I mentioned Fit for Life in an earlier post – an awesomely ’80s diet book with recipes – that I recently dug out of the vault, and it has proved to be a source of inspiration for some hilarious yet successful vegetarian meals for us lately.

Today, I offer you a weird but wonderful stuffed sandwich based on FFL’s “New York Goodwich.”

Disclaimers: Before you fall in love with the name of this creation (probably too late), you should know that

a) it’s not in any way gourmet, so don’t serve it to your biggest-pain-in-the-ass foodie friends (unless they’re open-minded or you’re hosting an ’80s  luncheon),

b) it works well for lunch or supper (with soup or a big salad)

c) it comes with make-ahead instructions that I have not yet attempted – they involve plastic wrap and overnight refrigerating – though I promise to soon and I’ll post an update

d) it contains more vegetables (cooked and raw) than I’ve ever eaten in any other sandwich in my life. This is a good thing. (And it’s really the particular method of slicing them that makes this sandwich come together),


d) it has pickles! (Dinner with pickles. Don’t lie and say you aren’t intrigued.)

I put on my patchouli deodorant, a polyester tunic and my Ladies of the Canyon album before typing this post. If I had a macrame plant hanger to sit under, I would do that also. Once you make yourself (and get addicted to) an Almost New York Goodwich, you’ll see why this is necessary:

The recipe:

1 cup broccoli

A carrot or two (drag a peeler down the carrot to make ribbons out of it. This modification comes from Wayne and makes elegant textural work of raw carrot, which might otherwise be rabbit-food-like here)

2 tablespoons zucchini, grated

1 cup caramelized red onion

2 whole-wheat pitas or tortillas (we used Greek-style pitas. If you take them out of the fridge, let them come to room temperature before you attempt to pry them open for stuffing. They’ll be less likely to tear than when they’re cold.)

Mayonnaise (however much you normally use on your own sandwich. No judgments)

thin slivers of dill pickle

1/2 cup sprouts (any kind you like. We used alfalfa)

slices of avocado, sprinkled with sea salt and pepper

Steam your broccoli. While it’s steaming, sautée your onions in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper until they start to succumb: They should darken and start sticking to the pan. Deglaze them when this happens, by adding a tablespoon or so of water to the pan, stirring to loosen the stuck stuff up. (You can also add a small amount of sugar, to aid the caramelizing, though we didn’t bother.)

Next, chop your raw veg: Ribbon your carrots with your potato peeler. Grate your zucchini. Thinly slice your wonderful, garlicky pickle. Slice your avocado (as much of one as you like) and salt and pepper those slices.

Make a thin slit along the top of your pita, or cut the pita into halves. (I cut ours in half. Wayne insisted on toasting them, which I fought him on. But it was actually a nice touch.) Smear the inside of the pita with mayo. Then stuff your veg in there. It’s a lot of veg!  (In its version, FFL suggests mixing all the veg in a bowl before stuffing. Haven’t tried that. If you do and it works, let me know.)

For the makeahead version: Place a tortilla on plastic wrap, then smear with mayo and line with veg. Roll the tortilla, then wrap it tightly with the plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

Served two (me and Wayne), with a bit of leftover veg for throwing into another one of these puppies for my lunch the following day.

Like the macrame plant hanger this begs to be eaten under, it ain’t all that pretty. But it’s cheap, fast and out-of-control addictive. It shows brocc how to let its hair down with the mayo and pickle, it takes ordinary vegetables (carrot, zucchini) and plays with their textures in a way that really satisfies – and it’s warm from the onions, which makes it feel like a meal.

Please post your comments if you try it!