Recipes: How to make sandwiches and wraps that rise above the routine (2024)

Ah, the relief that lockdown cooking can provide. When staying cooped up at home, one day may seem very much like the last. Cooking may be the best distinguishing component. But unless you are feeding the neighborhood or dishing up dinners to a large family, those meals can yield a load of leftovers.

Sandwiches can be a creative way to use those fridge-filling reruns. Everything from leftover cooked steak, chicken, pork or seafood can be the cornerstone of brilliant sandwiches. Proteins, cold and cut into manageable-sized pieces, can star in traditional between-sliced-bread renditions, as well as tucked into pita halves or rolled up burrito-style in wraps. Or, try a sturdy lettuce taco, tucking the filling into a folded lettuce leaf.

If you like, try some tasty condiments to add pizzazz. Store-bought chutney can be tossed with chunks of chicken or pork. Raita, the classic Indian yogurt sauce, can be delicious on a chicken sandwich (to make it combine 1 cup plain whole milk Greek-style yogurt, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 3/4 cup finely chopped peeled and seeded cucumber, salt and pepper). Or for a spicy edge, make a lime-chili mayo by combining 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, plus salt and pepper.

Here are some favorite use-the-leftovers sandwich riffs from our house:

Pita Sandwiches Stuffed with Chopped Salad and Cheese

Chopped salad makes a tasty filling for pita bread pockets and the formula is open to variation depending on what is on hand in your vegetable bin. The crunchy mix is napped with a lime-honey vinaigrette and welcomes a wide variety of leftover additions: ham or chicken, steak or sautéed tofu cubes are scrumptious, as well as rinsed-and-drained canned beans. I like the perky edge that pepper Jack cheese brings, as well as pitted green olives.

Yield: 8 halves

Recipes: How to make sandwiches and wraps that rise above the routine (1)


1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ripe avocado, diced

3/4 cup diced leftover boneless meat or poultry

2 hothouse cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

3 Roma tomatoes, diced or several cherry tomatoes halved or quartered

1/2 cup sliced pitted green olives

1 cup grated pepper-jack cheese

2 hearts of romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)

4 (6 1/2-inch) pita rounds


1. In large bowl, combine lime juice, oil and honey; stir to combine. Add mint or basil, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

2. Add avocado, leftover meat or poultry, cucumbers, tomatoes and green olives; gently toss. Add cheese and lettuce; toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Cut pita rounds in half, open pocket and fill each half with salad. Do not overfill or pita will tear.

Source: Adapted from “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” by Cathy Thomas (Wiley, $29.95)

Ina’s Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Chicken salad spiked with fresh tarragon is another filling favorite. The subtle anise flavor of the tarragon breathes new life into this classic salad. Sometimes I add chopped dried cranberries or coarsely chopped toasted almonds. Or if I’m feeling a little naughty, I add strips of crisp bacon or avocado to the sandwich when I add the lettuce layer.

Yield: 4 to 5 sandwiches


About 4 cups cooked, chilled chicken cut into 3/4-inch dice, or to roast from scratch 4 bone-in, skin-on raw chicken breasts

Extra-virgin olive oil (if roasting from scratch)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (do not substitute dry tarragon — use fresh basil or parsley if you don’t have fresh tarragon)

1 cup small-diced celery (2 stalks)

8 to 10 slices seven-grain bread or squaw bread

1 package baby lettuces, see cook’s notes

Cook’s notes: If you use very large chicken breasts, you may need a little more mayonnaise and tarragon. I prefer the mix of baby greens that also contains fresh herbs.


1. Use leftover cooked chicken, or to start from scratch, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Set aside to cool.

2. When chicken is cool, remove and discard skin and bones; cut chicken into 3/4-inch dice. Place chicken in a bowl and add mayonnaise (reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons for spreading on bread), tarragon, celery, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well.

3. To assemble, spread a little mayonnaise on half of the bread slices, top with chicken salad and lettuces. Cover with remaining slices of bread. Cut in half and serve.

Source: “Barefoot Contessa at Home” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)

Lettuce-Wrapped Egg Salad Sandwiches

These days hard-cooked eggs are standard fare in our fridge. They are a handy snack, and welcome addition to salads, sandwiches and pickling brine. Instead of the traditional mayonnaise-based egg salad, I prefer plain yogurt as the backbone of our egg-salad sandwiches. The concoction is delicious used between slices of toasted rustic bread or served as an open-faced sandwich, but for a change of pace (or when there’s no bread on hand), I like to tuck it into a sturdy lettuce leaf, either a butter lettuce leaf or a red leaf lettuce leaf, and fold it taco style.

Yield: 4 servings (yield depends on size of lettuce leaves)

Recipes: How to make sandwiches and wraps that rise above the routine (2)


5 large eggs

2 1/2 tablespoons plain, fat-free yogurt, plus more if needed.

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon minced lemon zest (colored portion of peel)

Leaves of red leaf lettuce or butter lettuce, number varies according to leaf size

Optional garnish: Chopped chives


1. To hard cook the eggs: Put eggs in small saucepan with cold water to cover by 1 inch. Place on high heat. When water comes to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow eggs to sit covered for 12 minutes. Drain and run cold water over eggs. When cool enough to handle, crack and peel in cold water, place in airtight container and refrigerate.

2. In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, dill, salt, pepper and zest; stir to combine. Coarsely chop eggs and add to yogurt mixture; stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed and add more yogurt if needed to reach a creamy consistency.

3. Top each lettuce leaf (or stack two leaves if flimsy) with egg salad. If desired, top with chopped chives and fold taco style.

Tortilla Wraps with Cabbage and Asian Dressing

These wraps are a delicious way to use leftover cooked meat or poultry. Shredded leftover salmon is also a tasty choice. I love the way the mayonnaise condiment added personality to the dish. It’s augmented Asian notes with the addition of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and dried red chili flakes, plus the aromatic bonus of orange or tangerine zest. Note that both red and green varieties of cabbage are called for in the ingredient list. Please feel welcome to use whichever cabbage you have on hand.

Recipes: How to make sandwiches and wraps that rise above the routine (3)

Yield: 4 large wraps



1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Zest of 1 orange, about 1 tablespoon

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon dried red chile flakes


4 large flour tortillas

1 cup shredded green cabbage

1 cup shredded red cabbage

About 3/4 cup leftover cooked chicken breast or beef, cut into thin strips or diced, see meatless tip

1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas, strings removed, each cut into 3 lengthwise strips

1/4 cup shredded, peeled daikon

1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch wide lengthwise slices

4 green onions, roots trimmed, halved lengthwise

4 to 8 stalks of cilantro

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Place dressing ingredients in small bowl; stir to combine. Spread enough dressing on one tortilla to thinly coat entire surface. Place 1/4 of cabbage on lower half of tortilla; place 1/4 of each remaining ingredient on top of cabbage, adding salt and pepper to taste. Roll up as tight as possible, starting at lower edge, folding over ends (to tuck in contents) half way through rolling up tortilla. Finish rolling up. Give it a gentle push to seal. Cut in half crosswise and place on plate.

2. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Meatless tip: These wraps are delectable without meat, so omit the chicken. If desired, add cubes of firm Asian-flavored tofu.

Source: Adapted from “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” by Cathy Thomas (Wiley, $29.95)

Have a cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at

Recipes: How to make sandwiches and wraps that rise above the routine (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 5780

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.