What to CookLunchSandwichesNot Sad Desk Lunch

How to Turn (Almost) Any Leftovers into a Sandwich Lunch

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Among our go-to lunchtime heroes—hearty soup, grain bowls, dumplings—none travel so gracefully or are as satisfying as the humble sandwich. It doesn't ask for much (not even to be reheated) and delivers all the basic food groups—no fork required. But even sandwiches have their faults: They require a fully-stocked drawer of cold cuts and can get old quickly (even if you love grilled cheeses).

"When I grow up, I want to be a sandwich!" — Meatball
"When I grow up, I want to be a sandwich!" — Meatball

To give our lunchtime sandwiches a kick, but still keep things simple, we're drawing inspiration from our leftovers. Here are 20 ways to transform tonight's dinner into tomorrow's sandwich, with minimal effort:

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Roasted Vegetables

We Asked, You Answered: The "Right" Temperature to Roast Vegetables
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We Asked, You Answered: The "Right" Temperature to Roast Vegetables

Either keep things simple and slather toast with a little bit of olive oil to let the vegetables speak for themselves, or process your roasted vegetables and combine them—with the help of beans and grains—into a veggie burger. And if you're lucky enough to have any ricotta dregs, pesto, or tapenade in your fridge, use it up by slathering it on your slices before pressing the vegetables in between.

Roasted Tomatoes and Onions on Toast

Roasted Tomatoes and Onions on Toast by Kenzi Wilbur

Turnip Burgers

Turnip Burgers by Alexandra Stafford

ABC Kitchen’s Butternut Squash on Toast

ABC Kitchen’s Butternut Squash on Toast by Kenzi Wilbur

Vegetarian Muffuletta

Vegetarian Muffuletta by Josh Cohen

Meatballs

Sheet Pan Lamb Meatballs with Cauliflower and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
Sheet Pan Lamb Meatballs with Cauliflower and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

The next time you make a batch of spaghetti and meatballs, classic Swedish fare, or meatless balls, save a few for tomorrow's lunch, then put them in a pita with Greek yogurt or tahini, or a sub with gobs of mozzarella.

Kofta Pocket with Tzatziki Sauce

Kofta Pocket with Tzatziki Sauce by Food Blogga

Chicken Meatball Sub with Gobs of Fresh Mozzarella

Chicken Meatball Sub with Gobs of Fresh Mozzarella by Erin McDowell

Salad

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing

What's bread but an extra-large crouton? If you have a thick dressing left over, slather it onto the sides of your bread before pressing your salad in between—just remember to toast the bread beforehand to keep it crouton-level crispy.

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Avocado and Marinated Kale Salad Sandwich

Avocado and Marinated Kale Salad Sandwich by fiveandspice

Monster Avocado Toast Sandwich

Monster Avocado Toast Sandwich by Kendra Vaculin

Fried Cauliflower Sandwich

Fried Cauliflower Sandwich by Laurie

Bagna Cauda Toasts with Radicchio, Egg, and Avocado

Bagna Cauda Toasts with Radicchio, Egg, and Avocado by EmilyC

Seafood

Sautéed Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley
Sautéed Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley

Don't jump to any conclusions on this one until you've mixed your shrimp with a white bean purée and slapped it onto a croissant, made a tuna salad sandwich with fresh tuna—even better if it's a melt—or put your scallops between ciabatta.

Shrimp Salad on a Croissant with White Bean "Mayo"

Shrimp Salad on a Croissant with White Bean "Mayo" by inpatskitchen

Provençal Tuna Melt

Provençal Tuna Melt by boulangere

Fried Scallop Sandwich

Fried Scallop Sandwich by fiveandspice

New England Lobster Rolls with Lemon Chive Mayonnaise

New England Lobster Rolls with Lemon Chive Mayonnaise by Sonali aka the Foodie Physi...

Roast Chicken

Roasted Achiote Chicken with Potatoes, Broccoli, and Tangerine Aioli
Roasted Achiote Chicken with Potatoes, Broccoli, and Tangerine Aioli

If you're a believer that roast chicken is never quite as good as it was when you first took it out of the oven, might we suggest a leftover chicken sandwich? Pile a few slices high with roasted onions, dressing, and greens and for a lunchtime masterpiece.

Green Goddess Chicken Sandwiches

Green Goddess Chicken Sandwiches by foxeslovelemons

German-Style Chicken Sandwich with Beer-Braised Caramelized Onions

German-Style Chicken Sandwich with Beer-Braised Carameliz... by Chrissy

Balsamic Chicken Sandwich with Peach Jam and Brandied Onions

Balsamic Chicken Sandwich with Peach Jam and Brandied Onions by we eat. happy.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, Caponata, and Pesto Sandwich

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, Caponata, and Pesto Sandwich by sdebrango

Breakfast for Dinner

Socca Waffles
Socca Waffles

You know what they say: "Last night's waffles are tomorrow's grilled cheese." And if they don't say that, they should. (That goes for bacon, too.)

Tomato Soup and Saint-André Waffled Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Tomato Soup and Saint-André Waffled Grilled Cheese Sandwi... by Feed Me Dearly

Apple, Bacon, Caramelized Red Onion Sandwiches with Arugula-Thyme Spread

Apple, Bacon, Caramelized Red Onion Sandwiches with Arugu... by em-i-lis

What leftovers will you be turning into a sandwich? Tell us in the comments below!

Tags: leftovers, leftovers sandwich, sandwich lunch