Delicious Vegetarian Sandwiches
March 15, 2008 5:54 PM   Subscribe

Ideas for delicious vegetarian sandwiches?

I'm going on a picnic with a vegetarian friend, and I want to make some sandwiches that are more exciting than just cheese or PB&J.
I don't mind spending some time preparing them.

*Vegan not necessary but not excluded either.
posted by exceptinsects to Food & Drink (43 answers total) 130 users marked this as a favorite
Hummus on toast (can add lettuce, roasted red peppers, olives, whatever). For some reason it works much better with toast than with untoasted bread, though.
posted by dilettante at 6:00 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Caprese sandwich:

Fresh mozzarella (how vegetarian?), basil and tomatoes, with oil on the bread and optionally, vinegar. Amazing. Works well on focaccia or any artisan bread.

Carnival's room service had this tasty veggie sandwich but it definitely required more work. It consisted of grilled zucchini, fresh mozzarella and portabello with basil aioli on focaccia bread.
posted by disillusioned at 6:02 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

roasted bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, and zucchini with goat cheese (instead of say, mayo), and pesto. Tasty!
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:03 PM on March 15, 2008

Grilled squash & zucchini with goat cheese and pesto on focaccia or some kind of crusty bread.

Portabello mushroom with asiago on baguette.

Tomato (good heirloom ones) with Durkee's.

Cucumber and cream cheese.

Spaghetti sandwich.
posted by charlesv at 6:04 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Haven't we had enough sandwich threads? Many of those are vegetarian. If "turkey" is an ingredient, use meatless turkey. I like the Tofurky brand.

Try something with eggs. Fried egg + cheese. Egg salad.

Use hummus as the condiment and throw in any veggies you can think of.

Or how about just bagels and cream cheese? Use an onion bagel and add tomato and/or Tofurky.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:05 PM on March 15, 2008

Curried Tofu. Sort of an egg/tuna salady consistency. Roughly mash a cake of tofu and toss it with curry powder, turmeric, diced onions, celery, carrot, raisins, garlic, etc. and some mayo/mayo-substitute and let it marinate overnight. 'Tis delicious on toast, or soft rolls.
posted by mumkin at 6:07 PM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]

Cream cheese, strawberries and a drizzle of honey, on a light fruit bread, for a dessert 'cheesecake' sandwich.
posted by essexjan at 6:09 PM on March 15, 2008

ALT: avocado, lettuce, and tomato
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:12 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

Egg salad. It has a nerdy rep, but it's great. If you can find some with chutney in it, it's FUCKING AMAZING. Trust me.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:29 PM on March 15, 2008

Cream/neufchatel cheese mixed with dill spread inside a pita. Stuff with tomato, cucumber, and red onion slices and garnish with alfalfa sprouts.
posted by plinth at 6:29 PM on March 15, 2008

Oh, one more: croissant, cream cheese, mushrooms, tomato slice, sprouts. This is a nice combination of simple and delicious but also not totally obvious.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:30 PM on March 15, 2008

I always liked the old veggie sandwich at Quiznos. They put a bunch of white mushrooms and olives down first as a sort of meat substitute. Along with onions, cheese, some lettuce and guacamole it comes out nice.
posted by ericales at 6:35 PM on March 15, 2008

A heads up to cheese-loving vegetarians, prompted by the many recommendations for cheese sandwiches: cheese can sometimes be made from calf rennet, i.e. the lining harvested from the stomachs of young calves. Many modern cheeses use alternatives to traditional rennet, allowing vegetarians to eat cheese without violating their dietary rules. Check the ingredients before eating, if you're particular about that sort of thing. I'm living in the UK at the moment and the cheeses I buy from the supermarkets usually indicate clearly exactly what sort of rennet they used in the production.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on rennet, for a bit of more detailed information. The Vegetarian Society UK has a "cheat sheet" on cheese and rennet.

Bit of background info: vegetarian for 15 years, had to avoid cheese for many of those before they started their proper labeling a few years ago. About goddamned time too.
posted by WalterMitty at 6:40 PM on March 15, 2008

I had a fabulous baked tofu sandwich today. Let me tell you all about it.

Unlike many vegetarian sandwiches, this one had a nice toothy feel when you bit into it -- AND it was vegan, with no cheese. You didn't say your friend was vegan, but I'm handing you a bunch of bonus points here and a handy future reference for when you reach level two of the difficult-to-feed friends game.

Basically, it was a sandwich on fabulous bread, with tomato (I always use tomato, for the texture), lots of crunchy lettuce, and vegan mayo - it's based from canola oil, I think, look on the shelves at the supermarket. For a picnic, I'd think vegan mayo would be great: since it contains no eggs, your chance of food-borne yuckyness from spoiled food goes way down.

Essential baked tofu: slice a pound block of firm (or extra-firm) tofu into three big square slabs. Spread in single layer on clean dish towel, wrap towel over, fold/layer towel/tofu slabs such that it's a stack that can be topped with a heavy plate or wooden cutting board so that the moisture is pressed out (look for baked tofu recipes online for more about this). I generally go through another towel cycle to get the tofu really dry, but it's much less important here than, say, for frying.

Then you marinate the tofu. I found some good soy/ginger marinade on the shelf at Whole Foods which worked excellently. Use what you like, though - it's your sandwich. Bar-B-Q sauce isn't wholly out of the question.

Then you put the tofu on a little rack, or in a foil-lined tray, and bake it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, flipping the slabs over once during baking. If you use a sauce that's at all sweet (my soy-ginger sauce is), be careful that it doesn't blacken during baking. I do it in a little toaster over, so I sometimes put a piece of foil loosely over the top to prevent this burning, and remove it at the end.

Again, you'd do well to look for recipes. It's very simple and will make a vegan's sandwich-eating life sublime.

Then, you've got these fabulous chewy slabs ready to put in your sandwiches.

Better than fake deli slices (which I eat just fine) because they're thicker, you can flavor them as you like, and those deli slices are rather expensive.
posted by amtho at 6:51 PM on March 15, 2008 [4 favorites]

One note for perfect picnicking: If you pack your lettuce and tomato separate from the rest of the sandwich (especially the tomato), it will help keep your bread from getting soggy. I tend to layer the tomato between the "meat" (or baked tofu) and the lettuce, also, to help with this problem.

And this is assuming you're using juicy, fully-ripe, possibly heirloom tomatoes. Trust me, it is worth it.

OH - one more possible vegetarian/vegan treat you don't want to overlook, if you're being all fancy: soy bacon. Fry it up the day of or the day before, it can add a certain very special something to a sandwich.
posted by amtho at 6:55 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cream cheese, Red onion, Sprouts, Avocado and Mayo!
posted by MiffyCLB at 7:08 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Roasted eggplant, roasted red bell peppers, pesto, cream cheese, mozarella cheese, and lettuce, all on some foccacio bread. They're delicious.
posted by spiderskull at 7:13 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

I think that the Bahn Mi is one of the most delicious sandwiches in the world, and I have seen recently that vegetarians have the option of a tofu version (as mentioned in that wiki).
posted by aletheia at 7:20 PM on March 15, 2008

Sliced hard boiled egg, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, grated cheddar cheese and mayo on a nice whole wheat bread or stuffed in a pita.
posted by JujuB at 7:20 PM on March 15, 2008

Make a marinade of low sodium soy sauce, olive oil, and minced garlic and marinate portobello caps for about an hour. Grill pretty much just like you would hamburgers. Serve on a bun with regular burger fixings. My favorite is dressed with grilled onions, avocado/guacamole, pickle slices, and ketchup.
posted by TungstenChef at 7:35 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hasperat! Straight out of Star Trek.
posted by pmdboi at 7:48 PM on March 15, 2008

2nding Banh Mi
posted by gnutron at 8:12 PM on March 15, 2008

Avacado, sliced
Pepper Jack
Sliced mushrooms
Salted Pistascios, hazelnuts, and cashews
Little strips of roasted red pepper from a jar (or pimentos)
A little mayo for moisture
all on a sprouted weat bread

....mmmmmmy favorite.
posted by sourwookie at 8:13 PM on March 15, 2008

Best answer: roasted eggplant, carmelized onions, sundried tomatoes, garlic mayo on bread of your choice.
posted by FlyByDay at 8:34 PM on March 15, 2008 [3 favorites]

Hopefully wraps count somehow as sandwiches, because this one's pretty tasty: whole wheat wrap, smear of whipped cream cheese, red onions, cucumbers, fresh spinach, tomato and gorgonzola cheese. Delicious!
posted by anthropoid at 9:05 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My favorite late nite snack is vegetarian. Fig jam with goat cheese on whole wheat bread pan-toasted in butter. Add honey. For best results, warm everything up to room temperature. (This is also what I cut into finger-size pieces and sneak into movie theaters.)

In my experience the best fig jams have Arab origins.
posted by Brian James at 9:10 PM on March 15, 2008 [7 favorites]

on bagels or crusty white bread, spread boursin (that lovely soft herbed cheese) or herbed goat cheese. top with sliced tomato, cucumber, and some red onion if you're into raw onions. remember to put salt and pepper on the veggies--it makes a world of difference.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:19 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ooh! Ooh! One of the top 10 sandwiches I ever had: the tempeh reuben. My God was that a good sandwich. I still have daydreams about it.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:38 AM on March 16, 2008

A "BLTease" -- using fried Provolone instead of bacon.
posted by RavinDave at 5:46 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like a cucumber and mint chutney sandwich. You can google some recipes for chutney, or find it at your local Indian store. It's also called hari chutney or green chutney (make sure you don't get pickle, that's a different thing).
posted by theiconoclast31 at 8:35 AM on March 16, 2008

I recommend eggplant, zucchini, and spinach sandwiches which are (a) vegan (b) delicious but also (c) usually served hot. Salt the fuck out of the vegetables and fry 'em up. If you can keep the stuff hot, all the better, but they're probably fine cold too. Mushrooms might also work.
posted by beerbajay at 10:23 AM on March 16, 2008

Best answer: For a sweet contrast to all the savory up-thread:

Almond butter, sliced danjou pears, melted swiss cheese, lettuce, mayo, on a nice crusty toasted bread like this.

Organic sauerkraut, sliced red peppers, or thin-sliced kosher pickles can add some savory zip....
posted by dpcoffin at 10:36 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Apple butter, grilled zucchini and provolone, all on a dark bread. Weird, but it works.
posted by thisjax at 11:08 AM on March 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

oh man, i really wanted to second that ALT!

the gf and i freakin LOVE them - though, admittedly, we havent had them in a while. but they rock.

she likes to put spring mix and a slice of good cheese.
posted by gcat at 11:13 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's more of a dessert, but I love it.

I like to call it the Chocolate Elvis. Spread Nutella on both slices of bread, then slice a banana into little discs and spread evenly on one side. Then fold, eat, and know happiness.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 11:37 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tofu with Swiss cheese and mustard.

Dry some slabs of tofu and slather with the yummy mustard of your choice. Mustard-ize your bread, too; something hearty and grainy is best. Lay down some lettuce and add the tofu, a nutty Swiss cheese, and some sprouts if you like them. Mmm.
posted by bassjump at 11:48 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mashed avocado on rye bread, topped with red onion and strips of roasted red pepper, a slice of mozzarella and slid under your broiler just long enough to melt the cheese and give it a little bit of brownness, eaten open faced.

Mushroom salad -- like egg salad for non egg eaters. Chop up onion (red or white, your choice), celery, fresh parsley (I like flatleaf), and some garlic. Dice mushroom varieties of your choice (I do a mix of basic buttons and crimini) and add, along with some sesame seeds or sesame oil for a dash of extra flavor (I also put in a dash of Bragg's Aminos) and then add mayo to bind it together, just as much as you'd like. This is really good with Jack cheese, but that's optional. It's best served on something hearty, a multigrain bread or a good flatbread, maybe an English muffin.
posted by Dreama at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

dr. praeger's makes delicious veggie burgers with edamame, not to mention potato, sweet potato, broccoli, or spinach pancakes. those work well on their own, or doctor them up with avocado, soy bacon, and roasted red onion slices.

one simple pleasure, though not quite filling enough for lunch perhaps, is a sandwich of crusty bread, pesto mayo and fresh sliced tomatoes.
posted by evalenza at 7:21 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!
Doctor Suarez, I am a big fan of the Chocolate Elvis (though I never thought of calling it that!)--it's even better if you make it in a sandwich maker or just grill it in a pan. Fantastic!
posted by exceptinsects at 11:44 PM on March 16, 2008

Best answer: I once ate a Rainbow Pak-oda:

1. Take four slices of wholemeal.
2. Spread alternate layers of Tamarind, Red Chilli and Green chutneys.
3. Add ricotta / crumbled paneer.
4. Slice.
5. Deep fry in mustard oil after dipping in a chickpea-cornflour-water batter.

I often skip the cheese and deep-fry.
Keeps well and ridiculously quick to make once you have the chutneys at hand.
posted by Taksi Putra at 12:51 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A super crisp white bread roll, halved. Remove some of the bread from the inside. Fill with warm refried beans, minced chipotles en adobo, avocado, red onion and cilantro. Cheese and sour cream optional. For a picnic, line the insides with crisp, dry iceberg lettuce first.

Soft brown bread with the crusts removed, well buttered. Add crumbled bleu cheese, chopped walnuts, arugula and a little mayo mixed with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Cut into fingers.

Italian focaccia, split, filled with warm roasted pumpkin, pine nuts, feta, fresh mint and olive oil.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:19 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: shaved radish, soft cheese such as fromage d'affinois, fresh basil, honey, salt and pepper. on crusty bread, grilled so it gets melty.
posted by pieliza at 12:32 PM on March 18, 2008

anthropoid: "Hopefully wraps count somehow as sandwiches, because this one's pretty tasty..."

Another delicious addition to wraps is grated carrots. I had a sublime yogurt "cream cheese"*, grated carrot, and sliced tofurky sandwich. When I ran out of tofurky I just had the cream cheese with shredded carrots and a bit of garlic powder and it was super.

Recipe: fold over a cheesecloth; fill with 1/2 container of plain yogurt (ideally containing nothing but milk; mine had pectin in it but sorta came out okay) pull corners of the cloth together and let the "bag" hang until most of the water is drained out. You now have something that tastes like a tangier version of cream cheese
posted by Deathalicious at 8:45 PM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

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