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Hero Roll-Ups

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 1 serving (2 roll-ups)

Total carbohydrates: 2 – 4 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 5 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes

If you don’t call those big deli sandwiches “heroes,” then this is a play on words that is probably lost on you. But “hoagie roll-ups” or “sub roll-ups” just doesn’t have the same heroic feeling! And these really are heroes of the packed-lunch world: easy, appealing, appetizer-y finger food with plenty or protein and pretty close to zero carbs. It is easiest to add the mustard or mayo when you roll these up, but I love bothering to put the condiments in a jar so that I have something to dip in. Also? If I make a big batch of these and put them in the fridge, then my husband with his mustardy fingers becomes mysteriously filled with incredibly loving feelings toward me, and that’s nice too.


4 slices cheese (a big slice, like Swiss, is great for the outside of the roll-up)

4 slices ham or turkey (or a mix, or another lunch meat of your choosing)

Slivered romaine lettuce

Other optional fixings that you like: pepperoncini, tomatoes, red peppers, raw or pickled onions

Mustard or mayonnaise (Or make a zippy dipping sauce by stirring a teaspoon of hoagie relish into a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Hoagie relish is a mild, vinegary, red condiment sold where the pickles and pickled peppers are.)


  1. Lay the cheese down on your work surface in two stacks. If you’re using two different kinds, put the bigger one on the bottom.

  2. Lay the meat on top of the cheese, half on each stack; if you’re using condiments, spread them on the meat.

  3. Arrange the lettuce and other fixings across the middle of the meat.

  4. Roll up each stack and cut it in half. Use toothpicks to secure the rolls if they don’t seem inclined to hold together.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Last year they started the WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and are currently developing Seasoned, their senior version, commissioned by the AARP. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health and happiness at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]