Chances are most of us are starting to head back to work and resume our “normal” daily schedules. That means it’s time to start thinking about our lunches. With that being said, not all of us are lucky enough to have offices with refrigerators. Or we work outside. In the heat. DURING summer.
However, did you know there are plenty of sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration? Sandwiches are easy to make. Plus, they can be made in bulk rather quickly, so if you’re responsible for making lunches for the whole family, they’re excellent. Furthermore, they take up next to no space. A Ziploc bag will do it!
- Food Storage Information
- Sandwich Fillings That Don’t Need Refrigeration
- Sandwich Accompaniments
Food Storage Information
Today we are going to discuss a TON of sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration. However, if you’re looking for options outside of this list, make sure you do your research because proper food storage is imperative.
Improperly stored lunches can lead to food poisoning. The food may look and smell fine and still be problematic. We’re talking about bacterial issues such as E. coli, listeria and salmonella. Most lunches require refrigeration within an hour or two of being left out or they become likely to cause food borne illness.
Sandwich Fillings That Don’t Need Refrigeration
Below you’ll find different sandwich components that you can mix and match to create your sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration. They’re broken up into different categories. Plus, some of the components include bonus information about how that ingredient can be used.
- Canned tuna
- Canned chicken
- Canned ham
- Mayo packets (use mayo packets with hard boiled eggs to create an egg sandwich)
- BBQ Sauce (try bbq canned chicken with pickles!)
- Honey (pairs well with nut butters and fruits)
- Jellies, jams and preserves
- Maple syrup (use pancakes as bread and create a breakfast sandwich with fruit and maple syrup)
- Avocados (do a squeeze of lime to keep from browning)
Sandwich add ons
- Hard boiled eggs
- Green peppers
- Apples (do a squeeze of lemon to keep from browning)
- Hard Cheeses (like gouda, American and parmigiano reggiano), Velveeta cheese and spray cheese (like Cheez Whiz)
You can mix and match any of the above fillings to create a delicious sandwich that doesn’t need refrigeration and thus travels conveniently with you anywhere you need to go!
Read on and you’ll find some classic sandwich recipes with sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration in case you’re looking for some lunch inspo!
The classic PB&J is definitely a delicious option. However, you can take this old school lunch up a notch by swapping out the peanut butter with your favorite nut butter. Examples include, almond butter or soynut butter, or you can get a bit creative and use spreads like nutella, tahini or coconut butter.
You can make a PB&J style sandwich your own by adding sliced bananas, marshmallow fluff, honey or even nuts and seeds.
- Toasted pecans
- Almond butter
- Sliced bananas
- Strawberry jam
- 2 slices of bread
- Mix your toasted pecans into your almond butter (it’s like crunchy peanut butter!). Slather onto one piece of bread (or toast for an extra crunch).
- Layer your sliced bananas over the almond butter mixture.
- On your other slice of bread, slather your strawberry jam.
2. Tuna Sandwich
The key here is to look for shelf stable pickles. A good rule of thumb is if you purchased them from the refrigerated section, those need to stay refrigerated.
This is another classic lunch combo. However, there are ways you can take it to the next level! First off, there are like a billion different flavored tunas now; Lemon pepper, jalapeno, sweet thai chili. Second, you can add things like tomato, onion, pickles or avocado to it for some freshness and crunch.
- 2 slices of rye bread (any bread works. However, rye is hearty and delicious)
- Canned tuna
- Diced pickles
- Pepper of your choice (optional: but can add extra crunch and flavor. Don’t forget, not all peppers are spicy!)
- Packets of mayo (packets are shelf stable. Fridge mayo is not)
- In a small bowl, mix your tuna, mayo and diced pickle
- Julienne your peppers (a green bell pepper would be a good choice. The sweetness would be a nice juxtaposition to the sourness of the pickles)
- If you like a lot of mayo, you can also slather each piece of rye bread with mayo before sandwich assembly.
- Add your tuna mixture to one piece of the bread. Lay your strips of pepper on top. Top with other piece of bread.
3. Canned Chicken Sandwich
Canned meats are shelf stable and do not have to be refrigerated. You can take advantage of this and make a more hearty sandwich than your average PB&J.
This recipe is exceptionally delicious and one of my personal favorites.
- 2 Slices of bread (perhaps sourdough or ciabatta?)
- Canned chicken
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh herbs like basil and thyme
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Squeeze of lime juice
- The first thing you need to do is prepare your avocado spread. I personally LOVE avocado, so I’d put about half the avocado on my sandwich. However, at least a quarter should do ya! Mash the avocado and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and the fresh herbs if you’d like. Spread onto each side of the bread. Give a little squeeze of lime juice to slow the browning of the avocado.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes and layer onto one side of the bread.
- Open your canned chicken and squeeze out the excess juice. Use as much or as little as you want on your sandwich.
- Close that bad boy up.
4. Canned Ham and Cheese
Hard cheeses travel well, so they help make excellent sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration. For this recipe, we make use of a semi-hard cheese that keeps well outside of the refrigerator as well.
This ham and cheese is a bit outside of the traditional, and that’s okay because it’s super tasty.
- 2 sliced of bread
- Canned ham
- Swiss cheese
- Packet of honey mustard
- Pickles (sliced or diced depending on your assembly method)
- You can layer each ingredient on to your sandwich. However, you can make this even sandwich really quickly if you just mix the honey mustard and some diced pickles into your canned ham ahead of time.
- Spread your mixture onto your bread, add your cheese slices and close her on up!
If canned meats really aren’t your jam, then salami and pepperoni are great, as well as other hard sausages and jerkies.
5. Italian Sandwich
This recipe does not use canned meat but is still safe outside of the refrigerator. Plus, it’s a flatbread sandwich, in case you wanted a variety of bread choices.
- Pita bread
- Sliced Parmesan
- Saba and olive oil (This is going to be our condiment, but you can always just use mayo)
- Super lightly drizzle olive oil and saba over your pita bread. Saba is a slightly acidic syrup made from cooking down grape must, has a slightly sweet flavor and is the main ingredient in REAL balsamic vinegar. Think of this step as an oil and vinegar dressing to keep the sandwich from being dry. However, take care to go light on it because the flavors are kind of intense.
- Layer on your meats and cheeses, then you’re ready to hit the road!
6. Veggie Sandwich Options
Don’t worry vegans and vegetarians, we didn’t forget about you (though the fancy PB&Js can be suitable). We have some delicious savory options for you!
- Pita bread
- Pesto (NOTE: this condiment DOES need stored in the refrigerator, but it can be safely used on a sandwich made and eaten in the same day)
- White american cheese (or whatever hard cheese you like)
- Sliced tomato
- Sliced onion
- Sprinkle of salt and pepper
- Think of this recipe as a vegetarian alternative to the italian sandwich above. Spread a thin layer of pesto onto your pita bread. If you’re vegan and like the sound of this sandwich, you can use vegan swaps for the pesto and cheese!
- Slice your tomato and onion and layer on your sandwich.
- Add your cheese.
- Sprinkle on your salt and pepper, then you’re ready to pack it up and go!
- 2 bagel crisps (or any bread you’d like, but I think a crispy bread would make this super delish!)
- Hummus (like the best vegan staple!)
- Lengthwise sliced carrots
- Lengthwise slides cucumbers
- Salt and pepper (though you can use a flavored hummus instead)
- Slice your carrots and cucumbers (they should be long strips, not medallions).
- Slather the bagel crisps (or bread) with hummus.
Layer on your veggies.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you’d like. Slide your creation into a ziploc and viola! A vegan friendly sandwich.
We get what you're saying. A sandwich by itself isn’t that exciting or all that filling. Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of some awesome accompaniments that you can take along with your sandwich to round out your meal.
- Pretty much all fruits and the majority of vegetables don’t require refrigeration or can last for many hours outside of the fridge making them great accompaniments.
- Nuts and seeds are excellent sides. You can make pre-portioned bags and they practically take up no space so they’re incredibly convenient.
- Granola, whether in bar form or not is a quick and easy side. Plus, it’s super tasty!
- You can go for the obvious and take along chips. Not necessarily the healthiest of sides, but definitely convenient. Plus, there are like ENDLESS varieties of chips. As a healthier alternative, you can make your own kale chips!
- Soba noodles are definitely outside of the norm and can be delicious and easy to pack in a lunch or for a picnic.
When it comes to packing lunches for work, your child or for a family picnic, it can be a hassle. A lot of times you end up with a big, bulky lunch box that weighs a ton because of multiple ice packs you’re using to keep food “fresh.” However, it doesn’t have to be that much of a pain in the butt.
There are A TON of sandwich options that you can pack in a Ziploc bag and throw right into a briefcase, backpack or gym bag. Sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration are a fantastic idea because there’s nothing easier to make than a sandwich. Plus, you can make a ton of sandwiches, say enough for each member of the family, very quickly with any of these sandwich fillings that don’t need refrigeration. It’ll be simple and delicious, so get started!