Sandwiches are such an easy on-the-go food, whether you’re packing lunch for work or school, putting together a picnic basket, or just looking for a quick meal on a busy day. Because they’re so often centered around meat and cheese, it might seem like making a satisfying vegan sandwich would be daunting, but you don’t need animal products to create a yummy sandwich recipe!
The trick to creating vegan sandwiches is just like the trick to eating vegan in general: you have to let go of some of the conventions you’re used to, and re-imagine that sandwich. Instead of starting with the meat, use fresh veggies, bean and nut spreads, tofu, or tempeh as your base, and build on that.
The other key to making a vegan sandwich just as satisfying as one made with animal products is to replace at least some the fat that you’re losing when you cut out the animal fats. Fat tastes good, and it tells our brains that we are satisfied. If you’re used to a slice of cheese on your sandwich, you’re going to feel deprived if you just take out that cheese, for example. Instead, replace the cheese with something else, like avocado, a drizzle of olive oil or some vegan mayo.
Ready to get your vegan sandwich on? Check out these yummy recipes!
photo by Becky Striepe
1. Tofu Reuben
I had this awesome vegan take on the classic Reuben at a deli here in Atlanta, and it was delicious! Vegan Reubens usually use tempeh and fake cheese, and I liked that this version mixed things up a little bit. Here’s how to make your own!
- 1-2 tablespoons vegan mayo – I recommend Vegenaise. It’s non-GMO and pretty unprocessed.
- Sriracha sauce, to taste
- 2 slices rye bread
- plenty of sliced, baked tofu
- 1/2 of a Haas avocado, sliced
- lots of sauerkraut
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Spread the vegan mayo and Sriracha sauce on both slices of bread, then add the tofu, avocado, and sauerkraut.
- Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat, and sear both sides of the sandwich. Be careful when you’re flipping – it will want to fall apart!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by nociveglia
2. Hummus and Roasted Veggies
Hummus is a staple food for a lot of vegans, partly because it’s just so widely available. Also, hummus is delicious! If you’re not crazy about hummus, you can use other vegan dips as a sandwich spread instead. The recipe below is super basic, so feel free to mix things up! Add fresh herbs, slice in some fresh tomato or avocado, or change up the veggies to make this sandwich whatever you want it to be!
- 1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4″ slices
- 1/2 a medium eggplant, seeds removed and cut into 1/4″ slices
- 1/2 a sweet onion, cut into 1/4″ rings
- olive oil, salt, and pepper
- 4 slices of good, multigrain bread
- hummus or bean spread of your choice
- spring mix of lettuces
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Toss the zucchini, eggplant, and onion in enough olive oil to coat them, then season with a little salt and pepper.
- Spread the veggies onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, so they brown evenly.
- While the veggies roast, spread your hummus onto your slices of bread and pile a bit of lettuce onto two of the bread slices. When the veggies finish up, divide them between the two sandwiches, close ‘em up, slice in half, and enjoy!
photo by Becky Striepe
3. Tofu Salad Sandwich
Egg salad is for the birds! Even my omnivore husband loves this tofu salad recipe. We make these whenever we’re taking a road trip.
- 1 package firm tofu, cubed
- 3 or 4 scallions, minced
- handful of mushrooms, diced
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
- 8 slices good, wheat bread
- sliced bread and butter pickle
- Combine everything but the bread and pickles, mixing gently. You want the tofu to break down a little, but you don’t want it totally smooth.
- Divide the tofu mixture between 4 of the pieces of bread, top with some bread and butter pickles, and close the sandwiches with the other 4 bread slices.
photo by Becky Striepe
4. Beyond PB&J
Good ol’ peanut butter and jelly is vegan, but it’s also a little bit boring, don’t you think? Here are some ideas to put a tasty spin on that old staple.
- cashew butter + apricot jam
- almond butter + sour cherry preserves
- sunflower butter + sliced banana pan-seared in a little olive oil
- curried PB&J
- cashew butter with fresh sliced strawberries
Basically, you just pick a nut- or seed-butter, pick something fruity, and spread away! Get creative!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by sleepyneko
5. The ALT
That’s avocado, lettuce and tomato. This unassuming sandwich is as delicious as it is simple. If you’re looking to make something a little more fancy, adding a few leaves of fresh basil to each sandwich really ups the ante.
- 4 slices of your favorite bread, toasted
- spicy mustard – grainy or Dijon works well
- 1 Haas avocado, sliced
- a few leaves of Romaine lettuce
- 4-6 slices of good tomato
- thinly sliced onion (optional)
- Spread the mustard onto the toast, pile the avocado, lettuce, tomato, and onion (if you’re using it) on, and close the two sandwiches. YUM!
Do you have a favorite vegan sandwich recipe? I’d love to hear your sandwich ideas in the comments!