86 The Mayo! Healthy Alternative Sandwich Spreads
Over the last few years, the classic deli sandwich has been through a major overhaul as we strive to create nutritious yet satisfying ways to reinvent this American staple. At the store, as I read the labels on many of these common household condiments, meats and breads, I quickly discovered a plethora of hidden sugars, salt, nitrates, antibiotics and even growth hormones. Bad, bad, 1000 times BAD!
My journey began with the basics, finding reliable sources for high quality bread, cheese and meat. Once I found a healthy source for these, I decided to explore my choices for delicious condiments and greens to create a sandwich that was truly Voovacious!
Please note, since I was a child, I have had a notable and profound dislike of mayonnaise. I am completely baffled why anyone with a discerning palate would destroy the fresh, nutritious flavors of a delicious sandwich by smearing a slimy application of greasy fat all over it. The texture, color, smell and thick, rancid flavor of mayonnaise all constitute culinary blasphemy in my opinion. Yuck! (Get comfortable with this concept, as you’re not going to see any positive reference to that product on this site. Oh, I promise!)
As one of my nutrition professors so astutely noted,
“You might as well just wipe the mayo on your ass, cause that’s exactly where it’s going…”
In my continued search to find wholesome, creative ways to dress up our sandwiches, I will share with you my very favorite options.
As you may have noticed throughout my blog, I am a huge fan of the avocado. This dreamy, creamy, pale green wonder contains heart healthy monounsaturated fats and loads of fiber. It also assists in the body’s production of glutathione, an extremely powerful anti-aging, disease-fighting antioxidant. Avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, and Vitamin B6. Consuming this healthy, fatty fruit is a winner on all fronts by creating healthy radiant skin, thick, shiny hair, and super strong nails, as well as boosting your metabolism and fighting belly fat. Recent research has indicated that the beneficial fats in avocados assists the body in maintaining steady blood sugar levels while keeping your appetite in check.
If there truly is a fruit of the gods, I believe it to be the amazing avocado.
Basil pesto is an aromatic, delicious addition to any sandwich. Basil is packed with vitamin A, which supports a healthy immune system and contains very potent anti-inflammatory agents to fight premature aging and chronic disease. Add to that the healthy fats in both olive oil and pine nuts and you’ve got yourself a Voovaciously healthy alternative to smearing on the unhealthy saturated fats from mayo. Please click here for Le Voov! Basil Pesto recipe
Hummus is a plant-based protein with loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is made from pureed chickpeas, sesame-based tahini, garlic, olive oil and lemon. For a more bold flavor, consider using the various flavored hummus such as ‘Tomato & Basil’, ‘Garlic’ or my favorite ‘Spicy Hummus’ on your next sandwich. Best of all, hummus contains essential fatty acids and vitamins, with only half the calories of mayo.
Edamame & Wasabi Spread
The combination of edamame, a plant-based protein, blended together with the zippy sinus sensation of wasabi adds a nutritious punch to any sandwich. (See Marinated Ahi Sashimi with Edamame/Wasabi Spread in my Recipe section.) I particularly like to use this spread with lox, seared ahi, or roasted turkey sandwiches.
Edamame are young soy beans, which are packed with heart healthy isoflavones, vitamin K, fiber, calcium and contain all nine vital amino acids that the body does not produce on it’s own.
Wasabi is known for it’s pungent, sinus-blowing effects. But it is more than just another condiment, it’s a rich source of minerals and nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and manganese, as well as glucosinolate compounds. Sadly, because wasabi is very difficult to grow and harvested from a few small valleys in Japan, many restaurants substitute a fake version of mustard, horseradish and green food coloring in it’s place. So, make sure you’re getting the real thing to enjoy all the health benefits of wasabi. (See the Sushi Sonic 100% Wasabi Powder available through our Amazon Store.)
Edamame/Wasabi spread is an excellent low calorie substitution for meat on a sandwich and a super healthy protein source if you are vegetarian or vegan.
A Word of Caution: Edamame as well as other soy products contain a protein that inhibits and reduces testosterone levels, which may lead to hormonal imbalance if ingested in large quantities regularly.
Mustard seeds have been used for their culinary and healing benefits for several thousand years. There are three types of seeds used in the making of mustard, black seeds, which are the most pungent in flavor, brown seeds, used for making Dijon, and the mild white seeds used to make traditional American mustard. All three are used in marinades or a moist rub for meat or fish, as well as sauces, dips, soups, stir-fries and salad dressings. Mustard seeds contain manganese, selenium, magnesium and phosphorus, with small amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Cranberries are low in fat and calories, yet teeming with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Rich in vitamin C, they also support healthy bladder function by inhibiting harmful bacterial growth on the walls of the bladder. Every autumn I purchase several bags of fresh, organic cranberries to make and freeze sauce to access throughout the year. A zesty cranberry sauce/chutney can turn an average turkey sandwich into a healthy feast! (See my blog Recipe section for fun ideas.)
Vinegar – I continue to be inspired by the many varieties of vinegar available, and the flavorful accent they can bring to a meal. From salads to sandwiches, fish & chips and marinades, the diversity and culinary potential of this lip-puckering condiment seem endless. Whether you use balsamic, rice, red wine, malt or champagne vinegar, you will enjoy a nutritious, low calorie, high-alkaline addition to your sandwich, creating a bright and distinct layer of flavor for the palate.
Healthy Hydration – I am also a big fan of adding onions, cucumber, tomatoes and an assortment of greens to my sandwiches to add vitamins and fiber as well as moisture to the bread. A variety of nutritionally dense, flavorful, organic greens such as fresh watercress, aromatic basil, peppery arugula, tangy dandelion and mustard greens are a fantastic source of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
Finally, if you are limiting your carb intake or have eliminated them all together, here are a few ideas to keep your sandwich calories low and the flavor high.
- Wrap your sandwich, taco or burrito fixins’ into a large leaf of romaine or butter lettuce to provide a low-calorie, fabulously crunchy alternative to bread or tortillas.
- Cut your carb and calorie intake in half by making an open-faced sandwich. Start by choosing a bread that is dense in nutrients and fiber, and enjoy the hardiness of bread without the addition of unwanted empty calories. Avoid spongy white, sour dough and sugar-packed wheat bread and opt for healthy whole grain instead. Enjoy!
The title ’86 The Mayo’ was inspired by my brilliant friend *Elisa, who shares my absolute disdain for mayonnaise. Cheers mate! *Please see my About page for details regarding *The Sisters ?