A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to a little beach bonfire, took some snacks and some wine, and posted up for a bit under the California night sky. Unanimously, we all decided more frequent trips to the beach were in order, especially of the picnic kind.
I love these little sandwiches, and honestly they haven’t had a bad review yet! They are a bit more time intensive (re: a labor of love), but all the ingredients can be easily repurposed for salads, wraps, bowls—anything savory and healthy! You could easily get a few meals out of this if you spread our the components and get a little creative. Aka put an egg on it.
The best part about these are the herbs. Don’t be shy with them. They really make this sandwich stand apart, and give the faint hint of Thanksgiving nostalgia. If you’re the carnivore kind, adding roasted or rotisserie chicken to this would really bulk it up. For me, I like to add a little sautéed garlic kale or chard to give it a bit more greens. I’ll never say no to greens. If you can, get good, rustic bread from a local bakery. I used Mariposa Gluten Free Rye bread for myself and my allergy prone friends, and a rustic brown loaf from Acme for the wheat lovers.
Savory Herbed Sweet Potato Sandwiches with Caramelized Onion, Green Apple, and Arugula
For the Sweet Potato Purée
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 chunks
1 T minced rosemary
3 t minced sage
5 cloves garlic, sliced
3 T olive oil for baking
salt and pepper
fresh squeeze of 1/2 lemon
For the Caramelized Onions
2 large yellow or white onions, sliced into 1/4” slices
2 tbs butter
2 tbs grape seed or olive oil
salt and pepper
For the Sandwiches
herbed cream cheese (I used Kite Hill dairy free chive)
1 green apple, halved and sliced into very thin slices
arugula (a few handfuls)
rustic loaf of bread, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
To start, pre-heat the oven to 400. While oven is preheating, peel the sweet potato and chop. Add to a large bowl and add herbs, s&p, and oil. (see above photo) Stir well and add to foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, adding garlic to pan about halfway through. Bake until golden brown and soft but not too dark. Once the potatoes are done, add to a bowl and mash with a fork or immersion blender, adding the fresh squeeze of lemon to brighten up the purée. Set aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, caramelize the onions. In a non-stick pan, heat oil and 1 T butter until hot. When onions sizzle a bit when they hit heat, that’s how you know it’s warm enough to add. Add onions and s&p and stir well. Lower heat to medium high and allow to brown on one side. Once browned, add more butter and stir the onions frequently. You want these to cook down slowly and really brown entirely. Once very soft and brown, remove from heat.
To assemble the sandwiches
To make the sandwiches, put both slices of bread on the counter, adding the sweet potato to the bottom and cream cheese to the top. Then, using the sweet potato side, add apples, onion, and arugula in that order. Top with cream cheese slice and, voila, you’re ready to picnic.