The National Sandwich Idea contest was held between 1956 and 1981. It was sponsored by the Wheat Flour Institute. Each year 20 sandwich recipes, created by Food Service professionals, were chosen as the top sandwich recipes from hundreds of entries.

The Garden Sandwich was the number #1 recipe chosen in 1979.

It was created by Jim Weisman, then proprietor of Out To Lunch, a fast food sandwich shop, in Little Rock, AK.

The Garden Sandwich is a grilled three-cheese and vegetable creation on pumpernickel bread.

The Garden Sandwich - 1979 #1 winner

2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen spinach, thawed, or 1 1/2 lbs fresh, blanched, drained and chopped
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 tbsp minced green (bell) pepper
6 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Butter, softened for spreading
12 slices pumpernickel bread
6 (1 oz) slices Swiss cheese
6 (1 oz) slices provolone cheese
6 (1/2 oz) slices cheddar cheese
2 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
2/3 cup sauteed, sliced mushrooms
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
Fresh Spinach leaves for garnish
Cherry tomatoes for garnish

Squeeze excess moisture from spinach; combine with
onion, green pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt;
toss to blend; set aside.
Butter one side of all 12 bread slices; place buttered
sides down on grill or in skillet. Lightly brown on
buttered sides; remove 6 slices from grill; set aside.
On 6 bread slices remaining on grill, place one slice from
each of the cheeses, for a total of 3 slices of cheese
on each grilling slice of bread. Grill covered, until
cheeses soften; remove from grill.
On each of the empty, grilled, slices of bread spread about 1/3 cup of spinach mixture.
Sprinkle equal amounts of seeds, mushrooms and sprouts on top of spinach.
Arrange one spinach-topped slice of bread and one cheese topped slice, open faced, on each plate.
Close sandwich before eating.
Garnish with fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Source: Lakeland Ledger newspaper, Aug 16, 1979