Chef Richard Landau skips the creepy packaged vegan bacon in favor of king oyster mushrooms, also known as king trumpets or royal trumpets. These have a firm, meaty texture and flavor that can mimic bacon on a BLT. While the texture of king oysters is unique, other thinly sliced wild mushrooms, like shiitake, would also be tasty on this sandwich.
Farmstead chicken is the star ingredient in a Moscow banh mi, a riff on a classic Vietnamese sandwich. What makes it Russian? The chopped beets and horseradish mayonnaise that are layered with the chicken, lettuce and vinegary carrots.
Charles Dale makes this healthy club sandwich with omega-3-rich salmon grilled in a lightly sweet, tangy tamarind sauce. The extra sauce here can be refrigerated for up to 1 week and is delicious on chicken or pork chops.
Stacked high with slices of tomato, onion, cucumber, avocado, and provolone cheese, this is a vegetable sandwich that even confirmed carnivores will love. You can add or substitute other fresh vegetables; radishes, spinach, or grated carrot go particularly well here. When you can't get good tomatoes, don't buy lousy, cottony ones; use twice the amount of lettuce instead.
There's plenty of room for experimentation here. We've used grilled eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onion sandwiched in crusty rolls with a little pesto. Fennel, endive, or mushrooms would make fine vegetable substitutes; sun-dried tomatoes or white-bean puree can replace the pesto; or omit the condiment altogether and top the sandwich with whole fresh basil or mint leaves. You can even change the cooking equipment, using the broiler or a grill pan in lieu of an outdoor grill.
Spicy Pita Pockets with Chicken, Lentils, and Tahini Sauce
Here's something to do with roasted chicken from the deli—a Middle Eastern sandwich chock-full of spicy lentils, bulgur, lettuce, tomato and tahini sauce. Two pockets per person is enough to make a meal. If you like, serve extra Tabasco sauce at the table. You can find tahini (sesame-seed paste) in most supermarkets.
In this riff on a classic egg-salad sandwich, Melissa Rubel Jacobson stirs finely chopped silken tofu with mayonnaise, mustard, chives and crunchy celery, then spreads it on whole wheat toast. To mimic the yellowish color of egg salad, she sometimes adds a little turmeric, but it's not necessary.
Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Tapenade and Basil
Over the past decade, young chefs throughout France, like Christophe Emé, have been inspired by the cooking of Provence. Although you won't see Emé's vegetable sandwich, made with baguette toasted on the grill, at cafés in Aix-en-Provence or Nice, the ingredients—olives, herbs, garlic and anchovies—are unmistakably southern. For a more substantial sandwich, add tuna or chicken.