Sandwiches. They are just so good I’ve got to write it again. Sandwiches! As a vegetarian, I learned that it didn’t matter if there were no cold cuts. As a strictly plant-based eater, I’ve learned that it didn’t matter if there was no cheese. Sandwiches—those versatile, adaptive parcels of imaginative culinary delights–overcome all obstacles.
Sandwich spreads are a big reason why this lunch favorite still makes me smile every time. I used to think of spreads as second thoughts, controversial—mustard and mayonnaise have always seemed to bring out intense hatred in some eaters—condiments rather than feature ingredients. Well, I used to be a fool.
Going plant-based has opened me up to a whole new world of sandwich sampling, and spreads are a key addition providing much, much more than just a bit of moisture on the underside of the bread.
Here’s 10 that will change your sandwich days forever:
Hummus has become a staple for many plant-based eaters. It’s provides a lot of protein, as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it tastes fantastic, is easy to make, and provides the moisture needed for a quality sandwich. And, there are just so many flavor options: Rosemary with Roasted Garlic, Savory Pumpkin, and many more. Try it in the Vegan Humdinger, sure to hit the spot on so many levels.
There are loads of vegan patés to choose from, but I’m partial to this Lentil Paté, which again pumps up the sandwich with protein. You could also try this Sunflower Seed Paté or this Mushroom Walnut Paté. It’s another simple DIY sandwich stuffer that can be kept in the fridge for few days to provide the base for several flavor combinations and some serious substance to the sandwich.
Eggplant has long stood in place of meat on vegan and vegetarian sandwiches, but baba ganoush takes it to another level. It has such a rich, roasted flavor that plays the star in many a sandwich. Here’s a basic recipe and experiment from there, like this Lemon and Thyme Baba Ganoush. Feel free to add whatever toppings or other additions that you like for a complete flavor hit.
Avocados are good for some quality fats and mix great with tomatoes for a healthy combination. If you are guacamole fan, undoubtedly you are already well familiar with its addictive superpowers. Put this Ultimate Guacamole on a sandwich like The Cracked Sandwich with hummus and sun-dried tomatoes.; you’ll never be the same.
Keep in mind everything that baba ganoush does for eggplants, and muhammara makes the magic happen with red peppers. Again, smoky and stout, a bit of fat and protein from nuts and seeds. Massive, memorable flavor that leaves no doubt you eaten well. Just try this Chia Muhamarra on your next sandwich!
Personally, I’m not a great fan of store-bought vegan cheese, feeling that a lot of them are overly processed. Toss that out the window, spend five minutes and make your own this Garlic Cashew Cream Cheese for quality nutrients, proteins and fats. You know what to do after that. Funk it up with your favorite herbs and spices and use it in vegan grilled cheese dishes for your delight.
For just a sandwich or two, forget the idea that sandwiches are savory, and get down with some nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread beloved throughout Europe. Pair this Homemade Nutella with bananas and put it on homemade whole wheat maple oatmeal bread or a crêpe. Let lunch taste like dessert for a change.
While we are at it, forgetting peanut butter would be a grave—yes, very serious!—injustice to the great sandwich experience. Now, the school lunch classic is even more exciting because some nuts and seeds have followed suit. It’s very easy and healthier to make your own. Or, aside from peanut butter, try almond butter, walnut butter, coconut butter, or sesame seed butter (tahini). Don’t limit your sandwiches to peanut butter alone; while that’s a great place to start, it’s not the end of the road.
Garlic is good, garlic is great, so I’m always happy for more on my plate. Or, sandwich. This spread is awesome for adding some garlic to your sammy, as well as bringing seriously raw nutrition to lunch with a list of healthy ingredients. The spreads pairs well with other favorites like tomatoes, cukes, carrots, avocado, and any type of bread you fancy.
I’ll never forget the blissful olive spreads on muffulettas (Do them vegan!) in New Orleans. Olives are packed with healthy stuff, and olive spreads like this Artichoke Olive Tapenade With Za’Atar or this Walnut, Olive, and Artichoke Spread makes for a great sandwich addition, which is why some of this, in a world gone right, should always be waiting in the fridge. Try the delicious spread or just whole olives on a filling, hearty (yet healthy) sandwich like Raw Vegan Tomato Cucumber Sandwich on Onion Corn Bread.
The next time you see sandwiches as a boring lunch alternative, hopefully, you’ll think about these spreads and reach for that bread with a bit more excitement. You can also use these spreads on wraps, burgers, or even vegan pizza if you wish.
What’s your favorite vegan sandwich spread?
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Lead Image Source: The Vegan Rueben