Want to make tasty vegetarian sandwiches!
February 11, 2018 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I want to hear about your favorite vegetarian sandwich combinations!

As part of my quest to bring lunch to work at least 4 days each week, for next week I want to make vegetarian sandwiches! (I'm not vegetarian but my lunches have been very meat-heavy lately.)

I'm planning to make a loaf of no-knead whole wheat bread (so more of a chewy bread with a thick crust as opposed to a traditional squarish sandwich loaf). Other than that, I'm totally open to all suggestions. I'm especially interested in higher protein options (I love tofu and am happy to cook it, I have a really good tofu press) that don't involve a ton of cheese, but want to hear all about your favorites.

I don't intend to make all the sandwiches ahead of time, but ideally on Sunday I could prepare/cook the filling components and then just put a sandwich together each morning.

Dislikes: peppers (both spicy and bell), heavily spiced things, most mustard. Other than that, I'm pretty open! I have a well stocked kitchen, good local grocery stores, and am reasonably decent at cooking generally. (I did see this question from 2008 but figured asking again after ten years couldn't hurt.)
posted by skycrashesdown to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
The Chicky "Tuna" Salad from the Isa Does It cookbook is really good, and vegan (Chickpeas instead of tuna).
posted by backwards guitar at 3:21 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

From a long ago cafe in Boulder: equal parts tahini and peanut butter plus honey to taste, about a quarter or less,
topped with alfalfa sprouts. I grew a jar of sprouts last week and had this for several days. It should be quite portable especially if you carry the sprouts separately.
posted by Botanizer at 3:21 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's easy to make braised tofu slabs. Just slice up a block of tofu, marinate it in some soy sauce/ginger/whatever you want, and roast it for a while in the oven (put some oil underneath so they don't stick). I recommend firm or extra-firm tofu.

Then, put it in your sandwich.
posted by amtho at 3:26 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Grilled eggplant with tahini-mayo, lettuce and tomato.
Potato, mayo, perhaps a bit of cress or something — finely chopped onion if it's OK at your job. Potato and mayo is fine on their own.
Yesterday I saw my supermarket was marketing dulse as sea-bacon. I'm going to try it out for sandwiches.
posted by mumimor at 3:28 PM on February 11, 2018

Guacamole, julienned sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, and slices of swiss or cheddar cheese on top, served open-faced. Amazing.
posted by The Notorious B.F.G. at 3:33 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Pesto! First piece of bread spread.

Sprouts, cucumber, grated carrots, lettuce, tomatoes. Salt and pepper.

Top bread spread: hummus.
posted by Temeraria at 3:36 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hummus, arugula, sliced cucumber, tofu.

I know you said you don't like peppers, but I am wondering if this encompasses peppers in all forms? I was firmly anti-pepper until someone introduced me to jarred red peppers. Already peeled, easy to slice, much milder than just crunching down on raw veg.
posted by janepanic at 3:50 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Haloumi, lettuce, tomato, and a little pesto.
posted by glitter at 3:51 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pesto and roasted cauliflower!
posted by dysh at 4:05 PM on February 11, 2018

Egg salad and sprouts is my default sandwich. I recently made a curried chicken salad with cubed baked marinated tofu instead of chicken and it was delicious. The same tofu (marinated overnight with soy sauce, baked in a medium oven until it’s pretty dry) is also good with avocado and fresh tomato.

Good baba ganoush with a marinated salad is great even on non-pita bread.
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:12 PM on February 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Pesto, roma tomato, mozzarella
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:17 PM on February 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I've been eating: pieces of bibb lettuce against each slice of bread (to keep the bread from getting mushy), slice tomato smeared with mayo and sprinkle salt, big slice avocado, basil leaves. With a big enough chunk of avocado, mashed down so it doesn't slide out, this can be filling.
posted by RoadScholar at 4:25 PM on February 11, 2018

One of my favorites stolen from a French cafe in Mumbai: hummus, feta, roasted peppers (you can skip this), cucumber, mushrooms (I skip this), fresh tomatoes, fresh mint, lettuce. On a crusty baguette if you can swing it.
posted by whitewall at 4:34 PM on February 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Is cheese okay? Because then something jammy with something cheesy can keep you going for a WHILE. Fig jam (or cranberry) and brie. Chutney, or carmelized onions and cheddar. Can you toast a bagel at work? Bagel + generous amount of butter + tomatoes and salt and pepper is a favorite.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 4:38 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

ricotta, baby spinach, steamed sliced sweet potato (kumera), beetroot dip.
posted by trialex at 4:43 PM on February 11, 2018

My favorite local restaurant does a peanut tofu wrap. I don't know the exact recipe, but it involves cubes of tofu (that are just crispy on the surface), a mix of semi-seasonal vegetables often including carrot and cabbage, cucumber when available, and a peanut sauce (think Thai inspired, but not spicy). For any sandwich with a more liquidy sauce, keep the sauce in a separate little mini jar until it is time to eat the sandwich, to keep it from getting soggy.

You can also make a yummy sandwich of a sort of pate of marinated lentils - many flavor options are possible for this! Puy (aka french, or the littler black) lentils are often tastier for this purpose. Make sure to cook the lentils until they are just starting to fall apart (so that they are not crunchy). Drain them, mix with marinade/sauce, and let sit (eg. make on Sunday and stick it in the fridge overnight). Goes well with thinly sliced zucchini or similar vegetable. Sprouts could also work, depending on the marinade flavor.

If you like sprouted lentils or sprouted chickpeas or similar, then a salad of mixed sprouts and micro greens can be pretty tasty too, and also include protein! - especially with a heartier bread, and just the lightest drizzle of tasting quality olive oil or a very simple vinaigrette of some sort.

I like fried egg (eg. breakfast) sandwiches too, but am not sure how they'd be halfway through the day as opposed to fresh. Egg salad is probably better for that purpose.

The restaurant Au Vivre in Montreal makes (made? I haven't been in years) an amazing BLT with coconut bacon. Their coconut bacon recipe, as well as the sauce that goes into the sandwich in place of the mustard or mayonnaise or whatever people usually spread on a BLT, is proprietary, though. :/
posted by eviemath at 4:54 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Vegetarian here. The flavor in sandwiches doesn't come from the meat, in my opinion. I like to make sandwiches with avocado as the "meat." But cheese is a good protein - doesn't have to be a lot or overpowering.

My favorite from Whole Foods is avocado, tomato aioli, provolone, spinach, lettuce, caramelized onions, raw onions and a cherry pepper mix on focaccia bread. Probably not healthy, but you can experiment.

I also like a good ol' caprese: fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, basil, and a balsamic glaze.

The other day I ordered an amazing sandwich that I intend to get again: A panini of artichoke hearts, feta, pesto, and tomato jam.

I also frequently get a smashed chickpea sandwich at a bakery nearby.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:17 PM on February 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Since you're not vegetarian you may not be opposed to a bit of cheese, so I'll offer up my favorite sandwich evar: 2 slices bread spread with your favorite hummus, several thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, a pile of sprouts, a couple of rings of thinly sliced red onion, and feta cheese.
posted by xyzzy at 5:20 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I find tempeh faster and easier to cook than tofu and it has a better "tooth" to its texture. Tofu needs a good marinade, but if you're feeling lazy just pan frying tempeh in a little oil is enough. I like doing a brief marinade (30 min or so) of liquid amino (or soy sauce), agave syrup (or honey), chili sauce, maybe some peanut butter. I'll toss in some garlic or smoked paprika or onion powder or nutritional yeast...or whatever. Sometimes I throw these things right into the pan while I pan fry and skip marinading. It's a forgiving thing to make. Then, whatever! Tomato, spinach, hummus for extra protein, avocado, sprouts, roasted red peppers....whatever floats your sandwich boat. Tempeh is a complete protein.
Recently, the vegan youtube community has tried the new TTLA at Whole Foods - the vegan take on a BLT with avocado. Lightlife makes a pre-marinaded, pre-cut bacon flavored tempeh. Cook that up, add your ingredients and use some vegan mayo (or regular mayo) for a treat.
posted by missmary6 at 5:24 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

My preferred sandwich is a Tofurky club with Morningstar Farms fake bacon, lettuce and tomato. Which is a whole lot of weird fake meat products but goddamn it's good.

Otherwise, I like feta, tomato, cucumber, red onion and those amazing sweet hot cherry peppers that Trader Joe's just discontinued, thereby ruining my life.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:57 PM on February 11, 2018

Eggplant, onion, and mushroom sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with some red wine vinegar. It's nice with cheese, but you could do it vegan as well.
posted by toastedcheese at 6:07 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

counteroffer, one i've used on and off for years: buy five or six tofu bánh mì on Saturday. that's likely to cost like $15-18, definitely more than fully-homemade sandwiches, but hey: bánh mì!
posted by mwhybark at 6:12 PM on February 11, 2018

Just because falafel is usually done in pita or a wrap doesn't mean you couldn't do it in a sandwich. Tabbouleh would probably fall out though, so maybe just try parsley leaves and tomato. Spread the bread with tahini or tzatziki or eggplant dip. Add other things like marinated eggplant or artichokes or chargrilled cauliflower and zucchini. And the bright pink pickled turnips.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:31 PM on February 11, 2018

I’ve done black bean spread (cook up black beans with garlic/salt/cumin and mash them) with spinach and cotija or of not handy, feta. Also when I have nopales handy, they really add to it, but if you don’t like bell peppers you might not love nopales.
posted by OrangeVelour at 6:37 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just made a delicious veg sandwich with on a baguette-type bread with chive and shallot cheese, roasted peppers,** and an olive tapenade.

**Gramma Mary Onecircle's recipe for roasted peppers:
Wash peppers and put on a baking sheet, whole
Roast at 475* and turn until all sides are bubbly and blackened
Take peppers out of the oven (carefully!) and put in a paper bag
Make sure it's closed/sealed well and let the peppers cool. Meanwhile:
     Get a couple tbs of olive oil and put in a small saucepan with a couple of garlic cloves
     Saute until the garlic is brown - don't overcook it.
     Take it off the heat and dump a bunch of olive oil in there
Once they cool, take the skins off - they should peel easily
De-seed the peppers and be sure to leave the liquid
Put them in a large bowl and add the salt and garlic oil
Put in a jar and stick in the fridge, or a Ziploc and freeze for future use
Extra oil can be saved for sauteeing or whatever you wish.
posted by onecircleaday at 6:46 PM on February 11, 2018

Oh jeez, I totally missed that you don't like bell peppers! Sorry! Hopefully the recipe will be useful to others! FWIW, I'm not a huge fan of peppers, but roasted they are completely different in taste and texture, and much better than the vinegar-y store bought ones.
posted by onecircleaday at 6:51 PM on February 11, 2018

My favorite sandwich in college, from the student union QuickStop, was pita spread with cream cheese, stuffed with (crisp! sour!) apple slices, roasted salted sesame seeds, and the little skinny type of sprouts (alfalfa? whatever, microgreens would do). Really, just about every component of that could be swapped with something similar and it would still be delightful. I would absolutely eat a mashed gorgonzola/feta spread with pear slices, crushed almonds or pine nuts, and baby spinach or spring mix, for example.

The smaller more awkward slices of no-knead are great as open-faced Scandinavian-style sandwiches with butter or mayo or spread (ideally with a little shot of hot sauce), cheese with a bitter bite, thin-sliced beet or beet salad, cucumber slices, a good ruffle-leaf lettuce. Those little end bits are also great as crostini or croutons with salad.

Eggplant parm is a sandwich if you want it to be.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

My fave:
BBQ sauce marinated/grilled tofu
Cole slaw or another crunchy green
Pickles and/or kimchi
Fresh thinly sliced cukes
Cilantro or other fresh herb for a banh mi kick
posted by kapers at 8:13 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am very lazy when it comes to lunch and I have a peanut butter and fresh fruit sandwich almost every day. Feel free to add honey. Works great with apples, strawberries, peaches, persimmons, or whatever fresh fruit you like.

A local cafe has a "Thai" bagel sandwich that is peanut butter, thinly sliced red onion, and cucumber on a bagel. Super delicious.
posted by shalom at 8:14 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

One I love on crusty whole wheat but others find gross:
Sliced cooked Tofurky beer brat
Fig jam
Butter or Brie
Boston lettuce
posted by kapers at 8:19 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I used to go to a sandwich shop with an incredible vegetarian sandwich. I remember cream cheese, sprouts, cucumber, avocado and lettuce and think there was tomato, paper-thin sliced onion, avocado, probably mustard (but I love mustard, you could skip it or try just honey)... but the real crown on top was thinly sliced apple.
posted by Lady Li at 3:24 AM on February 12, 2018

Panera has an amazing turkey apple cheddar sandwich, that I've been getting sans turkey and it is delicious. Probably pretty easy to replicate at home, too. Here's their description. It's bread (cranberry walnut in their case, but just plain whatever would be fine), white cheddar cheese, thinly sliced apples, a cabbage apple slaw (lightly dressed in "White Balsamic With Apple Flavored Vinaigrette"), arugula, and a horseradish mustard.

Replicating this with just apple, cheddar, arugula, and some sort of pungent/tart dressing would be tasty.
posted by Fig at 5:35 AM on February 12, 2018

Start with some good nutty bread, like Good Seed from Dave's Killer Bread.
Next some hummus, either store bought or homemade.
Then some kimchee, drained as well as you can.
Add some veggies of your choosing, shredded carrots, cucumber slices, bean sprouts.
Top with some sliced avocado.
If you're feeling briny, sprinkle on some crumbles of feta or queso fresco.
I call it The International.
posted by slogger at 8:00 AM on February 12, 2018

Here's my Cuke & Hummus Sammich, for posterity:

- Bread of choice. Or a pita.
- Holy Land hummus is the secret ingredient. Spread Jalapeno flavor on one slice of bread, Artichoke/Spinach flavor on the other. For whatever reason other hummuses just don't cut it (Holy Land adds extra tahini or oil or something? I dunno.). The Jalapeno flavor one is effectively a mustard substitute.
- Four cucumber slices. I like to keep the skin on for that bonus crunch.
- Cheese of choice (optional).
- One ring of red onion.
- Sprouts on top, nestled in the onion ring. Yeah I know, sprouts come with a horrible risk of food poisoning. Maybe substitute spinach or lettuce instead.
posted by neckro23 at 8:14 AM on February 12, 2018

If pickled veggies don't count as "heavily spiced" I highly recommend a combo of (light amount) feta and pickled veggies and hummus on ciabatta. Or baguette plus brie plus garlicky kale plus radishes plus avocado.
posted by anya32 at 8:54 AM on February 12, 2018

One of my favorite veggie sandwiches is similar to a bunch of the above, only with apple slices IN the sandwich. Crunchy, a little sweet, super refreshing. They go well with cheese, chickpeas, sprouts, and lots of other veggie ingredients.
posted by ldthomps at 10:23 AM on February 12, 2018

Just ate: homemade faux gras with sliced cucumbers. (I just wing the recipe, but it's blended up cooked brown lentils, toasted nuts/seeds of some sort, thanksgiving-y herbs, salt, pepper, and a little nutritional yeast, all quantities to taste).

Other weird or non-obvious favorites include: jalapeno* hummus with baby spinach and sauerkraut; mashed sweet potato, massaged kale, baked tofu and peanut sauce; and fake turkey with treatly (beet & horseradish relish).

* I think this would work with any bold-flavored hummus, like extra garlic or whatever you like since jalapeno's not your thing.
posted by snaw at 12:05 PM on February 12, 2018

My all time favorite sandwich is made on a nice nutty bread. Spred one slice with cream cheese, put tabbouleh on the other. Add tomato slices or cucumder slices if desired . Join the two and create sandwhich heaven.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

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