We all enjoy a good sandwich. Sure, it’s a wide category that covers anything from a bland tuna salad sandwich to a Texan BBQ slider dish, but some sandwiches seem to have greater significance than others.
Today we´re talking about the roast beef sandwich and what you can put in it.
Toppings can make your sandwich healthy or make it cross the line into the realm of fast food. Weight can be altered too, you can make a whole meal out of your sandwich or make it light as a midday snack.
Today’s topic is the roast beef sandwich, not only because it’s delicious, but because it has a big part in our history.
You see, roast beef has always been UK’s national dish, and of course, it soon became a staple dish in America too.
The thing is, whenever you roast a massive chunk of red meat, you undoubtedly end up with leftovers, and this is prime meat we’re talking about.
Sliced thinly, roast beef became a popular filling for sandwiches, and people have enjoyed it this way for at least two hundred years!
Roast beef sandwiches are on top of the sandwich food chain, and although they’re always good, sometimes they can just be better.
You might be wondering:
You know there’s nothing wrong with roast beef, and any bun will do the trick…but what to put in a roast beef sandwich so that it doesn’t end up tasting like an Arby’s sandwich in the ’90s?
That’s a great question we’re determined to answer with the kind of research that will make you salivate intensely before you’re done!
From sauces to spreads, from veggies to cheese, here are our recommended roast beef sandwich toppings to get your next roast beef sandwich to dance in step with your taste buds.
These Are Our Favorite Roast Beef Sandwich Toppings
There’s no particular order to this list, but you’ll see we’ve added not only classic toppings but some over-the-top ideas; trust us, they all work.
Get your pen and paper ready, because this will be quite a ride!
1. Say Cheese!
This is a no brainer; cheese makes everything better, from corn chips to corned beef sandwich fillings.
A good slice or two of fine cheese will enhance your roast beef sandwich massively.
We could say cheese is the second most important ingredient in your sandwich after the meat.
American cheese is a popular option, although it’s been frowned upon recently, basically because it’s actually made of very little cheese.
Of course, we can’t blame you…
If you want to top your sandwich with a silky layer of yellow cheese; it tastes great.
Other types of cheese like fresh goat cheese or moist mozzarella will make your sandwich fresh and light.
Mix and match to create different flavor profiles. The more cheese, the better.
Take a look at how Gina makes this gooey roast beef sandwich with melted cheese over at Skinny Taste
2. The All-mighty BBQ Sauce
Then we have the sauces. We’re not talking French Dip sandwiches here, let’s go outdoors with a good BBQ sauce.
It’s clear why a traditional BBQ sauce is a classic topping for a roast beef sandwich:
The acidic, sweet flavors with smoky notes complement the sliced meat as if they were meant for one another.
BBQ sauce can be overpowering; it’s like ketchup on steroids.
The sauce’s strong flavor means that it might steal the spotlight from other toppings, so before you make up your mind and go for the big B, take a look at the other topping ideas we have for you.
See your favorite sauce in action in these BBQ Roast Beef Sandwiches fixed up at My Food and Family.
3. Honey-Mustard Dressing, Not Just for Salads
A drizzle of honey and mustard dressing will give your sandwich a lovely familiar sweet taste and a spicy bite.
Inspired a bit by the traditional Subway restaurant dressing section of the salad bar, we must say they sometimes get things right.
While we’re at it, try making your own dressing: Equal parts bee honey and your favorite mustard. Even the grainy ones work great. Blend until smooth and pour over that fine roast beef.
Trying this topping will open the door to other dressings out there, the sky’s the limit! Dressings are ready to graduate from the salad station.
See how Kate makes a dressing with her healthy honey mustard dressing recipe over at Cookie+kate.
4. Grease ‘em up with Mayo
We can’t leave this one out. Mayo!
And although mayo has been a sandwich stable mate for as long as sandwiches have existed, you might be surprised to know that many people leave the silky, egg-based spread out of the equation when it comes to roast beef.
Mayo not only lubricates the bread but brings the whole sandwich together, acting as a canvas for other flavors.
A light spread of mayo might pass unnoticed, but it will add to your lunch, that je ne sais quoi that you didn’t know it needed.
Cheddar and mayo are the stars in this Roast Beef Sandwich sandwich recipe. Visit Eat This, Not That! to see it in all it’s beauty.
5. Butter Makes It Better
If you’re not a fan of mayo, a spread of butter will act similarly. It becomes a blank sheet in which other ingredients can express themselves.
Butter also brings back warm memories of buttered toast, and the slightest, creamy sweetness you crave.
Butter is also excellent to give your bread a consistent golden-brown hue with the slightest kiss of a hot griddle.
Your sandwich will now look the part, and your house will be saturated with the unmistakable scent of melting butter.
See Miss Hardly make excellent roast beef and butter sandwiches here
6. The BLT combo
Discovering the bacon, lettuce and tomato topping combination was the most significant discovery in the history of sandwiches and burgers.
Flavors and textures as so familiar and distinctive that we could agree everything tastes better with these three flavor powerhouses.
Will bacon make your roast beef sandwich too meaty for you? Ditch it but do try your sandwich with a fresh lettuce leave and a pair of juicy, ripe tomato slices.
Don’t let anyone judge you for your sandwich-based diet anymore; now you’re eating salad too!
Go see if the Roast Beef BLT sandwich is for you over at Taste of Home.
7. Add Some Potato Chips, Really!
Add a handful of potato chips to your sandwich, even a bag of Lay’s will do the trick. The crunchiness and the saltiness really take your sandwich to another level.
Perhaps you’ve done this before, but we bet you were not over nine years old. Chips are grownup business too, so try it out.
Remember to add your chips at the last minute, soggy chips are a big no-no in our book.
Learn all there is to know about potato chips as a topping and discover another classic the way Quirk Books does it.
8. Pickles, Because, Why Not?
When you ask yourself, what to put in a roast beef sandwich? You immediately go for these juicy, tangy and succulent little green monsters. And it’s because they’re bright and happy.
When you add them to a roast beef sandwich, the acidity of the brine elevates the taste of the meat, and the pickles themselves add a nice crunchy bite.
Dill pickles are by far the most popular, but you can try sweet pickles, lime pickles, and even aromatic cinnamon pickles for that effect. You can’t go wrong, really.
Make your pickles at home like this:
9. Go Fancy with Black Olives
Another topping we took from the Subway franchise playbook. Black olives will make your roast beef sandwich a more intellectual dish; they’ll get it closer to restaurant standards.
Black olives are just fancy and are reminiscent of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
Black olives also add a pleasant bitterness and earthiness that’s hard to imitate, but they’re a bit controversial too, whether you love them or hate them, we hope you give them a chance.
Either way, you can’t deny they add color to your roast beef sandwich, making it look better. And looks count.
This is a lovely Roast Beef Sandwich with Sliced Olives and Horseradish. Go get it at Mezzetta now!
10. A Tangy Kiss of Sauerkraut
Like pickles, the acidity in sauerkraut makes you salivate and makes your sandwich immediately becomes more than food; it’s all pleasure now.
The tanginess and freshness complement the somewhat dry roast beef and adds to your masterpiece hints of the old word, where things are just simpler.
In case you’re wondering, sauerkraut is finely chopped cabbage, fermented by lactic bacteria, which gives the slaw a fresh, slightly creamy texture.
Originally of German origin, it’s called choucroute in France, so you might find it with both names at the grocery store.
While you’re at it, make your own Sauerkraut like these good folks’ sauerkraut:
11. Keep It Sweet with Caramelized Onions
Now we’re on to serious business because you’ll have to do some cooking on the side, caramelized onions don’t make themselves.
The extra work is more than worth it, the sweetness, silkiness and umami richness they bring to the table can make even a mediocre sandwich a blue-ribbon contender.
Raw onions are tasty toppings too, but when sautéed in a pan, they become glorious.
Here’s a tip, add some BBQ sauce to your onions while they cook to make them even more appealing, you’ll thank us later.
Susan from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen makes it look easy with her exquisite Roast Beef and Caramelized Onion Sandwich. Go check Susan’s recipe out now!
12. Guacamole, a Game Changer
We might be going over the top with this one, but it really works. Avocado is trending right now, and it seems it’s here to stay.
Guacamole is nothing more than diced avocado with finely chopped onions and tomatoes, with a little cilantro, jalapeno and a splash of lime juice, the stuff is great on its own, but in your roast beef sandwich it’ll really stand out.
The creaminess, the added texture, the flavor and brightness, this will change the way you see sandwiches forever. You can call this a Mexican roast beef sandwich is you wish, we do.
Get inspired by this smooth guacamole:
13. Alfalfa Sprouts to Keep It Light
And now for the healthiest option. Layer a frothy bunch of alfalfa sprout in your roast beef sandwich to make it light, green, and airy. The texture is hard to match; what a delightful crunchiness!
Each bite releases freshness and slightly bitter tones to every mouthful. You know what, it just feels right. Use broccoli, soybean or radish sprouts as interchangeable toppings.
Sprouts are good for you too; they are low in calories and are rich in various nutrients, vitamins, and even proteins. Why not keeping our sandwich healthy for once?
Go check out this pretty example of a Tangy Roast Beef Sandwich from Dawn where she shares at her blog Mama Harris’ Kitchen.
What to Put in a Roast Beef Sandwich: Other Considerations
The sandwich universe is infinite. If you think about it, there are no two identical. Even if making them yourself, there are too many variables.
Why take so much trouble in prepping a sub? Because it matters.
It’s the little things that bring joy to life. You eat to feed your body, but you also eat to feed your soul.
A satisfying meal can make your day better. So, what else, beside toppings, can we do to our sandwich to enhance it?
At the beginning of our toppings list, we said that any bread would make a pretty decent roast beef sandwich. And it’s true.
But now that you know how to construct the most epic, glorious sandwich using our recommended roast beef sandwich toppings, we should give this another thought.
Here’s the deal:
Bread and bread making comes in a hundred if not a thousand variations. At this point, we’ve certainly broken all the rules when it comes to roast beef sandwiches, so let’s get creative and take a look at some seriously good pieces of bread for our work-of-art in the making.
If you’re not looking for fancy, but convenience, a good ol’ burger bun will make your sandwich an easy bite. Sacrilegious for some, the burger bun is more than just for patties.
Plus, there are excellent quality burger buns out there! Find a cute potato bun sprinkled with sesame seeds, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Forget about wonder bread. The slightly sweet, buttery brioche will complement your sandwich’s flavor profile like a beauty.
Especially if you have spicy or sour toppings, this bread will balance your composition perfectly.
Oh, là là! The French staple bread is not only fluffy and tasty but very versatile. Its main advantage is that you can make your sandwich as long as you like: A regular baguette is 26 inches long, but it can be up to 39 inches!
This is a solid choice. A drizzle of olive oil in the dough makes it extra silky, and the crust, oh the crust! There’s nothing like it.
Make your roast beef sandwich extra crunchy and give it a Mediterranean feel.
This bread is healthier than white bread because it’s a fiber bomb.
Depending on the grains, the bread will also add another level of flavor and texture to your already tasty sandwich. Smoky and nutty notes will give your lunch a lift.
Once you go sourdough, you don’t come back. It’s not just the artistry behind these rustic loaves, but the tangy, and sometimes funky flavors that get you hooked.
We’re going high end with our sandwich now, so don’t forget to raise your pinky while you take each bite.
Now you know how to master this all-American classic, and more importantly, you know what to put in a roast beef sandwich to make it epic.
This is not pot roast leftovers anymore; this is a real roast beef sandwich with all the fixin’s, and the star of the show!
More meat dish topper ideas:
- Steak Toppings: If you love roast beef, you gotta love steaks. Check out our list of topper for our favorite red meat.
- Pulled Pork Sandwich Toppings: BBQ and beyond, there’s countless ways to style up one of your favorite meaty sandwiches.
- Turkey Burger Toppings: A delicious alternative to beef deserves some healthy and appetizing add-ons.
What to Put on a Roast Beef Sandwich
- BBQ Sauce
- Honey-Mustard Dressing
- BLT combo
- Potato Chips
- Black Olives
- Caramelized Onions
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Choose your desired Roast Beef sandwich topping recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create tasty Roast Beef sandwich toppings to complete your meal!