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Is there anything better than a sandwich? Delicious, compact, and convenient, what more could someone want when they’re hungry? With a sandwich, you don’t need to worry about plates, forks, knives, spoons… depending on the sandwich, you might even be able to get away with not even using a napkin. Sandwiches are truly the ultimate in portable lunchtime satisfaction.

The origin story of the sandwich is steeped in mystery and intrigue. Though it seems likely that humans have been eating meat wrapped in bread for thousands of years, the modern sandwich reportedly dates back to the eighteenth century, when John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich, demanded that his servants bring his meat between two slices of bread instead of on a plate, which would allow him to continue playing cribbage without getting grease on his playing cards. Reports go on to say that over time, his special order became known as “the Sandwich” after his title. A true visionary if there ever was one.

Today, the word sandwich is somewhat ambiguous. Consider: is a hot dog a sandwich? Though many people consider a sandwich to be anything between two slices of bread, many use a broader definition that includes wraps, burritos, and just about any combination of bread and filling. That’s the definition we are going with here. Take a look at our favorite sandwich recipes to get some lunchtime inspiration!

Classic simplicity: the bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich

It doesn’t get much better than this. Something about the crunchy-greasy-salty-savory combination of the BLT just can’t be beaten. It’s got it all: toasty bread, rich mayonnaise, salty, fatty bacon, the sweetness from the tomatoes, all rounded out with the fresh crunch of lettuce. It really is a perfection on a toasted sourdough slice. Certain improvements have been suggested, such as adding egg or avocado, but purists will agree that here, at least, less is more. We urge you: take this BLT recipe and make a sandwich as soon as possible. You’ll thank us later.

The breakfast bandit: the sausage, bacon, and fried egg sandwich

If classic BLT is a paragon of lunchtime elegance and simplicity, this sandwich is anything but. Where the BLT represents a delicate symphony of flavors and textures, this bacon, sausage, and egg sandwich is the sound of a greasy train derailing. Bacon and sausage fight for tastebud supremacy, but who is the real winner? You. You are the winner. This bacon, sausage, and egg sandwich recipe is perfect for a weekend breakfast or whenever you aren’t worried about being late. Serve it with some ketchup for extra flavor.

The curveball: falafel in pita sandwich

Taking a more creative approach to the “what is a sandwich” question, the falafel in pita sandwich is a classic of Middle Eastern cuisine. A falafel is essentially a vegetarian meatball, made of ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices which are rolled into balls and then deep fried. Once cooked, they’re put inside a split pita bread with some lettuce and cucumber and garnished with cilantro. A squeeze of lemon adds a bit of acidity to this fantastic vegan falafel in pita sandwich

The vegetarian burger: chickpea veggie burger

If you were making those falafels and thought to yourself, “hmm, this feels a bit like hamburger meat,” then you can already see where we’re coming from. In this recipe, ground chickpeas come together with chopped hazelnuts and other seasonings to make a veggie patty to die for. Perfect for a summer barbecue, these 100% vegetarian burger patties will hold together on a hot grill without drying out or falling apart, making them one of the best meat substitutes out there. And healthy! The next time you’re out grilling, make sure to consider using this chickpea veggie burger recipe.

One for dessert: ice cream cookie sandwich

Bet you didn’t expect this! But we can’t finish off a list without including something sweet. Though most of this recipe is concerned with actually making the ice cream, we really recommend it: if you haven’t had homemade ice cream before, you really can’t imagine the dramatic distinction between it and store bought ice cream. Whole ingredients and a little elbow grease really make all the difference. It’s really quite astounding. Slap that freshly-churned ice cream between two homemade cookies to serve as the bread and you’ve got yourself a sandwich worth dreaming about.

Sandwiches: the perfect food?

Now that you’ve observed some of the breadth of what a sandwich can be, you have to ask yourself: is there anything a sandwich can’t do? What are these boundaries of this category? Ask yourself again: is a hot dog a sandwich? It seems that the infamous quote may also apply to sandwiches: “I shall not today attempt to define… and perhaps I could never succeed. But I know it when I see it.”

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