Looking for creative sandwich ideas for lunch — either for yourself or your kids? TODAY Food has midday mealtime covered for everyone heading to school or work or staying home.
It can be so easy to fall into a lunch-packing rut: PB&J, ham, grilled cheese, turkey, blah. But there is so much possibility between two slices of bread! We’re making the sandwich exciting, interesting and most of all simple to prep and pack for whatever the day has in store.
Fresh, crunchy, filling and flavorful, Samah Dada’s turmeric hummus and avocado sandwich, packed high between fluffy bread, is what daydreams are made of. It’s the perfect compromise between a light, nutritious salad and a more hearty meal.
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
This Buffalo chicken sandwich recipe is special. The shredded chicken soaked in zingy Buffalo sauce can be made ahead of time. Then, touched with sharp gorgonzola and sweet, crunchy slaw, it will make any lunch break truly enjoyable.
This is Italy’s version of the humble bologna sandwich. Curtis Stone gussied up this childhood favorite with Italian mortadella, peppery arugula, tangy mustard and rich olive oil.
Sandwich ideas for kids can be challenging, especially with limitations on bringing peanut butter to school. But there are simple, healthy sandwich kids of all ages can enjoy. Try this sweet and salty alternative for a sandwich that pops (with flavor and texture!).
Anyone craving a pulled pork sandwich for lunch without the overly heavy feeling after will love this jackfruit alternative. The meaty textured fruit has a fairly neutral taste when young, so it takes on the flavor of whatever sauce or seasoning you pair it with and works especially well with this tangy barbecue sauce.
KEN GOODMAN PHOTOGRAPHY / Ken Goodman
This sandwich is light yet full of all the Vietnamese flavors that Jet Tila loves. The bright, crunchy vegetables and rich pork are perfect together. Topped with cilantro, jalapeño and a splash of soy sauce, this beloved banh mi is worth the prep time.
Courtesy Kate Burr
So, here’s a sandwich with a twist. In between the chicken and bread, we put in xawaash, a Somali spice blend that adds great and distinctive taste. Somali food is typically seasoned with this spice blend and it helps give every recipe a unique level of flavoring — and it’s also what makes this chicken breast sandwich so special.
This sandwich combines a few delicious dishes (like falafel pita pockets or chicken and rice dinners) into one vegetarian, healthy and very portable meal! The roasted cauliflower adds so much flavor and makes this such a satisfying sandwich.
Anthony Michael Contrino, Katie Stilo and Tina DeGraff
Originally created for her sister-in-law’s baby shower (because it’s a pregnant person’s dream), Molly Yeh transformed her favorite cheesy fried pickles appetizer and turned into in a sandwich. It explodes with flavor: creamy, briny, salty, cheesy, a little spicy — all of the good stuff.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Imagine a tangier, spicier grilled cheese sandwich. There are so many interesting flavors and textures going on in this delicious dish: The crunchy bread works perfectly with the crisp curry leaves, the creamy yogurt, and the zing from the onions and cilantro.
Choripan is a street-food sandwich with roots in Argentina, though also popular throughout other Latin American countries. The recipe is essentially in the name, which is a playful portmanteau of the words “chorizo” and “pan” (Spanish for “bread”). This version from Alejandra Ramos is topped with a spicy, parsley-based herb sauce and delightfully tangy pickled onions.
The best part of making a roast chicken is using the leftover meat to create this easy, cheesy, deeply flavorful sandwich.
Tara Donne / Klancy Miller
A grilled cheese sandwich is the bear hug of comfort foods and this is a fast twist on it. Instead of toasting the sandwich in a skillet, the bread gets toasted in a toaster. The curried onions are prepared ahead of time.
Juan Lindo / Food Network
The acid from the vinegar and the earthy pop of texture from the poppy seeds add an unusually tasty element to Alex Guarnaschelli’s take on a turkey club. It’s a hearty sandwich that makes it easy to pack or enjoy fresh while the bacon is hot and crispy.
Courtesy TODAY Cafe
Inspired by TODAY’s Dylan Dryer’s famous Roast Beef Treats, this sandwich is piled high with tender roast beef and the creamy Boursin on olive ciabatta bread.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
This is one of those easy lunch sandwiches that packs so much flavor in so little time. Carson Daly’s recipe hits all the right notes: It’s salty, tangy and a little bit spicy, plus the avocado gives it a fantastic creaminess that pulls all the ingredients together.
Anyone who loves a good cheesesteak has to try Judy Joo’s take with a soy-ginger marinade and lots of sweet sliced onions, mushrooms, Korean green chiles and a sesame garnish. It’s heavenly.
Need more turkey sandwich ideas? Roasted turkey paired with earthy brie, sweet cranberry sauce and peppery arugula is a winning combination. You can make this easy sandwich cold for lunch later or warm it on a buttered pan for a melty, crunchy treat.
Take the grilled cheese to a whole new level of flavor. Spicy, umami-rich kimchi adds depth of flavor while the mix of melty cheeses complements the crispy, salty Spam.
Kate Greenberg/Osteria Mozza
The briny olives, fruity oil, crisp cucumbers, perfectly boiled eggs and fresh tuna all burst forth with the brilliant flavors of the Mediterranean. If the sandwich doesn’t drip down your arm with olive oil when you take a bite, it needs more olive oil.
ARPeaster 918.914.3929 / Jenne Claiborne
This delicious sandwich is so easy to make and perfectly filling. Jenné Claiborne makes it for lunch or dinner, and her my toddler loves it.
Courtesy Will Coleman
When entertaining on the go, sliced meats, cheeses and spreads are typically a hit, but the last thing we want to do is spend time artfully assembling a fancy charcuterie board. These sandwiches are the very happy compromise.
Chicken salad is an all-time favorite for lunch. Adding sweet grapes, toasty nuts and fresh celery makes the cool, creamy chicken even better. Plus, the crunch and flavor from the potato chips makes it extra irresistible.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
“Usually, I just add bacon and enjoy my sandwich with a side of tomato soup, but I also love using grilled onions,” says Al Roker. “The key here is using mayo (not butter!) to get the outside of the bread super crispy.”