Our 6 Favorite Sandwich Spreads

Look forward to lunch and leftovers! These spreads will turn your boring sandwich into a gourmet meal.

A sandwich without a condiment is like a road trip without music — it gets you from here to there, but it's a pretty boring ride.

Rather than always resorting to low-fat mayo, try one of these homemade spreads for a jolt of flavor on any sandwich, without piling on the calories — just a couple of tablespoons pack a serious punch.

If you have spread leftovers, we've included ideas for working them into an elegant supper. But the best part is how each can be prepared in less than 10 minutes, so you get great flavor without spreading yourself too thin.

Quickie Muffaletta Tapenade
The chunky olive salad atop the classic New Orleans sandwich is just as responsible for its deliciousness as all those cured meats. This version has no added oil, but piled onto a turkey, prosciutto or tuna salad sandwich, you won't even miss it. Roughly chopping all the components with a knife gives them a wonderful texture, but if you prefer to use a food processor, process ingredients separately until coarsely chopped (do not mash to a paste!) and mix together in a bowl.
Easy prep: Chop 1 cup mixed pitted brine-cured olives and transfer to a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper over top of olives and stir to combine. Mix in 1/2 cup drained chopped roasted red peppers and 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley. Stir in a dash of oregano and, if you like your muffaletta pungent, one minced clove garlic.
Have leftovers? Serve as an antipasto with toasted whole-wheat pita wedges.

White Bean Pesto
This gains its body from pureed white beans, not cheese or high-fat pine nuts, but it's just as flavorful as the original. Try on turkey or chicken sandwiches, or spread on crusty bread to make crostini. It's a delicious way to eat your healthy oil for the day!
Easy prep: Toss into a food processor 1 cup canned drained white beans, 1 garlic clove (cut into a few pieces), 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Process until smooth. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
Have leftovers? Even if you've shied away from whole-wheat pasta before, you'll love how its nutty bite complements this creamy sauce. Toss some pesto with whole-wheat spaghetti cooked to al dente, stirring in some reserved pasta water to thin the sauce a bit. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Garlic Spread
Roasting brings out garlic cloves' natural sweetness, making them an excellent partner for roast beef or cheese sandwiches.
Easy prep: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the papery outer skin of a bulb of garlic, and with a paring knife or kitchen scissors, trim the tips of each clove. Place whole bulb on a piece of foil and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, then wrap in the foil, place in the oven and roast until cloves are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Allow bulb to cool several minutes, then, using an oven mitt to protect your hands, turn bulb over and squeeze the softened cloves from bulb into a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Have leftovers? Stir cloves in with boiled potatoes and mash them together for extra flavor without extra fat, or mash and stir into soup for extra body and flavor.

Carrot-Ginger Spread
A nod to the classic Japanese salad dressing, this spread is delicious with tuna salad or lean roast beef sandwiches.
Easy prep: Toss into the bowl of a food processor 5 medium carrots (cut into large pieces), 1 small shallot, 2 pieces peeled fresh ginger (about 1 by 1 1/2 inches each), 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Pulse to a paste.
Have leftovers? It still makes salad greens irresistible. To convert to a dressing, whisk in an additional tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

Salsa Giardiniera
Giardiniera is an Italian condiment of mixed, pickled vegetables marinated in oil. This spread is a quick and easy way to add a spicy Italian tang to any meat sandwich.
Easy prep: Puree 1 cup giardiniera vegetables (make sure to remove any stems from hot peppers) with 1/2 cup canned drained white beans or chickpeas.
Have leftovers? Stir into hummus for a burst of tanginess.

Horseradish Mustard
These two sandwich greats add a serious kick to any combination, and the "recipe" is simple as can be.
Easy prep: Stir 1 tablespoon drained horseradish into 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard.
Have leftovers? This tangy combo makes a great dressing for warm potato salad. Boil six quartered new potatoes until very tender; drain and place in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss to combine. Then stir in 2 teaspoons of horseradish mustard and a handful of chopped, fresh sugar snap peas. Serve warm.

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