Charlie and I have been getting along extremely well considering we haven’t spent a night apart in all of 2020 and have been sharing a 400 square foot space 24/7. There is one secret to our success that we discovered the hard way: we cannot share the apartment during the workday.
We are incredibly privileged to have a solution, which is that one of us will commute to my old bedroom at my parents’ house across the way and the other will stay and work in the studio above the garage, where we’ve been living. When we don’t have this healthy separation I can feel it in my bones. Or, rather, in my chest. I become more possessive over my territory and critical of the person who is infringing on it. Tempers are much more even keel when we’ve spent the morning apart and I can look forward to a short reunion at lunchtime.
Whoever ends up taking a shift in the studio is the one in charge of lunch, which in my case, can become a real form of procrastination if I’m not careful. For a while in there, we would be reliant on freezer meals – veggie burgers, GF egg rolls, chicken fingers – to lighten the cooking load. Once summer got under way, we did a lot of takeout. But my ideal scenario is to have a quick fix sandwich of the week with elements that can be made in advance and assembled easily for repeat enjoyment.
Thus is how this Fiesta Bagel Sandwich was born.
We’ve been stacking our freezer with Little Northern Bakehouse Everything Bagels for quick breakfasts with vegan cream cheese, and their plain bagels for daytime sandwiches. As you know, this brand is my absolute favorite for breads and buns, especially since I can serve them to my vegan friends (egg-free!). But the bagels are a brand new addition to the line and I couldn’t be more grateful. Since they are also certified as Glyphosate Residue Free by third-party testing, it’s the perfect lunchtime crutch to get a sandwich on the table that feels extra indulgent but also healthful.
The star of the toppings is a super flavorful and spicy black bean spread. It takes just a few minutes to make by combining drained canned beans with garlic, lime juice, cumin and a splash of hot sauce. Like a hummus, the spread keeps very well for the whole week, and also is a wonderful glue to keep the sandwich together. Each side gets slathered with the bean mixture, then topped with a slice of vegan cheese and melted in the oven before meeting the fresh toppings.
Quarantine also taught us to stock up on under ripe avocados. They usually all evolve at different times, which allows us to choose the best specimen for lunch. Each sandwich gets a half sliced on top, another splash of hot sauce, and a handful of fresh cilantro. If you’re not into this herb, you can simply sub any crunchy lettuce or baby arugula.
The result is somewhere between a breakfast burrito and an avocado toast—spicy, crunchy, creamy and delicious.
Read on for the recipe for these fiesta bagel sandwiches. Even if you’re not going back to school in the traditional sense, they should make the question of what’s for lunch a whole lot easier.
With health and hedonism,
Southwestern Bagel Sandwiches with Avocado and Spicy Black Bean Spread
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the bagels cut-side down on a baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes, or until the cut sides are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the black bean spread: combine the beans, garlic, cumin, salt, lime juice and 1 tablespoon hot sauce in a small food processor. Pulse until pureed but still chunky. Set aside.
- Once the bagels are toasted, slather the bottom halves with a generous layer of black bean spread. Top each with a slice of the vegan cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Divide the avocado between the bottom halves, drizzle with the remaining hot sauce, and top with a generous handful of cilantro (stems and all). Slather the top halves of the bagels with the additional black bean spread and place them on top. Serve the fiesta bagels immediately warm or wrap in foil for later!