Hold the Bread: 5 Ways to Eat Your Favorite Sandwich as a Salad

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Coco Morante)

I’m always looking for ways to get more produce into my diet. Whether it’s keeping a crudité platter in the fridge, adding cooked carrots to a sweet afternoon snack, or swapping spiraled zucchini for noodles, I’ll use any trick I can to fill my days with lots of vegetables.

Here’s my favorite new way to swap out starch for greens in my lunchtime routine — turn a classic sandwich into a salad!

It was great fun reinterpreting five of my favorite sandwiches: the BLT, the Reuben, chicken salad, tuna salad, and the peanut butter and jelly. Each one begins with a bed of greens, and we go from there.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

1. Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is one of those adaptable recipes that have endless combinations of herbs, dressings, and fruit or nuts. Translating it into a salad means we can play up the vegetables and fresh fruit but still toss everything together in a creamy dressing.

  • Chicken Salad with Endives and Apples: To make this salad, toss sliced endives and romaine together with sliced Fuji apples, cubed chicken breast, lemon buttermilk dressing, and a bit of chopped tarragon.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

2. Peanut Butter & Jelly

If you’ve got a bottle of Thai peanut sauce in the fridge, use it as the dressing for this salad with a touch of sweet and salty. If not, it’s easy to whip up a serving of peanut dressing with just three ingredients: a tablespoon of peanut butter, a tablespoon of seasoned rice vinegar, and enough water to take it to a pourable consistency.

  • PB&J Salad with Grapes and Peanut Dressing: Drizzle peanut dressing or sauce on cabbage or lettuce topped with sliced chicken, halved seedless grapes (a nod to grape jelly, of course), and roasted peanuts for some added crunch.
(Image credit: Coco Morante)

3. The BLT

As a sandwich, this combo is best in summer months, when big beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes are in season. Luckily for tomato-loving folks like me, smaller hothouse tomatoes are reliably tasty year-round, and their bite-sized shape works great for a salad.

  • BLT Salad with Mayonnaise Dressing: Top a bed of romaine with crumbled cooked bacon, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, and a mayonnaise-based coleslaw dressing.
(Image credit: Coco Morante)

4. Reuben on Rye

As much as we love a reuben sandwich, eating one for lunch might result in a case of the afternoon sleepies. Luckily, it’s easy enough to turn into a lighter lunch-friendly salad.

  • Reuben Salad with Rye Croutons and Thousand Island Dressing: Shredded cabbage takes the place of sauerkraut, and its slightly peppery crunch makes a great foil for corned beef, sliced gruyere cheese, toasted rye bread croutons, and

    Thousand Island Dressing

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

5. Tuna Salad

Olive oil-packed tuna is so much more flavorful than the water-packed variety, and I love its velvety texture when broken into generously-sized chunks in this salad. This salad’s got all the necessary components of a good tuna salad sandwich, minus the bread of course.

  • Tuna Salad with Pickles, Onions, and Celery: Place flaked tuna, sliced dill pickles, chopped red onion, half-moons of celery and a kicky lemon vinaigrette atop a crunchy bed of romaine.

What classic sandwiches have you reinvented into salads?