Sandwiches are incredible. There’s no denying it. Whether you’re starting your day with a little yolk porn on your bacon egg and cheese, finding solace in a classic grilled cheese, or indulging in an ice cream sandwich, there’s a sandwich fit, maybe even necessary, for every time of the day.
Due to the limitless combinations of what you can put in your sandwich, people are creating new and innovative recipes every day. And while I’m happy you’ve finally had the peanut butter and bacon revelation, let’s not ignore the most crucial part of the sandwich (architecturally speaking): the bread. Something has to hold together that delicious mess of ingredients, but it doesn’t have to be your basic whole wheat or sourdough. Here are 7 substitutes for bread to make your next sandwich a little more lit.
This new trend started in homes and kitchens and has flourished on Instagram. Its success is now sweeping the nation and making its way into restaurants worldwide. Whether your sandwich is sweet or savory, the waffle is the perfect combination of a crispy outside and spongy inside to protect your sandwich.
2. Sweet Potato Waffles
The more adventurous sibling of the plain waffle, making your waffle out of sweet potatoes adds depth to both the flavor and texture. It also adds some health benefits, replacing the white flour of waffles for the Vitamin A loaded in sweet potatoes.
3. French Toast
So it’s technically bread, but it’s a serious upgrade. Sticking with the breakfast theme, French toast can take a boring PB&J and make it warm, sweeter, melty and gooey. While you’re at it, why not add some Nutella and bananas?
As someone with a relentless sweet tooth, this is a personal favorite of mine. Potentially a little fattening, but definitely ridiculously delicious. Light and fluffy donuts balance out the cold and hard ice cream, and donuts themselves have so much flavor that you can make them the star of the sandwich, and stick to a more neutral ice cream flavor. Or, you could test the limits of your arteries and fill the donuts with pulled pork, bacon and cheese.
This alternative to bread is also becoming more common in restaurants, specifically in breakfast cafés. And for good reason. These flaky pastries can hold together sweet or savory elements, making your breakfast sandwich feel a little more sophisticated than a bagel ever will. Crossainwich FTW.
6. Egg Crepe
If for some odd reason you don’t want to start your day with a heaping serving of carbs, this alternative is light and healthy. When you’re in the mood for a savory crepe or breakfast burrito, try making a super thin scrambled egg crepe to wrap up your sandwich.
While it may not be the most exciting option, wrapping your sandwich in lettuce is a super healthy alternative to bread. Lettuce is great to use when you’re not ravenously hungry, and it lets the ingredients inside the sandwich shine through. Whether you’re eating a classic burger or an Asian-inspired veggie wrap, lettuce is mild enough that it goes well with a variety of flavors and cuisines.
If you’re in need of some southern comfort, this is the option for you. Whether you opt for cheesy, savory biscuits, or sweeter ones laced with honey butter, you can’t go wrong comforting your sandwich with two fluffy biscuits.
9. Portobello Mushrooms
Vegetarian-friendly, but not vegetarian-exclusive. Don’t hesitate to try this healthier option. Portobello mushrooms have a smoky, almost meaty flavor, which is especially tasty when roasted or grilled. Portobellos also have a sturdy texture, so you can build your sandwich without fear of the buns crumbling through your fingers.
Sushi and a sandwich in one? What more could you ask for? Many sushi restaurants are starting to adopt this trend and add sushi sandwiches to their menus, but if you can’t find it in a restaurant near you, these are pretty easy to make. Using sticky white rice, pat a portion into either a bun shape or a flatter square shape reminiscent of tea sandwiches, and load up your favorite fish and veggies inside.
11. Ramen Noodles
Initially gaining attention through their feature at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, and quickly spreading across foodie and travel Instagrams, these ramen noodle buns are a funky modern fusion of two cultures. Keizo Shimamoto invented the original ramen burger, but this ingenious invention can be tweaked to satisfy a range of pallets. Traditional American beef burgers are complimented just as well by ramen buns as are spicy pork buns.
Who said bacon had to be eaten as a side dish to pancakes? Everyone loves the sweet and salty flavor combination, so treat your taste buds right and put your bacon or sausage right in the middle of your stack of pancakes. Add some eggs while you’re at it, and don’t forget the maple syrup. It may not be the neatest meal, but it’s definitely worth the sticky mess.
When you’re in need of a quick trip to France, but don’t have the time or money, take a few minutes with a delicate macaron sandwich and you’ll feel like you’re walking through the doors of Laduree in Paris. Macarons are a more refined and sophisticated treat than a heavy donut but still fulfill an indulgent craving. Ice cream is the usual filling for macarons, but feel free to try out other sweet options, like peanut butter and jelly.
A timeless alternative to bread, there’s a reason why bagels have reigned as a favorite sandwich bread for such a long time. You can fill them with literally any ingredients imaginable. From cinnamon raisin bagels with peanut butter, bananas, honey and sausage to everything bagels with eggs, avocado, cheese and pesto, it’s a challenge to find a bagel sandwich you won’t consume in a matter of minutes – of course making sure to snap a picture first.
15. Steamed buns
A personal favorite of mine, steamed buns are a heavenly, light, puffy cloud of love. It’s more the texture that’s appealing than their flavor; they are a little bland. But this allows for the fillings to take the center stage. Pork belly is the classic filling, but really any juicy and tender meat with an Asian inspired sauce will work wonders with steamed buns.