Root Veg-Sando Buns

Borrowed from the Japanese term for the English term for a combination of layered-eats made worldwide for ages— this is my answer to the classic question: “Is it a sandwich? A hot dog? A sub, hoagie, torta, bahn-mi, gua-bao, burger, toastie, sarnie, bap, butty, roll?” Dude, it’s a sando. And it’s delicious with whatever you decide to put in between its soft, chewy, caramelized and girthy layers. The following are just a few of my tried, tested, and true combinations!

Base Sando Ingredients:

  • 1 root vegetable of your choice, shaped to the “style” of sando you want:
    • For a ‘hot-dog-esque’ sando, choose a long, thinner root veg.
    • For a ‘burger’ style sando, choose a rounder, plumper root veg.
    • For a ‘fingerling-crostini’ style sando, choose a smaller root veg.
    • For a great, honking ‘submarine’ style sando, choose a larger root veg.
  • Seasonings to taste: my standards are a dash of garlic powder, black pepper, and salt
  • YOUR CHOICE of sando-fillers— see my examples below!

Special equipment: Parchment paper, air fryer if available; if not, a basic convention oven will do fine.

Prep time: 40 minutes-1 hour and 10 minutes for one medium-sized, 1-2 cups’ worth of root veg of choice.
Yields: varies according to the size and root you choose. (Here is a basic guideline for 1/2 a cup of sweet potato as a general example.)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F, or set air-fryer to cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse root veg of choice and pat dry. Cut, scrape, peel, or trim off any unwanted pieces to your veg, such as leaf tops, hanging root-stems, or oblong tips, until you have your desired shape. (If still intact, you can save these for a Veggie-Scrap Soup Stock.)
  3. Place prepared root on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in preheated oven, or in a parchment paper-lined air fryer tray.
  4. If using oven, bake for 1 hour; if using air fryer, fry for 30 minutes. Remove from oven/fryer and let cool for about 10 minutes. Sando bun is ready when innards are soft enough that you can stick a fork through it.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, put a slit into your sando using one of the following methods:
    • Opening it in half without completely splitting it for a handheld ‘bun’ style.
    • Cutting it completely in half for a ‘two slice’ sando style.
    • Slicing it into thin slices for a ‘deli-thin’ sando style.
  6. Season the sando slices or halves to your preference, and then layer with your chosen fillers, portioning so that they don’t spill!
  7. Wrap sando with parchment paper and a paper towel or napkin (if you want to stay neat! I won’t judge if you don’t 😉 ), and enjoy!

Click here for some of my personal variations—

  • AND MORE???

Straight up, I would LOVE to see what other combinations you come up with for sando-style foods of all kinds, using the vast array of root vegetables, or other sando-able veg, out there. Just… period! 😀

***And on a very serious note of mine, I feel this is pretty important to establish:

Here’s why I don’t use tubers (e.g. standardized potatoes, cassava roots, taro roots, lotus roots, etc.) in my recipe roster. Straight up, tubers are pure starches: they are NOT the same species classification, or frankly, plant “organ” if you will, as root vegetables.

A tuber, i.e. literally a tube-shaped structure that is part of a flowering plant’s roots, is specifically an organ, i.e. the stem in this case, designed to help the entire plant’s greater body overall. It is essentially designed to store and give the plant itself energy when it cannot derive the same from as much sunlight above ground.

Example: lotuses themselves–

A root vegetable, on the other hand, is the entire plant’s main body itself versus a stem piece— like the humble carrot.

Using carrots as a perfect root-veg example, at that, because we generally don’t group them together with “tubers” of any classification…

Notice how the bodies of a carrot and a sweet potato are similar, each with leafy heads, tipped ends that taper downwards in the direction they grow from, and concentric rings in their cross-sections:

The similarities are far less between that of a sweet potato and a russet potato, with the russet potato lacking such a leafy head or stem, concentric rings, and tip, and instead having EYES. (i.e. the green shoots that grow as sprouts, categorically missing from root vegetables.)

(click each image for a larger look!)

While there’s a lot of sources out there that will give all kinds of mixed naming classifications— i.e., “Tubers are roots, roots are tuber vegetables, tubers are starchy vegetables…” …and so deciphering the truest categories can be hellishly tricky… (I’m serious, just try looking this up online…)

The most important marker I go by is simply that root vegetables, like all other vegetables, are NOT poisonous for you should you eat them raw. Some may be tougher to chew, crunchier, bitterer, what have you— but they can be safely consumed raw just as much as cooked. All parts of starchy root tubers, on the other hand, are poisonous for human consumption in their raw form, and have to be rigorously cooked and processed FIRST to be rendered edible at all– same as beans, rice, oats, corn, and other starches.

Cassava: Benefits, toxicity, and how to prepare (
Can I Eat Potato Leaves: are they poisonous? – GrowerExperts
What Is Taro and How Do You Use It? (
Ingredient Spotlight: Lotus Root | The Kitchn

Hence, root vegetables– while yes, generally sweeter in flavor than say, vegetables like broccoli or mustard greens– are still categorically vegetables, and NOT energy-organs like tubers. They contain other nutrients and minerals that an entire vegetable typically has and are not concentrated forms of purely-starch.

External image sources:


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