Joco Diversions

August 12, 2014

Eating for Life recipe: When the kids head back to school, add creativity to lunches with a wrap

It’s that time of year when lunchbox creativity counts the most.

It’s that time of year when lunchbox creativity counts the most.

Sure, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is always a reliable back-to-school standby. Yes, a ham and cheese sandwich can break the weekly monotony. But if it’s that elusive cool factor the kids are looking for when they pop the lid, opt for a wrap sandwich.

These innovative wraps emerged on the food scene more than a decade ago. Easy to make and take, popular fast-casual restaurants typically use an extra-large tortilla to wrap. But if you haven’t tried lavosh — an Armenian cracker bread that is sometimes studded with toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds — you’re in for a treat.

Also known as lahvosh, the soft, thin flatbread is made with water, flour, yeast and salt. The simple recipe has made lavosh popular throughout the eastern Mediterranean, Iran and the Caucasus since ancient times, according to Wikipedia, the popular, free online encyclopedia. The ancient bread comes in hard and soft forms. When it’s brittle, it can be kept in the pantry, much like a cracker, for long periods.

To make lavosh pliable, rinse under cold water and place on the kitchen counter between two slightly damp but clean dish towels. Thirty to 45 minutes later, you have a pliable bread to roll up into a sandwich.

Like learning to wrap a burrito or an eggroll, working with lavosh can have a bit of a learning curve. If you roll the sandwich and it begins to crack or split, use a spray bottle with water to moisten the cracker. If the lavosh seems too wet, simply allow it to dry out slightly between the towels. A thin spread of light cream cheese over the surface also helps to smooth any wrinkles.

To finish off the sandwich, layer thinly sliced deli meats and cheeses. Add spinach, tomatoes and any other veggies you think you can sneak in. Roll, jellyroll style, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the sandwich until ready to eat. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.

Shopping tip: Lavosh comes in several sizes. Our recipe developers who shop in one side of the city used 5-inch rounds; on the other side of the city, I was able to find a 14-inch pizza-size lavosh. If your supermarket doesn’t stock lavosh, look for it at Middle Eastern markets.

If you simply can’t find lavosh, feel free to substitute flour tortillas or the Indian flatbread naan.

Storage tip: Unlike regular sandwich bread, lavosh has a shelf-life of about a year. If you’re like me and run out of bread, keeping a couple of lavosh on hand is a good way to avoid a late-night run to the supermarket.

Pump it up: Experiment with different spreads. Try hummus or a chipotle mayonnaise instead of cream cheese. For a vegetarian sandwich, simply pile on more veggies.

Lavosh lunchbox sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

4 (5-inch) large round lavosh

4 tablespoons light garden vegetable cream cheese

1 cup fresh spinach or dark green leafy lettuce

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

7 ounces deli sliced roast beef or lean turkey

Rinse each lavosh round under cold running water for several seconds. Place between muslin or terry towels for 30 to 45 minutes, or until pliable. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on each lavosh. Divide spinach, tomato and deli meat between the 4 lavosh. Roll each lavosh tightly into a wrap-type sandwich. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Per serving: 268 calories (29 percent from fat), 8 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 28 milligrams cholesterol, 25 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 622 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Recipes developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

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