Recipe: Summer Vegetables Sub Sandwich with Garlic Cream Cheese

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’re hitting the road in just under an hour, the bags are packed, the house is tidy, and then you hear it: the hungry gurgle of an empty belly. Not wanting to mess up the kitchen, you reach for a few pantry ingredients and the half a container of cream cheese languishing in the fridge. The goal? Only dirty the dishes you can throw in the dishwasher you’ll run before you leave, but also make a tasty sandwich you can eat now or in the car.

Enter: the summer vegetable sub sandwich. Gilded with a flavorful cream cheese and topped with just a handful of fresh vegetables and a few jarred ones, this sandwich is just the sort of thing to fuel your trip. Plus, it travels incredibly well. Here’s how to make it without messing up the kitchen.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Flavorful Cream Cheese Is the Secret to This Summer Sandwich

You know that container of cream cheese you bought for bagels last week and only used half of? That, my friends, is the secret to this vegetable sandwich. Add a clove of minced garlic, some olive oil, and salt and pepper right into that container and then mash it all together with a fork for a flavor-boosting sandwich spread. You can rinse and recycle the container when you’re done and have one less dish to wash.

Yes, you will have to dirty one knife and one cutting board to split the bread and slice a tomato and cucumber, but those are easy to hand-wash. A note on the best bread to use here: Skip the crisp baguette and choose a soft French loaf instead. A pliable loaf will make the sandwich easier and less messy to eat.

Situational Summer Suppers

We’ve been there and we know you’re going to be there too: a fridge full of summer produce just waiting for the perfect cooking situation. Whether you’re heading out the door for a road trip, avoiding the stove during a heatwave, or having friends over on short notice, these simple, thoughtful meals have been designed to help you — and your cooking — thrive this summer.

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Summer Vegetables Sub Sandwich with Garlic Cream Cheese

Makes4 sandwiches


  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 clove

    garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    loaf soft French bread (not baguette)

  • 1

    (12-ounce) jar whole pimento or roasted red peppers, well-drained

  • 1

    medium tomato, thinly sliced

  • 1/2

    medium English or hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1

    (12-ounce) jar quartered and marinated artichokes hearts, well-drained

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    baby spinach (2 cups)



  1. Mash the cream cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl (or the cream cheese container) with a fork until combined.

  2. Slice the French loaf horizontally almost all the way through. Open the bread and spread the cream cheese mixture onto both cut sides. On the bottom half of the bread, layer the vegetables evenly in this order: pimentos or roasted red peppers, tomato, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and spinach.

  3. Close the sandwich and cut into crosswise into 4 sandwiches. Tightly wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Make ahead: The cream cheese mixture can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. The sandwiches can be assembled a few hours in advance, wrapped, and refrigerated until ready to serve. The edges of the bread can get soggy after several hours, so be sure to drain your pimentos and artichokes well.
  • Storage: Leftover sandwiches can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.