The best bread-free sandwich in the world…It’s low carb, grain-free, starch-free and sugar-free..Easy to make…Photos instructions…

It’s important to wash the dirt off of lettuce. If it’s not organic, carefully repeat rinsing in cold water, which may remove some of the pesticides.  If it is organic, carefully rinsing the lettuce removes dirt and little green worms which we’ve found on organic produce here in Italy. Usually, we dry it with a clean white kitchen towel or paper towels, wrapping the leftover lettuce in the white towel, and placing it in the fridge will keep it fresh for days. For the recipe, wash and dry 8 large romaine lettuce leaves, usually the leaves closest to the outside.

Two years ago when we began this restrictive way of eating, I was desperate for ideas. I’d heard that Jimmy Johns made a bread-less low carb sandwich called the Unwich. Cute name, eh?

Slice fresh tomatoes, purple (or yellow) onions as you prep for making the sandwich.
Off I went to the store closest to our then home in Minnesota to give it a trial run, purchasing “The Club Unwich” for two. Taking it home for dinner that night was unusual. We never and I mean never, ordered fast food for dinner. The only carry-out we had once a month or so was Chinese food, now forbidden on our way of eating, due to soy, MSG, sugar, noodles, etc.
This sliced Emmental cheese or sliced Provolone cheese seems to add more flavor to the sandwich. Try to avoid using overly processed American or cheddar cheese. There is no cheddar cheese in Italy due to the dyes used to color it. That’s impressive!

Making a large salad on the side, Tom and I sat at the bar in our kitchen and munched away. Halfway through, I jumped up and decided to “open” my sandwich to see how it was put together. Doing so would enable us to make these at home. 

Place the meats on a plate in preparation for assembling the sandwich. This mayonnaise is the best mayo we’ve ever used, no chemicals, few ingredients.
On the days we make the sandwich we usually have bacon and eggs for breakfast making extra bacon for the sandwiches, refrigerating it until we assemble the sandwich.

Of course, we could have continued to purchase them at Jimmy Johns. At less than US $6 each, they were a good buy, easy and fast.  But, for several reasons we decided to make our own:
1.  Our local Costco sold quality sliced nitrate-free meat and bacon.
2.  We could make the sandwich any size to fit our appetites.
3.  We’d be certain that no bread products had touched the food.  With a gluten-free sensitivity such as mine, even a bread crumb could become an issue.
4.  Use of higher quality, more flavorful real cheese, as opposed to highly processed cheese.
5.  Use of organic lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.  Why eat pesticides when one has a choice.
6.  Use of high-quality mayonnaise as opposed to the highly processed product.

Parchment paper is readily available at any grocery store. We used it almost every day to cover the bottom of any pan going into the oven (don’t use it on top of the stove) to reduce the cleanup and ease in getting the food, such as pizza out of the pan. It’s great for baking but one must not use it in excess of 375 degrees or it may burn. Do not use it when broiling. If you eat potatoes or sweet potatoes, parchment is ideal for making oven fries. Toss pre-cut potatoes with olive oil and salt and place in a preheated oven to (190C), 375F, baking for 30 minutes or until brown, tossing every so often. Best fries ever. For this sandwich recipe, we cut two pieces of about (75 cm) 30 inches each to use to wrap the ingredients as one would wrap a tortilla.

For us, these were great reasons to make it at home. For others, it may be easier and befitting a busy lifestyle to head to Jimmy Johns and purchased them made to order.

To begin making the sandwich, lay two large romaine lettuce leaves, overlapping, end to end, centered on the parchment paper, the long way. Be certain the lettuce is dry to avoid a soggy mess later.

After mentioning these sandwiches a few times in our posts, a number of our readers have written to us requesting instructions on how to make our “to die for” bread-less low carb sandwich. With that delectable morsel on the menu tonight for dinner, today is the perfect day to take photos to show you the easy step by step instructions.

Place the turkey or chicken slices atop the lettuce, cover with tomatoes. It’s OK to add more if you’d like.  We prefer this smaller amount.

(An item you’ll need to purchase at the grocery store along with these food items, is parchment paper or freezer paper which is used to wrap the sandwich. For kids or messy adults, use two rubber bands to hold the paper on the wrapped sandwich). 

Place the cheese atop the tomatoes, adding the mayonnaise using the spatula or wide knife.

Once familiar with the process, one can put two of these sandwiches together in a matter of minutes with the ingredients at your disposal. Below are all of the ingredients you’ll need to make two large bread less Club sandwiches.

Ham slices in Italy are different than deli ham slices in other countries, fattier, no nitrates, and less flavorful than the ham slices in the US.  In our sandwiches, we don’t use Italian salami. It was too fatty for our taste buds, greasy on the tongue.  One can add or delete any items in this sandwich.  But, the most important for maximum flavor is bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise.  Sliced roast beef also works well when available.  We would have purchased it yesterday, but it was US $42 a pound so we were content with the ham and sliced chicken.

1 large ripe tomato, sliced medium thickness
1 large purple onion, sliced thin
8 large washed and dried romaine lettuce leaves
4 slices Provolone cheese (or other preferred sliced cheese)
6 ounces sliced deli ham
6 ounces sliced deli turkey or chicken
6 ounces sliced salami, roast beef, or other preferred slice meat
6 slices cooked bacon
Mayonnaise (Tom doesn’t like mayo but in this sandwich, he does. Give it a try or use other sandwich spread that you or leave it out).
Parchment paper, cut into two 30′ long pieces

Layer the cooked bacon and the onions slices.

Adding these items to our grocery list is easy here in Italy. All of their meats are nitrate and chemical-free.  Thus, they spoil quickly.  As a result, when we purchase the above to make the sandwiches, we usually eat them for two nights in a row, freshly made each night, in order to use up all the meats we’ve purchased. 

After layering all the ingredients, lay two more dry pieces of the romaine lettuce atop, matching up the length of the sandwich to avoid a lot of overlap on the ends.

Yesterday, we shopped and tonight will be our second night of the sandwiches, which we anticipate with the same enthusiasm as last night. The sandwiches can be made earlier in the day and stay fresh in the refrigerator until dinner. 

Fold the paper over the sandwich on the edge closest to you, beginning to roll it tightly.

When Tom was still working I made these sandwiches for him almost every day for the next day’s lunch, staying fresh overnight. I prefer making them the day they are eaten. But when packing lunch for work, making them the prior day is unavoidable. 

Tuck one end over as if you were gift-wrapping a package.

The sandwich will keep in a lunch box the same amount of time any sliced meat sandwich will keep. Tom always used an insulated lunch box with a frozen freezer pack of some type. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Continue to roll it tightly, tucking in both ends, leaving one end loose for unwrapping it as it is eaten.  Using a few well placed wide rubber bands helps for those who may have difficulty pulling the paper down neatly.  Tom is messier than I am and needs the rubber band which I lost yesterday.  It was the only one we had.  He’ll manage.
The final product, tightly wrapped, ready to chill, and enjoy with a side salad and steamed vegetables.

So there it is folks, our favorite sandwich. Actually, it’s our only sandwich. We have, on occasion, used this same concept using tuna salad, egg salad, and chicken salad, layered with cheese (or not), and preferred raw veggies.

A cold dinner is ideal on a hot day such as today at a humid 91 degrees!