The “Unwich” – A Sandwich Alternative

I don't know about you, but I grew up on sandwiches, well and cereal.  I could pretty much count on a PBJ every single day of my life.  When we transitioned into a Primal lifestyle, and we removed grains from our diet, the option of a quick sandwich for lunch was no longer available.  

For us, we pretty much started with meat and cheese roll ups as an alternative to sandwiches, but those became boring very fast.  You couldn't stuff many veggies into the meat, and they often fell apart.  Over the years, we have found our go-to sandwich option...the unwich.  Check out some of our favorites.

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The Cuban Unwich

I did a post on our current favorite unwich on Instagram a few weeks ago.  This has become a staple in our house over the last few months.  We seem to always have left over pulled pork, and I really, really love a good Cuban.  We adapted this recipe from Mark Sisson's book, The Keto Reset Diet.  This recipe is so easy, and it brings me back to the days of sitting outside City Grocery on a beautiful day with one of their delicious Cuban sandwiches and a bag of chips.

Here's how you can make your own at home.  Grab some leftover pulled pork.  If you don't make pulled pork on a regular basis, you should.  The Kalua pork from NomNom Paleo is one of my favorite recipes.  Place the pork on a sheet pan, and broil it in the oven until it begins to get crispy on the edges.

While the pork is in the oven, take a few slices of ham, and lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet.  I like to spread mayo (we love the Primal Kitchen mayo) on top of the ham.

When the pork is nice and crispy, remove it, and add it to the ham layer.  From there, add mustard (we use spicy brown) and some dill pickles.  Finally, top it with cheese if you tolerate dairy.

Place the unwich back into the oven on 400 until the cheese begins to bubble and brown.  Allow to cool and then cut it into servings.

I usually serve this unwich with mixed greens and avocado.  Sometimes, I'll mix it up and pair it with mashed cauliflower.  I'm telling you, this is a good one.  Give it a try...you won't miss the bread!

The Lettuce Wrap

I order lettuce wraps a lot.  I get them, they are beautiful, they are stuffed full of veggies, and they taste amazing.  Well, when I try to duplicate the lettuce wrap at home, it's a disaster.  All of my fillings fall out, I either get a bite of just meat or a bite of just lettuce, and they really aren't that amazing.

Until....

I came across this tutorial from Danielle Walker of Against All Grain.  Her parchment paper technique is fantastic.  Gone are the days of sad little lettuce wraps in the Presnell house.  Now, we have restaurant quality wraps just by following her tip.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Danielle Walker.  

I love to stuff my lettuce wraps with mayo, mustard, ham, bacon, salami, avocado, havarti cheese, and kimchi.  If I have leftover meat, I will wrap it up in lettuce, add some toppings, and I've got a brand new meal that is easy and super yummy.

The Portobello Mushroom

The portobello mushroom makes for a wonderful "bun."  It's sturdy, it tastes great, and you can fill it with just about anything.  We almost always use a portobello mushroom with a burger, but we've also found a few other ways to duplicate our beloved sandwiches.

  • Try a portobello mushroom BLT.  You could even add a fried egg to take it up a notch.
  • Stuff your portobello mushroom with buffalo style chicken and drizzle with ranch.
  • Portobello sloppy joe's are pretty amazing.
  • Make an open faced roast beef melt.  The mushroom will compliment the gravy perfectly.
  • Any kind of steak sandwich with some melted cheese on top of a portobello mushroom is delish!


Give the "Unwich" a try this week.

Don't worry about being fancy.  Give the unwich a try for lunch this week.  If you are tired of leftovers or your usual salad, this can help you beat lunch boredom.  Did you find an awesome lettuce wrap or bunless burger at a restaurant?  Copy it at home.

Get creative, and don't let the fact that you aren't eating bread stop you from enjoying the taste of a sandwich.  Have a favorite unwich?  We'd love for you to share it with us!

Kenzie Presnell

Loving life, enjoying the ride, and trying to live life as healthy as I can.

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