Healthy Lunch Ideas
As the summer winds down I start looking for new lunch ideas. After many tomato and fresh mozzarella feasts I want something new. Preferably something healthy and easy, with ingredients from the farmer’s market. Since I prefer protein based meals I chose to make a variation on a cheese sandwich.
A Ploughman’s Lunch is the meal a ploughman took with him to the fields. A British tradition, it contained homemade bread, cheese, chutney and pickles. Leftover cold meats and seasonal fruit would sometimes be included. Today’s modern gastropubs have found this the perfect vehicle to showcase their cheese and charcuterie selections. The dish now often includes artisan breads, pates, game and selections of regional cheeses.
Although I have had several fine adaptations, I wanted to recreate a version of a Ploughman’s Sandwich I once had at the British pub, Pleasant House II. No longer in southwest Michigan, the people at Pleasant House Bakery have brought their pub concept to Chicago.The sandwich is now available at Pleasant House Pub in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Based on the British Ploughman’s Lunch, it layers cheddar cheese with sweet and savory flavors on crusty bread.
One of the reasons I find this sandwich so memorable is the carrot chutney. Both sweet and sour, it gives a cheddar cheese sandwich a new dimension. I have to admit a lifetime aversion to cooked carrots, so I am shocked to discover the carrots in chutney are cooked as well as spiced. The recipe for carrot chutney owes a debt to Britain’s Guardian daily newspaper. In search of an authentically British condiment, I found a basic recipe among the reader’s contributions.
Pickles are a staple of the Ploughman’s Lunch. While most people think of pickled cucumbers when they hear the word pickles, the Pleasant House sandwich contains pickled onions. Pickled onions are in fact traditional, but I chose to make my sandwich with bread and butter pickles. A popular side for grilled cheese sandwiches, I thought it would add a tangy note to the meal. Although I sometimes I buy condiments at the Farmer’s Market, my sandwich pickles were made by Bubbies.
My healthy lunch includes greens. Greens give crunch as well as vitamins to sandwiches. The layer of spinach I added act as abase for the chutney.
Healthy Lunch Recipe
Ploughman’s Lunch Sandwich
2 Slices crusty bread
Bread and butter pickles
Place a layer of cheddar cheese on the bread, top with a layer of pickles. Add a layer of spinach and top with chutney. Cover with the second bread slice. Serve.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 onion sliced
12 ounces. grated carrots
Salt to tste
Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 cup extra fine sugar (Process regular sugar in a food processor for a few minutes. Stop before it turns to powder.)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Warm the oil in a large frying pan. Add the mustard seeds.When the seeds start to pop add the onions. Saute until translucent. Add the carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, tumeric, cumin and coriander. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar. Simmer for an hour. Cool and refrigerate.