your Hands

Lisa Appleton
Aug 16, 2016

Summer is all about casual and relaxing meals. With the sun shining bright, it's prime time to spend more time outside than caught up in the kitchen. Enter: the sandwich. Sandwiches are the perfect way to spend less time in the kitchen and less time cleaning while still feeling satisfied after a meal. They come together quickly and, since you don't need any silverware, you can skip cleaning some dishes. Plus, it's always more fun to eat with your hands. From juicy cheeseburgers to hearty vegan sandwiches, here are our top picks for simple hand-held meals.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

1. Stovetop Burgers

Yes, you could wait for the grill to preheat. However, for a truly quick dinner, turn to the stovetop for burgers. A hot skillet or griddle will cook burgers within minutes. Plus, a burger is the ultimate dinner to eat with your hands. Pro tip: The burgers will leave delicious fond (browned bits left from searing the meat) and fat in the pan. Skip butter or oil and toast the buns in the fond.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

2. Roasted Tomato and Turkey Club Sandwich

This classic club sandwich gets an upgrade with juicy and tender roasted tomatoes, which can be made two days ahead. Spend the time roasting them on Sunday, so you only need to wait for the bacon to crisp up Monday night after work. While turkey is the natural choice for a club, mix and match with other options from the deli counter such as chicken, ham, or roast beef.

(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

3. French Ham and Cheese Baguette

Trust the French with this one. Although the butter may seem excessive, it adds another layer of flavor and helps to keep the baguette from going soggy. A well-made baguette can make all the difference here. If you have one that's gone a little stale, bake or broil it in the oven for a few minutes to crisp it up again.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

4. Cubano Sheet Pan Sliders

The key to an amazing Cubano is the toasty bread and melty cheese pressed together to make one warm and delicious sandwich. Two sheet pans are the trick to making these sliders in bulk. Assembled on one and pressed down by another, these bake in just 10 minutes. Dinner is done!

(Image credit: Christine Han)

5. Slow-Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Let the slow cooker help you do the work. The tender beef in these sandwiches comes from low-and-slow cooking, which is ideal for the slow cooker. And don't forget to keep the cooking liquid, known as jus. As the beef cooks, the jus only gets more flavorful. You'll want to have plenty around for dipping.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

6. Sloppy Joes in the Slow Cooker

Sure, a sloppy joe can get messy, but that makes them even more fun to eat. These tasty sandwiches have everything you want in a meal — no canned sauce here. With minimal prep and items from your pantry, you can set the slow cooker and forget about it until dinner.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

7. Smoked Turkey Sandwich for a Crowd

Turkey and cheddar are always a satisfying combo. It's an easy win for a quick weeknight meal. Make it more fun with one big sandwich rather than individuals. Pair it with a store-bought veggie tray or chips and dip to round out the meal.

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

8. Italian Sandwich for a Crowd

All your favorite party sub flavors are packed into this sandwich. Pick a bread with a nice crust that will stand up to the bold meats and cheese. Italian, sourdough, a country loaf, or ciabatta are our favorites.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

9. Caprese Sandwich for a Crowd

There's a reason everyone loves the classic caprese salad. Juicy summer tomatoes and fresh creamy mozzarella cheese are a pair that will last through the ages. Instead of the typical balsamic vinegar, this sandwich comes together with a bright basil pesto. Try it room temperature or bake it for a few minutes to get the cheese nice and melty.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

10. Vegan Portobello Mushroom Sandwich

A good vegan sandwich needs to stand on its own without meat or cheese, and this one does not disappoint. While you can sear the mushrooms whole (but still stemless), slicing them adds even more surface area for balsamic vinegar to soak in. With roasted red peppers, spinach, vegan mayo, and a delicious sourdough, you won't even miss the meat.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

11. Tempeh Parmesan Sandwich

Tempeh is a delicious blank canvas that can adapt to almost any flavor profile. Here it shines in a Parmesan sandwich. A quick sear in tomato paste creates a crisp exterior. Top it with a spoonful of your favorite bottled marinara and a sprinkle of both Parmesan and mozzarella cheese for one super-satisfying sandwich.

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

12. Caesar White Bean Burgers

Think of all the flavors you love in a Caesar salad and then add it to this burger. You won't find bottled dressing in this recipe. The best parts of the dressing flavor the white bean patties. Pile it high with garden tomatoes and any lettuce you have on hand.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

13. Pesto and Egg Baguette Sandwich

Breathe life into the old egg salad sandwich. Start with a good-quality baguette. Spread on pesto mayo and top with sliced hard-boiled eggs and red pepper flakes. The pesto mayo will keep well, so make a double batch and keep it on hand for other recipes later in the week.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

14. Waffle Egg Sandwiches with Spicy Maple Butter

Breakfast foods are delicious and typically very easy to make. It gets even easier when you start with store-bought waffles. But don't think of these as anything ordinary — maple syrup, cinnamon, and a little cayenne team up to create a delicious spread that takes these sandwiches to another level.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

15. Crème Fraiche Scrambled Egg and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches

Give your scrambled eggs a layer of luxury by whisking in crème fraîche and herbs. Smoked salmon is a natural choice for these creamy eggs and makes the whole meal satisfying enough for dinner.

(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

16. Pan Bagna

The French know a good sandwich, and this one is no different. The Pan Bagna is very much like a niçoise salad, but between halves of a baguette. Don't skip the tuna packed in olive oil — it adds an extra richness to the sandwich that you won't want to miss.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

17. Baked Fish Fillet Sandwiches

You don't need a deep-fryer to make crispy fish: Panko breadcrumbs bake up beautifully crisp, while keeping the oil at bay. Put the whole thing in a sandwich, and it's even easier to eat. And if you want to save even more time, skip making the tartar sauce from scratch and buy store-bought instead.

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