California Sandwich

California Sandwich

What’s for lunch? Today, our month of sandwiches continues with this recipe from Elizabeth of Brooklyn Supper. Tomato, avocado and tangy ranch dressing join forces to create a sandwich that’s pretty much perfect. Here’s how to make one of your own…

California Sandwich (With Homemade Buttermilk Ranch)
by Elizabeth Stark of Brooklyn Supper

California, a state I am proud to have grown up in, is a culinary hothouse. Californians were early adopters of the banh mi and inventors of the California roll; they’ll embrace a fusion cuisine made from any two culinary traditions you care to throw together and take full advantage of every fresh local ingredient the fantastic weather will allow.

I like to think this stems from Californians’ willingness to say, “Sure, whatever.” The California sandwich is a perfect example of the beautiful results a chill attitude can yield. There’s no cooking, no fretting about whether something as healthy as alfalfa sprouts belong on a sandwich, and no worrying about whether ranch and multi-grain are a contradiction – just a bunch of great ingredients coming together in a simple, delicious sandwich.

Avocados and their buttery texture are the star, but the bright savory flavor of a perfect summer tomato is a fantastic supporting player. Alfalfa sprouts are healthy, of course, but they also add a little texture – not quite crunchy but close. Monterey Jack adds satisfying cheesiness and its mild flavor is perfect for this subtle sandwich. Finally, a simple ranch dressing is herbaceous and creamy, with plenty of fresh buttermilk tang.

California Sandwich

Recipe: California Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices multigrain bread
buttermilk ranch dressing
2-4 slices Monterey Jack cheese
1 large tomato, cored and sliced
1/2 cup sprouts, rinsed well and blotted dry
1 avocado, sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Lightly toast the bread. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons chilled buttermilk ranch dressing on each slice of bread. Layer the cheese, tomato, sprouts and avocado slices on top of the bottom piece of bread. Sprinkle avocados with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper, then add the top piece of bread.

Use a sharp knife to slice sandwiches in half; serve immediately.

California Sandwich

California Sandwich

To make your own homemade buttermilk ranch:

3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp minced red onion
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken vigorously
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp minced parsley
2 tbsp minced chives

In a medium-sized bowl, use a fork to whisk together the mayo, sour cream, mustard, red onion, garlic and zest. Whisking vigorously, gradually add the buttermilk. Add 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice — just enough to thin the dressing. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Finally, fold in the herbs.

Spoon dressing into a container with a tight fitting lid, and set in the fridge to chill for several hours, or preferably overnight. Just before serving, give dressing a good shake.

For the best flavor, make the buttermilk ranch dressing ahead of time and chill – the dressing will thicken up and the flavor will continue to develop overnight. Leftover dressing will keep well in the fridge for up to three days.

California Sandwich

Looks delicious! Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

P.S. More recipes, including easy weeknight spaghetti and homemade Pad Thai.

(Photos and recipe by Elizabeth Stark. This series is edited by Caroline Donofrio.)

  1. Leticia Centeno says...

    What’s not to love aboput bread + tomato + avocado? Anything else added is just a bonus :)
    I could eat sandwiches everyday for every meal! Will try this one for lunch today.

  2. Maggie says...

    This looks ahhhhmazing! Definitely on my list of sandwiches to try for my lunch this week :)

    And an interesting note: the California roll, contrary to its name, was actually invented in Vancouver, Canada – the chef called it the California roll due to its popularity amongst Californian visitors to his restaurant!

    • Hi Maggie, So glad you like the sandwich! And thanks for schooling me (politely) on the California roll – I’ll now think of that any time I have a California roll!

  3. yael steren says...

    This looks so good! Plus avocado is so great for your skin – it’s one of the healthy fats! xo yael

  4. I love this sandwich! Thanks for sharing. I’m all about easy summer meals that don’t require any major cooking, like this sandwich. This would also be good with Green Goddess dressing.

  5. Yum, my favorite kind of sandwich :)

  6. Looks yummo!

  7. Traci says...

    thanks for the ranch dressing recipe! i’m a midwesterner who did not inherit the ranch-obsessive gene and can’t stand anything about the taste of the dressing or the culture surrounding it.
    the snottiest thing about me is the eye roll i direct at my husband when we’re at a restaurant and hear a prompted patron answer in our endearing (sarcasm!) nasally accent, “RANCH”, and often, “with an extra side of RANCH.”
    i’m hoping that this homemade recipe will give me a taste of what it should be!

    • gene says...

      I bet its not the snottiest thing :)

  8. Oh man! I can eat this everyday for lunch. In fact, I’ll probably make one today and add a slice of roasted sweet potato to it. The more starch the better is my motto. :)

  9. May says...

    Thank you!
    This post convinces me my menu has been far too dull!

  10. Carmen B. says...

    Yum. I love avocado on sandwiches.

  11. This series is making me gain weight ;-)

  12. Melissa says...

    Wow! I need to whip one of these up, looks delicious.

  13. This looks amazing! As a born and raised Midwesterner, I am obsessed with anything Ranch or cheese related!

    Meet Me in Midtown

  14. Laura says...

    When I saw the title of this post, this California girl thought, “It has to have avocado on it.” I was not disappointed. ;-)

  15. Samantha says...

    Looks delicious. I have a veggie sandwich waiting for me in the fridge for today’s lunch. I can not wait to dig in!

  16. Ahhh Looks simple, hearty and delicious!

  17. instead of the cheese, i like to smear on hummus, for some added protein and creaminess.

  18. wow, this looks really good! I especially love the addition of alfalfa sprouts – combined with the rich taste of avocado and the sharper toppings, this looks like a dream.

  19. When I left my home state of California for DC (via Boston) in 2008, my roommate and I noticed that menus in the real world (outside of CA) use “California” to mean “there will be avocado in this dish”. That turned into a running joke that Californians cannot recognize something as food unless there is avocado involved.

  20. I love Elizabeth and her recipes! This sandwich is no exception. This looks absolutely heavenly. I can’t wait to give this easy and fresh beauty a try.
    xx Sydney

  21. That sandwich looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely try this recipe this weekend.

  22. Mmm! This looks decadent. I agree with Katy – I love the recipes on Cup of Jo! They are quick and delicious. I don’t have time to prepare a 3 hour pot roast on a weekday. These recipes are for the practical-gourmand; someone who has a life outside the kitchen!

  23. This looks amazing! I love that you’ve started adding more recipes over the years. I’d say that I’ve probably made more recipes from your blog than Pinterest at this point and I love getting introduced to new food bloggers. Off to try and replicate this sandwich…