I'm fortunate to work in SoHo, a neighborhood that has a good variety of food options. I try to bring my own lunch to work as often as I can, but sometimes I treat myself. Lately, I find myself heading toward Smile To Go, the little sister to The Smile restaurant, for their carrot, kale, and avocado sandwich, which is also smeared with just a touch of tomato aioli.
Both Smile restaurants are on my go-to list of lunch spots in SoHo. The Smile is perfect for a nice sit-down lunch, and the To Go location offers an excellent selection of sandwiches and salads that are super tasty and pretty healthy compared to some of its neighbors (ahem, Chipotle). I first had this sandwich at Cherry Bombe magazine's Jubilee conference, which Smile To Go catered. It was love at first bite. I literally thought about that sandwich for weeks afterward, until I realized how close the restaurant is to my office!
I wanted to recreate the sandwich at home since the components are really simple. At the restaurant it's served on a whole wheat baguette, but you'll see that I used a whole wheat loaf bread instead. As much as I love a crusty baguette, I find that with so many slippery fillings I tend to end up with avocado in my lap when I bite into it. This is probably because sometimes (often times) I am not a fully-functioning human being who can eat baguette sandwiches. Use whatever bread you prefer -- I do suggest keeping it in the nutty, whole wheat variety for nice flavor, though. I used Trader Joe's Quinoa Bread here, but I also LOVE this with Whole Foods' Flax Quinoa Bread (one of the best grocery store breads one can buy, in my opinion!).
Carrot, Kale, and Avocado Sandwiches
Inspired by Smile To Go
Ingredients (Makes 2 sandwiches)
3 c. kale, stems removed and torn into strips
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 large carrots or 4 medium ones
1/2 c. mayonnaise, jarred or homemade if you're feeling fancy
1 ripe avocado
4 slices of nutty whole grain bread
salt and pepper
Combine the kale and 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a small bowl. With your hands, massage the kale and distribute the oil evenly to soften the leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside in the refrigerator for at least one hour (you can do this the night before and let it sit overnight as well)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel the carrots if desired and cut them in half lengthwise. If your carrots are very large, you can quarter them. Cut the tomato in half and remove the seeds. Place carrots on one side of a baking sheet; place the tomato halves cut-side down on the baking sheet. Drizzle everything with your remaining 2 tbsp. of oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast carrots and tomatoes for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and their skins are wrinkled. Remove the tomatoes and set them aside to cool. Return the carrots to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, until they are soft and slightly caramelized. Let them cool.
When the tomatoes are cool, combine them in a blender or food processor with 1/2 c. mayonnaise. Blend until smooth and season lightly with salt and pepper. If the consistency is very runny, add more mayo.
Halve and thinly slice the avocado
Toast your bread slices. Spread two pieces of bread with a thin layer of the tomato aioli, and cover each with a thick layer of the softened kale. Cut the roasted carrots to fit your bread slices, and add them on top of the kale. Cover the carrots with avocado slices. Spread the two remaining pieces of bread with another thin layer of aioli, and top your sandwiches. Cut in half (or don't!) and enjoy!
Store leftover tomato aioli in the fridge for up to a week and enjoy with roasted potatoes or fries!