I ate one of the best sandwiches I can remember in a tiny, cramped sandwich shop in Florence, Italy. It was of oily, garlicky cooked spinach, layered on thick-crusted bread with mozzarella, salt, and black pepper.
I make a similar one at least once a week with cooked kale, collard greens, or chard instead of the spinach, which is expensive and cooks down too dramatically for me. I don’t warm the greens, so the sandwich doesn’t take any longer to make than one of sliced ham. Mozzarella is delicious. Ricotta is an especially good and messy substitute, and any cheese will do.
I also make sandwiches of cold roasted cauliflower and broccoli. This is just as simple. Chop the vegetables once or twice through. They can be alone or combined. Thickly slice and toast bread, rub it with garlic, drizzle it liberally with olive oil, and lay the vegetables on one slice. Thinly slice a little red onion and soak it in red wine vinegar, then sprinkle the slices over the vegetables. If you like, add a little handful of olives, or a few thin slices of prosciutto, a big handful of roughly chopped parsley. Cover with the second slice and eat. If you want a warm sandwich, heat a cast-iron pan and press your sand¬wich between it and another heavy pan, or toast it on an indoor grill.
To make a sandwich of roasted beets, sprinkle them with a little more red wine vinegar and mix in a big handful of chives, mint, or chervil. Soft boil one egg per sandwich. Slice the eggs into thin rounds across. Slice and toast bread and spread each piece thickly with butter; lay slices of egg over the buttered toast. Squeeze lemon juice lightly on the slices and salt them, add a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper, then spoon the pickley beets over the top and cover with a second slice of toast.
Or make a more vegetal version of a hummus sandwich. Chop and smash roasted squash, root vegetables, and sweet potatoes to the consistency of a chunky spread. Mix in a little lemon juice, chopped parsley, mint, or basil, and a drizzle of olive oil. Toast hardy, grainy bread or pita. Layer the smashed vegetables and herbs inside.