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Tonight's Dinner, Tomorrow's Sandwich

March  4, 2014

As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: A handful of dinner ideas that play double duty as tomorrow's hand-held lunch. 

Tuna Sandwich on Food52

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Let's not talk about today's lunch; let's talk about tonight's dinner, and how it's going to get reincarnated as a sandwich.

Because if you plan a little bit ahead, and you have some bread somewhere in your general vicinity, you'll have leftovers that slip perfectly between two slices, going from night to day just as smoothly as that kicky sweater goes from day to night. 

Here are seven dinners that you can make tonight and then repurpose as tomorrow's sandwich. Be wary of saucy ingredients; if you want to play it safe, pack everything separately and assemble deskside to avoid soggy bread. 

1. Start with roast chicken, a dish with possibly the highest ROI of any dinner, ever. Layer it with aioli and arugula, or turn it into chicken salad; it will keep paying you edible dividends all week.

Roast Chicken on Food52


2. Even lentils can become a sandwich, when thickened with tomato paste and piled atop a soft bun. These sloppy joes are vegan, but we won't tell if you slide a piece of cheese in there. 

Lentil Sloppy Joes on Food52


3. Cutlets in a flavorful sauce -- like these Chicken Cutlets Grilled in Charmoula with Quick-Cured Lemon Confit -- are less likely to dry out on day two. Especially if you smear a little mayonnaise or mustard on your bread.Plus, this confit makes the perfect sandwich condiment.

Chicken Cutlets with Charmoula and Preserved Lemons on Food52


4. Another meatless option is Grilled Peanut Tofu: Make extra sauce, and pile it high with fresh or pickled crunchy vegetables.

Grilled Peanut Tofu on Food52


5. Spanish Tortilla is traditionally served cold anyways, and often swaddled in a baguette with a bit of aioli. We suggest you do as the Spaniards do.



6. For those of you who are into throwing weeknight dinner parties, we have good news: Pâté or cheese, spread onto bread, is a completely acceptable lunch. 

Chicken Liver Pâté  Cheese Plates on Food52


7. And, in the go-big-or-go-home category, you have steak sandwiches. Do it big for dinner, then do it again for lunch, paired with chimichurri, mayonnaise, and Texas toast. You might need to nap under your desk at 2 PM, but at least you will have eaten well. 

Steak Sandwiches on Food52

Tell us: What are your favorite leftover sandwiches?

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Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • bylinemjf
  • pokolik
  • AntoniaJames
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



bylinemjf March 5, 2014
Leftover roast pork loin, paired with broccoli rabe and provolone on a baguette.
Marian B. March 5, 2014
Broccoli rabe is the best!
pokolik March 5, 2014
We already had a discussion in the original blog entry. That's NOT the way we do Spanish Tortilla in Spain. Not at all. Call it whatever you want, you can even say you invented Spanish Potato fritatta, but not Spanish tortilla, please
Marian B. March 5, 2014
I totally understand -- but whether you make Amanda's recipe or the traditional Spanish tortilla, my point is that it makes a great lunch. Whenever I'm in Spain, a bocadillo de tortilla is always my go-to.
pokolik March 6, 2014
Yes, you are right. My point was a bit off-topic. A bocadillo de tortilla with a good tortilla and good bread, that's a staple mid-morning snack in Spain.
AntoniaJames March 4, 2014
A couple of favorite leftover tips: We anticipate using leftover broiled or grilled vegetables in sandwiches or phulka roti wraps, so we slice zucchini, summer squash and eggplant into thin planks. They get a good brushing with a light, herby vinaigrette while still hot. I put the ones we're saving for lunches directly into the storage container, to collect all the juices, which are then drizzled on the sandwich. I do the same thing with lightly sauteed slivers of fennel.
I hope you'll do a sequel on pita based lunches. If you have a microwave and a clean damp tea towel, you can warm the pocket up and put just about any leftover into it, plus garnishes, etc. I almost always cut (or toast, if talking about seeds, nuts, etc.) extras when making our evening salad, to stir into pilafs, or otherwise garnish whatever I'm having for lunch, etc. ;o) P.S. For the record, we don't do (or allow) desk lunches here because it does not provide a sufficient break. We find that our thinking is clearer and our work product far better when we take time away from the office in the middle of the day.