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The Sandwich Generation: Healthy Sandwich Recipes

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Spicy Tuna Salad

Cat Cora is the first female Iron Chef on the Food Network's Iron Chef America and author of Cooking from the Hip. Cora created this twist on the typical tuna salad.

Start to finish: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Dressing

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

Tuna Salad

  • 2 1/2 6-ounce cans light tuna in water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, crushed
  • 2 finely chopped scallions
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 slices thick-cut wheat bread
  • 6-8 lettuce leaves for garnish
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing; set aside. Drain water from tuna. In a large bowl, toss tuna with remaining ingredients, except parsley.
  2. Before serving, pour dressing over tuna and mix gently; sprinkle with parsley. Spread tuna on 4 slices of bread. Top with lettuce leaves and another slice of bread.

Nutrition facts per serving: 481 calories, 34g protein, 41g carbohydrate, 21g fat (3g saturated), 7g fiber

Mediterranean Wrap

Ellie Krieger, RD, host of the Food Network's Healthy Appetite and author of Small Changes, Big Results, gave the standard vegetarian sandwich this modern and exotic makeover.

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 2 medium zucchini, about 1/2 pound each, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup hummus (store-bought)
  • 4 pieces whole-grain wrap bread (about 2 ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  1. Preheat the broiler. Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with oil; dust with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and broil about 3 inches from heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until tender and slightly browned.
  2. Spread 1/4 cup hummus on each wrap and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon pine nuts. Top with a few slices of tomato and zucchini, 1/2 cup spinach, a few sliced onions, and 1 tablespoon mint. Roll up and cut in half on a diagonal.

Nutrition facts per serving: 373 calories, 14g protein, 51g carbohydrate, 17g fat (2g saturated), 13g fiber

Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

Gordon Ramsay is the star of Hell's Kitchen on Fox and owner of 12 restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay at The London in New York City. Instead of the usual turkey with mayo, Ramsay has paired this deli staple with a zestier condiment: cranberry sauce.

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • Olive oil
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • Rock salt to taste
  • 4 thyme leaves
  • 4-8 tablespoons cranberry sauce
  • 12 ounces turkey, thinly sliced
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • Grainy mustard to taste
  1. Drizzle olive oil on 4 slices of bread, season with rock salt, and place 1 thyme leaf on each. In a toaster oven, lightly toast all 8 pieces of bread and let cool slightly. Spread cranberry sauce on 4 pieces of bread (1 to 2 tablespoons per slice); to each, add 3 ounces of turkey, black pepper, and 1 basil leaf. Spread mustard on the 4 remaining slices of bread and place on top of sandwich bottoms.

Nutrition facts per serving: 330 calories, 32g protein, 37g carbohydrate, 5g fat (1g saturated), 2g fiber

Chicken Breast with Roasted Red Peppers, Mozzarella, and Pesto

Tom Colicchio is the head judge on Bravo's Top Chef and owner of seven restaurants, including 'wichcraft in New York City, which specializes in sandwiches. With this recipe, Colicchio makes a chicken sandwich anything but boring.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 leaves fresh basil
  • 8 slices rustic country bread, preferably 100 percent whole grain
  • 1/4 cup pesto (Colicchio makes his own, but store-bought works fine)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella, evenly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers (you can also use 1 jar of store-bought roasted red peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fill a large pot about two-thirds full of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and add thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken in the poaching liquid and simmer until cooked through (about 160 degrees F. on a meat thermometer). Let the chicken cool in the liquid, then remove and slice about 1/4 inch thick. Brush chicken slices with olive oil and top with basil leaves.
  2. While the chicken is cooling, char the whole red peppers over an open flame on a grill. The skin should be black but not brittle. Place charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once they've cooled slightly, remove the skin, seeds, and stem. Slice peppers into strips about 1/4 inch thick and place in a bowl. Mix with the garlic, rosemary, and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (Or use 1 jar store-bought roasted peppers.)
  3. Place 4 slices of bread on a cutting board. Layer the chicken slices evenly over each; spread with 1 tablespoon pesto. On the remaining 4 pieces of bread, place the roasted pepper strips and sliced mozzarella. Toast all 8 slices of bread in a toaster oven until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble. Remove and top chicken and pesto bread slices with the bread holding the pepper strips and mozzarella. Cut each sandwich in half.

Nutrition facts per serving: 609 calories, 44g protein, 36g carbohydrate, 31g fat (13g saturated), 3g fiber

NOTE: For a lower-fat version, use part-skim mozzarella and 1/2 tablespoon pesto per sandwich. You'll save 7g fat and 7g saturated fat.

How to Build the Perfect Sandwich

  1. Pick whole-grain bread that has 100 calories or fewer per slice — the more fiber per serving (three-plus grams) the better.
  2. Choose a condiment — mustard, light mayo, salsa, or avocado.
  3. When buying deli meat, stick to brands with less than 250 milligrams of sodium and one gram of saturated fat per serving.
  4. Use one slice of low-fat cheddar, provolone, or Swiss.
  5. Pile on the veggies! They add flavor and fill you up without adding calories.

NEXT: Need something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Try one of these 250-calorie dessert recipes

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2007.

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