These innovative ideas from the Santa Monica shop Kye's will have you looking forward to lunch before you've even had breakfast.
The Deli Classic That Pops with Flavor
As much as we love turkey and cranberry, they don't deliver much in the texture department. That's why the additions of sweet sugar-snap peas and nutty sunflower seeds are so brilliant; each is easy to bite through, and complements rather than overpowers the other elements. Brown rice adds heft; the grains that would otherwise fall out between two slices of bread are contained when you make it a wrap (out of romaine lettuce!).
An Old-School Lunch Inspired by Asian Flavors
Think of an egg-salad sandwich from a Japanese perspective, and you'll be amazed at what a different direction the standard can take. We love the idea of keeping the hard-boiled eggs, mayo, dill and tomato, but also throwing in some smoked salmon. A sheet of nori is an unusual but delicious wrapper (its ocean-y taste pairs well with the fish).
The Chicken Club with a Light, Herby Kick
This inventive spin on a traditional club includes the usual sliced poultry, bacon, greens and tomato, but also pesto, which brings a savory and bright note. And instead of making a carb-loaded triple-decker, try using whole-wheat pita; it's way less bread, so you won't feel so stuffed.
A Reuben with a Surprising (But Perfect) Addition
Corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing are the hallmarks of a Reuben sandwich. This rich, savory update uses pastrami, though; it's smoked (not boiled) which gives it even more flavor. And a spoonful of ground caraway seeds brings creaminess in place of the cheese, along with a warm, sweet, slightly peppery edge. One more unexpected component: pulverized, or finely chopped, walnuts for an earthy, subtle fruitiness.
Tuna That's All That—with a Bag of Chips
Tuna mix-ins can range from celery to apples to walnuts, but one we hadn't seen yet was crushed nacho chips. It's a little out-there yet it works, especially when you add in kalamata olives; both bring a saltiness but with totally different textures. A collard leaf makes the perfect holder; it's sturdy and is a great source of nutrition, too.