5 Gluten-Free “Sandwiches” (Hold the Bread)

Wheat-free subs(titutions)

I have nothing but admiration for the ambitious majority of gluten-free cooks out there, but I have neither the aptitude for baking nor interest in the stiff, expensive, and calorie and sugar-packed gluten-free bread sold at supermarkets and health food stores. My mantra is, “If you can’t eat it, don’t.”

When you’re hankering for a sandwich, however (a basic human right in my opinion), that may be easier said than done. I've found that sandwich ingredients can be used in a salad as an alternative, but this doesn't cut it when I'm craving one or need something portable. Try your own variations on any of these ideas or recommend them to your gluten-tolerant friends who are sick and tired of bread. 


Polenta Flatbread

Make a batch of polenta (the 10-minute kind works just fine), spread it in a ½-inch layer over a non-stick baking sheet and allow to set completely, about an hour. Place onto a large cutting board and cut into wedges or “sandwich slices,” then brush lightly with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool and sandwich anything you like between the two pieces or try it open-faced. My favorite? A smear of fresh ricotta, olive tapenade, roasted red peppers, and arugula. (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Fristle)


Lettuce/Cabbage Wraps

They’re not just at P.F. Chang’s anymore — these wraps can be assembled at home and are the easiest way to get your sandwich ingredient fix. Remove the core from a head of lettuce or cabbage, carefully separate the leaves, and roll your ingredients inside. The rest is up to you, but leftover Asian stir-fry, thick-sliced cold cuts, goat cheese, and chicken salad lend themselves particularly well to this application. Best of all, if it’s a BLT you crave, the L is built right in. (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Joyosity)



Alright, they’re more of a crepe, but this South Indian staple has everything… er, nothing. They’re dairy, egg, soy, and gluten-free, but incredibly, crispy, chewy, and savory. Made from ground and fermented rice and lentils, dosas are packed with protein and, wrapped properly, are surprisingly leak-proof. Try them stuffed traditionally with spiced potatoes and peas, or buy pre-made batter at any Indian store and roll up up peppercorn turkey, fresh cilantro, tomatoes, and sliced hard-boiled eggs with a smear of mint or tamarind chutney for a play on Indian street food. Dosas are also great for making gluten-free burritos. (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/IXT_0076)


Corn tortillas

Is a quesadilla a sandwich? If you pack tasty ingredients in between two tortillas, it would be hard to argue. Be creative and think outside the box: If you’re craving a breakfast sandwich, a fried egg fits perfectly on a tortilla. It won’t leak on the go and welcomes any protein, veggie, or condiment you’ve got handy. A sprinkling of shredded cheese to “glue” the tortillas together, plus a little heat, and you’re out the door before you can say “migas.” (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Cbertel)


Rice balls

A popular lunch in Japan thanks to their portability, rice balls can be stuffed with almost anything you have in your fridge —they don’t have to be Asian or wrapped with seaweed. Buy a rice ball mold for about $5 and have at it. I’ve had success with tuna salad, smoked salmon, guacamole, roast chicken, curried lentils, leftover braised short ribs, and, of course, any combination of cold cuts you can come up with. (Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Wordridden)