Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? From giant meatball subs to petite cucumber tea sandwiches, people of all walks of life adore the worldwide classic that is the sandwich. Sandwiches are quick and easy for any meal, and with the right ingredients they can provide you with satisfying nutrients to keep you full for hours. Normally, sandwiches are comprised of meat and cheese. Take a cubano, a patty melt or an Italian for example, and you’ll find the core ingredients of these sandwiches are animal products. So, if not meat and cheese, then what exactly can be layered in between two slices of bread and taste good? The answer- a lot of great food!
The sad sandwich life for plant-based eaters is now over. Here are nine tips on how to make a lip-smackin’, mouth watering sandwich that will impress anyone’s taste buds.
1. Use Beans
Beans are a staple in many plant-based kitchens. They provide ample protein, iron and fiber to replace that of meat. They make the perfect addition to a sandwich because of these nutrient benefits. Chickpeas are a great choice to use as a protein choice in picnic salad sandwiches. Mash them up, add some spices and celery, and you’ve got yourself a healthier version of chicken (or tuna) salad. Try out this Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich for a real delight, or try layering beans on sandwich for some unique texture. With such simple ingredients, adding beans to this White Bean Nicoise Sandwich makes an effortless and flavorful bite.
2. Pile on the Veggies
The easiest option for a plant-based sandwich is to load up on the vegetables. With a vegetable sandwich you can use any vegetables that you already have- cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, onions, or whatever else you enjoy. Add double the amount of vegetables in a typical sandwich to stay fuller longer, such as in this Easy Fix Veggie Sandwich, which is refreshing, crisp and incredibly simple. Try adding some more unique vegetables such as roasted red peppers, beats or kale to switch things up. A veggie panini is also an awesome option for a warm sandwich. These Roasted Vegan Eggplant Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions will make anyone forget about those meaty cold cuts.
3. Vegan Spreads
No one wants a dry sandwich. Unfortunately, so many of the sandwich spreads found in grocery stores (regular mayo, soft cheeses, ranch dressings and yogurts) have dairy products in them. There are so many great reasons to ditch dairy for your sandwich smears and making dairy-free spreads has never been easier! While vegan mayo is always an option at the grocery store, try making your own dairy-free sandwich spread ideas at home instead. Options include flavorful hummus, spicy sriracha, olive spreads, mustard, or squash purees. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous try out this Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto, or for a traditional mayo replication, try a vegan mayo out in a pinch. Ditch the oily, dairy spreads and choose to make vegan spreads the stars. Not only will these give moisture to your sandwich, they will give exceptional flavor at a much healthier cost.
4. Swap the Bread
With many studies being done about gluten-free and Paleo diets, so too comes more of these food options. Sandwiches can now be made without bread and without a loss of flavor and heartiness. For those who aren’t gluten intolerant but just want a change in their lunch box, try switching out bread for a whole wheat wrap or pita. For those with a gluten intolerance, make yourself a raw sandwich, or try some of our favorite gluten-free bread options. Collard greens are a popular alternative and you can use them just as you would a flour wrap. Try these Raw Vegan Veggie Stuffed Collard Wraps, which are so easy and can be stuffed with any vegetables you have available or these Raw Vegan Nori Wraps and Grilled Artichoke and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps for other bread-free options. If you’re not in the mood for a wrap, go for these Portobello Eggplant Burgers, which are naturally gluten-free and the cauliflower cashew cheese will provide a healthful creaminess.
5. Choose High Quality Bread
If you don’t want to give up the bread, opt for a high-quality bread an pass on the refined, white bread or even refined breads at the store (often on the shelves, no matter how healthy the label may sound). In a pinch, you may choose 100 percent whole wheat bread, or many of the whole grain gluten-free bread options in grocery stores as well. Look for bread without added sugar and with ample protein and fiber. Better yet, make your own! Make this High-Protein Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread, gluten-free (flour-free) Homemade Manna Bread, or try other homemade breads for plenty of options to upgrade your sandwich even more.
Even a dessert-like Vegan Carrot Walnut Bread would be great to enjoy for something different. You can even learn how to sprout and eat raw grains to incorporate into homemade bread. Sprouted bread has beneficial enzymes that can get lost in baked bread, making them extremely beneficial for proper digestion.
6. Use Avocado
Avocado makes everything better. It’s creamy texture doubles as a vegan spread, adding moisture and texture to your sandwich. When ripe (soft to the touch), cut thin and layer in between veggies, vegan cheeses and proteins for a sandwich stacked high with flavor. With healthy fats and B vitamins, avocado will upgrade your sandwich to be ample and scrumptious. Check out this Vegan Humdinger sandwich for an easy avocado fix sure to leave your stomach happy.
7. Spin the Classics
Classic comfort food sandwiches are loaded with meat and dairy and can be found on nearly any diner restaurant menu, and though they are warm and filling, they come with health and environmental consequences. Veganizing these classics is easier than you may think. Substitute tempeh, tofu or seitan for meat and you’ll get the same hearty sandwich but with much less fat, grease and problems later on. Plus, plant-based proteins have a natural meaty texture to them and will taste like what you cook them in. Using homemade sauerkraut, vegan bacon and sauteed onions, your normal reuben is upgraded with this Vegan Reuben Sandwich. For a cheesy classic try out the Vegan Philly Cheezsteak which uses tofu as its protein base or try using beans to make this filling Vegan Gutbuster Sandwich, which puts a twist on the classic sausage sandwich.
8. Make a Burger
Stuck on what kind of sandwich to make? Make a burger! Veggie burgers are everywhere nowadays, but nothing beats a homemade one. They are easy to make with beans, vegetables, nuts and potatoes, but be sure you know some tips first so they won’t fall apart. Using grains and beans, this Quinoa and White Bean Burger provides a great source of protein. Veggie burgers can be paired with toppings such as pickles, raw vegetables and condiments that you can pair with your typical beef patty. The biggest differences are that they are much healthier for you due to less fat and cholesterol, and their flavors can be varied more freely. These Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Burgers have flavors of autumn much like these Roasted Beet Burger Patties, but their varied ingredients allow for endless burger options.
Do you have a favorite tip for making a vegan sandwich? We’d love to hear it!
Lead Image Source: Mayim Bialik’s Vegan Rueben Sandwich Recipe