- Prep time 5 minutes
- makes 1 sandwich
What I make when I don’t have time to make lunch. According to Google, a pickle sandwich means a sandwich on a pickle—like, a pickle instead of bread. This is not that. Instead, it’s much closer to the British pickle and cheese sandwich, which does include bread, as well as cheddar and a pickle-slash-chutney condiment, most likely Branston brand. This is not quite that either. But it shares the same belief system, that a good pickle and a good cheese are all you need for a stellar sandwich. (No offense to deli turkey.) In this case, I turn to half-sour pickles, my favorite, though you can certainly swap in bread-and-butter chips if you’d rather a sweeter bite. Whatever pickle you end up with, the trick is to use it not once, not twice, but three different ways. First: minced into a relishy situation, to stir with grainy mustard and mayonnaise. Second: a splash of brine to thin out and brighten up that sauce. Third: sliced into cold-cut-like slabs, to proudly pile on the sandwich. The whole thing comes together in about the time it takes for bread to toast. Which is to say, almost no time at all.
Helpful tools for this recipe:
- Pantry Mixing Bowls
- Five Two Essential Knives
- OXO Measuring Cups and Spoons
Test Kitchen Notes
This speedy pickle sandwich is part of our Big Little Recipes column, which showcases great meals with five ingredients or fewer. Here are some other minimalist dishes that would be perfect for a quick work-from-home lunch:
Tuna Artichoke Melt: From the Big Little Recipes cookbook, this open-faced sandwich is a good reason to always keep tinned tuna and marinated artichokes in the pantry. Besides cheddar, any melty cheese works, so use whatever you have around, like provolone, Pepper Jack, American, or smoked Gouda.
Tuna Avocado Toast: Another simple sandwich from the cookbook. Avocado toast is good, but tuna avocado toast is even better. Full of protein and umami, oil-packed tuna makes this super hearty and satisfying. Any bread works here, but something sour and seedy and grainy is especially nice.
Cream Cheese Omelet With Everything Seasoning: Ooey, gooey, and lightning-fast. Inspired by bagels (!), this omelet would be wonderful with a simple salad (bonus points for already-washed greens, like arugula or kale), or toast, or, yeah, a bagel.
Mustardy Escarole Salad With Grilled Cheese Croutons: The easiest—and cheesiest—croutons you’ll ever make. Just make a grilled cheese sandwich, then chop it into bite-size pieces. If escarole isn’t your vibe, any other sorta-bitter green would be happy to hop in. Try: romaine, arugula, radicchio, frisée, endive, you name it.
minced half-sour pickle
grainy Dijon mustard
slices seedy bread, lightly toasted
half-sour pickle, thinly sliced lengthwise
layers sliced sharp white cheddar
- Combine the minced pickle, mayo, mustard, and brine in a bowl. Try it, then adjust the ratio to taste. Spread half of the sauce on each slice of bread. Add the pickles to one slice, top with the cheese, then close the sandwich. Slice in half on the diagonal.