This Club Sandwich has had a healthy makeover for your guilt-free pleasure. What’s the secret? Fresh, wholesome, minimally processed ingredients, like juicy chicken, crispy bacon, runny eggs, ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, fresh lettuce all sitting between two slices of wholegrain bread.
A Club Sandwich is my top menu choice when it comes to a British pub lunch. But unfortunately, a Club Sandwich can be loaded unhealthy fats and excess salt. And, not forgetting the highly processed white bread and sugar-filled condiments. Oh and most likely, the massive pile of fries on the side (yes, I would almost certainly order the chips!).
But, there is hope. This blog is all about creating healthier versions of foodie favourites, and this is one pub lunch that I needed to make with real food ingredients.
A HEALTHIER CLUB SANDWICH
When it comes to making healthier versions of the recipes you enjoy, heck, I’d go as far as saying, recipes you can’t live without, it’s essential to take a look at each of the ingredients. Often, by making some simple swaps, you can turn most recipes that are typically highly processed into nutritious meals. Here’s how to tackle a club sandwich.
USE HEALTHY FATS
What’s fantastic about home-cooked food, is that you have complete control over the type of fats you use. When griddling (or frying, or baking) your chicken, use a small amount of healthy fat, like extra virgin olive oil and AVOID unhealthy, processed, fats like vegetable oils and your body will thank you.
CHOOSE HEALTHY COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
Choosing a wholemeal, wholegrain or multigrain bread instead of white bread is an important consideration. Wholegrain bread is a complex carbohydrate, that is high in fibre as well as other nutrients and minerals. High fibre foods take longer to digest and will help you to stay fuller for longer.
CAREFULLY SELECT YOUR MEAT AND EGGS
Meat and eggs are excellent sources of high-quality protein. When it comes to your buying choices, my advice is to buy locally wherever possible and the best quality you can afford. That’s all any of us can do, right?!
As for bacon, this is where things get a little more tricky. Bacon is highly processed. It is smoked, cured with sugar, salt or chemical preservatives. Bacon that can be considered real food is hard to find in the UK. If like me, you’re not quite ready to give it up completely, Artisan Finnebrogue Naked Bacon is probably our best option when buying from UK Supermarkets. This brand has a nitrate-free, grass-fed, sugar-free option.
INVEST IN REAL FOOD CONDIMENTS MADE WITH UNPROCESSED INGREDIENTS
Off the shelf Mayonnaise and Ketchup tend to have a large quantity of sugar and unhealthy fats. But, I understand that you can’t be making homemade versions of this stuff every time you want to fill a sandwich. I mean, who’s got the time? I get it!
ADD A MATURE CHEESE AND GRATE IT!
By using a sharp cheese (like a mature cheddar), you won’t need as much to get that cheesy hit of flavour. Will you get that infamous cheese pull? Well, no! But that’s not what a club sandwich is all about. It’s more about balance amongst the combination of flavours, and because of that, a sharp cheddar works perfectly.
Also, I finely grate my cheese because, with the smallest amount, you can get excellent coverage.
TURN YOUR CLUB SANDWICH INTO A COMPLETE MEAL WITH HEALTHY SIDES
On its own, this club sandwich cannot be considered a complete meal, because it just doesn’t contain enough vegetables. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve crammed a tasty variety of veggies in here. But, I would still recommend you serve it up with a portion of oven-baked mixed vegetable fries (cooked with a light coating of extra virgin olive oil) or a large salad with a variety of wholesome veggies.
STEP-BY-STEP RECIPE – PUTTING A CLUB SANDWICH TOGETHER
Collect and prepare your ingredients.
Add bacon to a baking tray…
…and bake for 15 minutes until crispy.
Butterfly the chicken breasts so that they cook evenly. Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Cook the chicken on a griddle pan or in a frying pan. 6 minutes on each side should do it.
If you prefer, bake your chicken in the oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on size, whatever suits you. I love using my griddle plate because those scorch lines are EVERYTHING! But, they don’t just look pretty, they add bags of flavour.
Toast your bread. Don’t neglect to do this! It adds so much flavour as opposed to a slice of soft bread! It will go too soggy and fall apart as you load the sandwich.
Once your chicken and bacon is ready, start building your sandwich. Add tomato ketchup to one slice of the bread, and mayo to the other. Then pile up the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber on one side – as much as you can physically fit on without the whole thing collapsing.
Now add some grated cheese to the top (so it sticks to the ketchup) and pile the bacon and chicken on top of the salad layer.
Finally, fry an egg and balance on top. Pop the lid on and devour!
My question to you is, can you get your mouth around it? Er, I don’t think so! 😂
PORTION SIZE WARNING!
As you can see the portion size of just one sandwich ends up being pretty substantial. Now, I LOVE food, and big portions make me happy, but I can honestly share this sandwich with someone else and still feel satisfied, especially if you’re serving it up with a side of veggies.
Another way to manage the portion size is to use one slice of bread and have an open-top sandwich. You could also use half a chicken breast per sandwich. Make it work for you and your dietary needs. Just do you!
FULL RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
How to Make a Real Food Club Sandwich
- Griddle Pan or Frying Pan, Baking Tray & Spatula
- Sharp Knife, Tablespoon, Spatula.
- 4 Slices Streaky Bacon
- 2 Chicken Breasts Butterflied
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil Divided
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 4 Slices Wholegrain Bread
- 1 tbsp Mayonnaise Real Food Compliant* (see notes)
- 1 tbsp Tomato Ketchup Real Food Compliant* (see notes)
- Handful Lettuce Leaves
- 2 Tomatoes Or handful of cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Grated Mature (Sharp) Cheddar Cheese
- 2 Eggs
- Grab your equipment and prepare your ingredients. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5/ 375°F/ 190°C.
- Cover a baking tray with foil or greaseproof (parchment) paper, add the bacon and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, butterfly the chicken, brush lightly with 1 tsp of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the griddle pan on medium-high heat, then cook the chicken for about 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
- Once the bacon and chicken are cooked, put to one side, let it rest and start to build your sandwich. First, toast the bread. Then, spread mayo on the bottom slice of toast and ketchup on the top half. Pile salad up on the bottom slice of bread and cheese on the top slice.
- Now is the perfect time to fry your egg. Use the same pan you used to cook the chicken, add the remaining tsp of olive oil and fry the egg for about 5 minutes on medium heat until the egg white sets and the yolk is runny.
- Pile the bacon, chicken and the egg onto the bottom slice of toast and then place the lid on top. Serve and enjoy!
If you get the chance to give this Real Food Club Sandwich recipe a try, drop me a note in the comment section and provide a star rating. I’d love to know what you think!
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Thank you so much for reading.