Sandwiches & Burgers

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

How many posts have I started with, “I’m so excited to share this with you!”? I think that’s okay though because I only ever share recipes here that I think you NEED in your life so it makes sense for me to always be excited! These Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches have me really excited for several reasons, but mostly because the chicken salad is just damn delicious! Now, as many of you know, I am mayonnaise obsessed. At least half of you are probably cringing right now (I know Matt is!), but I’ve just always been hooked. Mayonnaise and healthy don’t exactly go together so I challenged myself to make a mayo-free chicken salad that wouldn’t make me miss the mayo at all. Well, as mayo-free as possible – I did throw in just one little tablespoon of mayo (which is less than a teaspoon per serving). Sorry, I can’t help it!

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was completely prepared to hate this chicken salad. I thought with subbing in plain Greek yogurt that would be all I would taste and that it would be okay, but not a solid substitute for the classic. I was so wrong and I’m so excited about it! I didn’t miss all the mayo one bit! The apple cider vinegar, Dijon, parsley and scallions give this chicken salad so much flavor and the crunch from the apple and the almonds keeps it from being anything but boring.

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another reason this chicken salad has so much flavor packed in is that I used grilled chicken. I love grilling chicken in the summertime and this sandwich is the perfect reason to throw a few extra chicken breasts on your grill. Matt hates chicken salad because he doesn’t like mayo and even he was chowing down on these!

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chicken salad tastes great on its own or on a green salad, but my favorite way to eat it is as these Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwiches. I love using locally baked sourdough bread as a healthier option. I am allergic to oats and most multigrain breads have rolled oats, oat flour or oat fiber in them. Although sourdough is similar to white bread in terms of calories and carbs, it is usually made with no sweeteners or oils, doesn’t require extra preservatives and is higher in protein. A lot of people also find it much easier to digest due to the lactic acid present as a result of the baking process. I also love how it’s soft and chewy with a bit of a tanginess to it. It holds up really well to this chicken salad and tastes so good with a little bit of fresh arugula for some added green veggies. I hope you enjoy this one! If you try a recipe, don’t forget to let me know how it was in the comments – I love hearing from you all!

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich  |  Lemon & Mocha

Healthy Open-Faced Chicken Salad Sandwich
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
for the chicken salad
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken, grilled, about 2.5 cups cooked
  • ½ cup diced apple
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions
  • ⅓ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
for the sandwich
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Carrot and red pepper slices for serving, optional
Directions
for the chicken salad
  1. Dice the chicken. Toss in a medium mixing bowl with the diced apple, chopped almonds and sliced scallions. Add the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir well to combine.
for the sandwich
  1. Put the sourdough bread on 4 plates or in 4 meal prep containers. Divide the arugula between the 4 slices of bread. Top with the chicken salad, dividing between the 4 slices of arugula topped bread. Add carrot and red pepper slices to container, if using.

 

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I cannot express to you how juicy, cheesy and flavorful these burgers are! Last week we were talking about tried and true recipes and this is another one I’ve been making since 2008. Although these Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers aren’t in Matt’s and my rotation, that’s only because we try to eat somewhat healthy and don’t want to be eating cheese-stuffed burgers weekly. However, when we’re in the mood for a burger both of us instantly think about these huge smoky burgers. Especially with the beer involved they just scream summertime and standing out by your grill with a drink in hand.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Instead of melting the cheese on top, the burger meat is loaded with chunks of smoked gouda cheese. They create melted and gooey pockets of cheese in the burger, but the chunks are just big enough to not completely melt and still maintain their rich smoky flavor. The smoky flavor gets even more pronounced by the addition of smoked paprika in the burger seasoning. The beer, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings also add to the richness and depth of flavor in these burgers.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

I suggest letting the burgers firm up a little in the fridge after you make the patties otherwise you risk them falling apart with the cheese and liquid ingredients added to the meat. These ingredients are what make the burger so juicy though so I definitely wouldn’t skip anything! Pretzel buns are perfect for this burger because you want something that’s going to stand up to the bold flavors, just like Uncle Rob’s Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade.

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers would be the ultimate dish for Father’s Day or the burger-lover in your life. I think it’s especially fitting to be posting these Father’s Day burgers today because it is my father-in-law, Floyd’s birthday! In addition to being caring and always willing to go above and beyond to lend a hand, my father-in-law loves burgers. So what better way to celebrate? I hope you enjoy these and make them for someone special this weekend!

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers  |  Lemon & Mocha

Smoked Gouda Beer Burgers
 
Yield: 6 burgers
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds 85% lean ground sirloin
  • ⅓ pound smoked gouda, cut into ¼-1/2” chunks
  • ¼ cup grated onion, about ⅓ of an onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces beer
  • 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • Lettuce and tomato, for serving
Directions
  1. In a large bowl add the ground sirloin, diced gouda, grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, dijon, smoked paprika, garlic powder, ground coriander, salt and pepper. I used about 6 grinds each of our small salt and pepper grinders. Mix with your hands until roughly combined, try not to over-mix. Add the beer and mix into the burger. Form the burger meat into 6 patties. Lightly press your thumb into the center of the burger so the center is thinner than the edges. When burgers cook they bulge into the middle so this ensures an even patty. Place the patties on a plate or platter, cover then refrigerate for about 10 minutes. You can skip this step, but your burgers are more likely to stay together if they have a chance to firm up a little in the fridge.
  2. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly brush the burgers with the vegetable oil then grill for 4-5 minutes on each side for a medium done burger. Do not press down on the burger with your spatula while it is cooking or flip other than the one time. This is how burgers lose their juiciness! Bobby Flay recommends an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for a perfect burger., which comes out medium, although the USDA recommends 160 degrees F for ground beef. We always follow Bobby Flay’s recommendation, but cook to whatever temperature you prefer or are comfortable with.
  3. Remove from the heat and serve on the pretzel buns with the lettuce, tomato and condiment of choice. I recently had these with some pesto mayo and it was SO good!

Recipe slightly adapted from Rachel Ray.

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lunch always seems to be a struggle for me, especially when I’m trying to eat healthy. I don’t want it to be complicated because if I’m cooking lunch and dinner on a weekday I’ll feel like all I did all day was cook and work with no time to relax. Boring also won’t cut it because then I’ll find myself not wanting to eat it and will end up with takeout or vending machine chips instead. My ideal healthy lunch has lots of veggies, minimal carbs and is something I can mass meal prep on a Sunday without taking too much time out of one of my days off.

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps are one of the go-to’s in our house. I roast all the vegetables on Sunday and then we are ready for lunches for the week. Having lots of roasted veggies in the fridge for weekday lunches is great when you want veggies, but the thought of another salad is making you want to order a panini and fries! If you have never had roasted vegetables with hummus before you are missing out. The creaminess of the hummus with the tender bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms is a really tasty combination. This recipe makes four servings, but it can easily be scaled up or down. If you want more protein in your lunch these wraps work really well with grilled or rotisserie chicken.

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you are buying wraps, especially if you are trying to be healthy, make sure you read the ingredients and nutrition facts. I always thought wraps were healthier than sandwiches, but a while back I did some research and found that a lot of wraps can be worse for you than sliced bread. Many brands claim to be healthy, but are full of sodium and trans fat. Try to find wraps that are high in fiber, low in sodium and don’t have artificial preservatives.

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps  |  Lemon & Mocha

A quick tip for softening your wrap to make it easier to roll so it won’t crack on you: wrap the tortilla in a damp paper towel and microwave for ten seconds. That’s it! I told you it was a quick tip!

Roasted Veggie Hummus Wraps
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced
  • 2 zucchinis, quartered then thickly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, small diced
  • 1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms, about 8 ounces
  • 4 6” whole wheat wraps
  • ½ cup roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with nonstick tinfoil. Arrange all the prepared bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms on the baking sheet. Try to get the vegetables in a single layer, slightly overlapping the mushrooms if needed. Drizzle with olive oil then lightly move around with a spatula to coat. Generously season with ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
  2. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 20-25 minutes, adding more time if needed, until the vegetables are tender. Toss the veggies halfway through the cooking time.
  3. Lay out the wraps. Spread 2 tablespoons of the hummus onto each wrap. Divide the spinach leaves between the 4 wraps then evenly divide the veggies. This is definitely a loaded wrap so you will probably need a fork to finish all the yummy veggies that fall on your plate while eating!
Notes
- If making ahead, store the roasted veggies separate from the wraps and add when ready to eat so they don’t make the wraps soggy. This can be eaten with the veggies room temperature or heated up. If I was bringing these wraps to work or packing in a lunch I would put the divided veggies in a little reusable container. That way the veggies can either be warmed up in their container or left cold. Then I would put the hummus and spinach on the wraps and roll them up. When it is time to eat, carefully unroll the wrap, add the veggies, and wrap it back up.
- For additional protein, add some grilled or rotisserie chicken to the wrap.

 

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love this recipe and am so excited to share it with you today! As I’ve mentioned before on Lemon & Mocha, Matt and I try to eat vegetarian a couple nights a week for both cost and health reasons. However, I love the idea of almost meatless. In these almost meatless sloppy joes the ground beef isn’t the focus of the dish, but it provides a great richness and heartiness.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

For those of you who read the title of this post and were instantly scared away by the mention of sloppy joes, don’t leave just yet! I think you know by now I only share recipes that are absolutely crave-worthy and these bad boys fit the bill.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I actually had never tried sloppy joes until I made this version from Cooking Light, but I am so glad I waited instead of having some dreadful version that everyone seems to remember from their school cafeteria. I’m not sure why they have such a bad rap, but let these almost meatless sliders change your mind.

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Loaded spices and veggies these mini sandwiches have a complex taste that packs a punch. The mashed kidney beans mimic the heartiness of the ground beef and provide a smooth texture. I would happily eat these every night, and may have done just that for almost a week… 😉

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes
 
Yield: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces ground sirloin
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 ounce can low sodium kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 6 mini brioche buns, or other sandwich rolls of your choosing
  • Sliced red onion, for serving
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and beef and cook until the onion is softened and the meat is browned. Stir occasionally, making sure to crumble the beef.
  2. Add the grated carrot, chili powder, sugar, oregano and red pepper then continue to cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium then cook for 10 more minutes.
  3. Take 1 cup of the kidney beans and mash them in a shallow bowl with a potato masher or fork. Add both the mashed beans and the remaining whole beans to the pot then cook until cooked through, about 1-3 minutes.
  4. Serve on the buns topped with sliced red onion.

Recipe from the May 2010 issue of Cooking Light.

Uncle Rob’s Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

I ate a lot of delicious dishes at my family’s beach trip earlier this month, but my new favorite was my Uncle Rob’s tailgate filet sandwiches with whiskey marinade. He wanted to do something for Lemon & Mocha so I told him to come up with his signature dish for me to photograph while we were down at the beach. He did not disappoint with these succulent steak sandwiches.

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

During football season my Uncle is a regular tailgater at his alma mater, Villanova. He makes these regularly and I am sure they go fast. They certainly would if I was there!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

My Uncle Rob and my Aunt Dottie, who hails from the University of Delaware, have a fun football rivalry tradition. Every fall Villanova and the University of Delaware play a big game. The person with the losing school has to place the winning school’s vanity plate on their car for the entirety of the year. My Uncle Rob wanted me to be sure to point out that Villanova has been on quite the winning streak 😉

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

No matter what team you’re rooting for this fall these delicious sandwiches will soften even the fiercest rivalry!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I don’t have steak often as it is usually our splurge meal, but I will definitely be making these sandwiches soon especially since I was already craving them the next morning. Enjoy!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Uncle Rob's Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup minced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of worcestershire sauce
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 6 1" thick filets
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • Pepper jack cheese, horseradish sauce and lettuce for serving, optional
  • 6 pack of beer for the chef, age permitting
Directions
  1. Combine the whiskey, soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar, onions, salt, worcestershire and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place the filets on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet pound filets until they are ½" thick.
  3. Combine the filets and marinade in a large plastic bag to marinate for 6-8 hours.
  4. Heat grill to high heat. Grill according to desired doneness. For medium-rare, grill for 3 minutes on one side, flip and grill for 2 more minutes before letting rest for 3-5 minutes before eating.
Notes
If you can't find filet, possible substitutions include eye of round steak or hanger steak.