My sister sent me a text about a green spread that said, "you have to make this ... love it on sandwiches, crackers, eggs, etc."

And she was right — this green spread is a sandwich genie. It is also a great way to get a few more vegetables in your diet. Better yet, it's made with ingredients that you almost always have in the pantry.

The "Green Genie" spread, as my sister and I refer to it, is a garlicky pureed artichoke spread colored with curly green parsley that gives it a fresh clean flavor rich with garlic, lemon zest, pistachios and good olive oil. It is neutral enough to go with most of your sandwich fillings and enhance their flavor. It is also a great topping for crackers and if you keep it on hand, it's an easy appetizer before dinner.

Making it took a bit of maneuvering in my blender, as the vegetables had to be pushed around to blend evenly, but soon I had a bright green, aromatic spread that was thick like a dip. I tried a little on a cracker and it made me want to have another. But it was lunchtime so I made a sandwich instead. I replaced my mustard and my lettuce with this spread and made a ham and Swiss cheese on rye. And, I was richly rewarded with the best sandwich that I had eaten in a long time.

Ham and swiss on rye with green genie sandwich spread

If packing this for a brown bag lunch, make the sandwich with frozen bread. By the time lunch rolls around, the bread will be freshly thawed.

Servings: 2


Start to finish: 15 minutes

2 slices rye bread

2 slices of Swiss cheese

2 slices ham

Green Genie Sandwich Spread (see below)

Spread each slice of bread with the Green Genie Spread. Layer the ham and the cheese and cut sandwich in half. Enjoy at room temperature.

Green Genie Sandwich Spread (Garlic-Artichoke Spread):

Makes about 1 ¼ cups (10 servings)

1 can water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup roasted pistachios or other favorite nut

3 cloves of garlic

1 cup packed curly parsley, washed and dried

Zest and juice of a large lemon

1/3 cup best-quality extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt or more to taste

White pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender or a food processer fitted with the "S" blade. Process until smooth and pureed. Depending on your blender, you may need to use a spoon to move the ingredients as you process them.

Place in a non-reactive container until ready to use. Will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.

Ham & Swiss on rye:

Nutrition information per serving: 278 calories; 89 calories from fat; 10 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 784 mg sodium; 32 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 15 g protein.

Green Genie Spread:

Nutrition information per serving: 112 calories; 85 calories from fat; 9 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 174 mg sodium; 6 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 2 g protein.

Elizabeth Karmel is a barbecue and Southern foods expert. She is the chef and pit master at online retailer and the author of three books, including "Taming the Flame."