Quite Possibly the Best Lunch, Ever

It’s October, and it finally feels like fall in Charlottesville. This sunny, gorgeous, 50-60 degree day was the perfect day to get things. Lots and lots of things, like:

  • Fall vegetables at the city market: we picked up carrots, beets, kale, pears, and a ton of pickling cucumbers. Yeah dude, we’re making pickles.

Fall bounty.

  • New jeans at Bittersweet: they’re currently in “test mode.” I never believe clerks when they say “oh no, those don’t stretch,” so I’m wandering around the house doing splits in them before I commit [pet peeve: when jeans stretch out too much].
  • My first spaghetti squash from Whole Foods [and of course 50% of the rest of the store].
  • New fall running gear: cool-weather running leggings and a running jacket, completing my transformation into a living, breathing, Nike advertisement.
  • Part I of my Phillies garb! According to UPS, Part II is somewhere in Ohio.

What was missing? Sazerac Rye. Even though it’s back in season, the ABC stores in town aren’t carrying it this year. I guess aside from me, Shaun, and C&O, no one really has a taste for it?

After our shopping wins [and fail], we completed a 10K run while I tested out my new Nike Pegasus+ 28 Trail sneakers. Magical. The extra cushioning made it such that I almost didn’t feel any pain in my left knee, a common area of irritation recently. Aside from one killer hill on which I thought I would have to be laid to rest permanently, this run felt more comfortable than our runs earlier in the week.

We returned home hungry.* Thankfully for us, while at Whole Foods I picked up the ingredients for a meal I brought up in a previous post that I have been dying to try. My instincts were right: this was one of the most delicious things I’ve made in a while. Quite possibly the best lunch ever. I’m not kidding. I’m still drooling. I want seconds, but luckily the Phillies play shortly and since we don’t have cable, I’ll have to leave the house.

I found this pumpkin “breakfast sandwich” on Kathy’s blog, Healthy Happy Life. Her recipe calls for a grilled english muffin topped with pumpkin butter, vegan sausage, sauteed mushrooms, vegan pepperjack cheese, and arugula. Oh. My. Gosh.

This flavor combination just shouldn’t work: tangy arugula, spicy cheese and sausage, sweet pumpkin… what? But it works, and it works perfectly.

Sandwich of JOY.

Blue and Orange for the 'Hoos.

We served this sandwich with a 1/2 cup portion of Whole Foods’ Adobo Black Bean soup that I picked up on a whim. This was thick, spicy, and the perfect complement to the sandwich. I successfully crafted a balanced, protein-rich post-run meal.

I imagine you could make this with meat sausage and dairy-based cheese, too, but it’s honestly lovely the way it is. Pumpkin is a beautiful thing. And now, I have an open can that will need to be used up – stay tuned for a ton of pumpkin recipes this week.

Thanks for a great recipe, Kathy! Off to cheer on the Phillies…

“Jack-o-Pumpkin” Breakfast Sandwich (Vegetarian, Vegan)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

For the recipe, please visit Kathy’s page here. Please see below for my notes and modifications.


  • Instead of just mushrooms, I prepared a mix of sauteed onions, garlic, and mushrooms.
  • I subbed a sandwich round for an english muffin.
  • Feeling unmotivated to make pumpkin butter, I just mixed canned pumpkin with Splenda and pumpkin spice blend and spread it on the sandwich that way.
  • Rather than put the whole sandwich on a panini press, I toasted the bread, grilled the sausage, and let the warm sausage and mushrooms melt the cheese.

* I’m always hungry.


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Categories: Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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6 Comments on “Quite Possibly the Best Lunch, Ever”

  1. October 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    so glad u liked the Jack o Pumpkin! Yours looks great! 🙂 -kathy

    • October 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      We may make it again tomorrow… Great recipe!!! 🙂


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