Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Vegetarian Sandwiches- Interesting & Satisfying Sandwiches without Meat

I first became interested in veggie sandwiches in 2011.  I was not eating meat at the time due to some heel pain that seemed to be linked to consumption of animal protein.  Yes, I know it sounds crazy.  Anyhoo.  I had potato, egg, and cheese soft tacos on most days that I taught at community college.  Twice a week for an entire semester equals a lot of breakfast tacos.  On class days, I didn’t really have time to heat a lunch, and needed something I could eat at my desk while grading papers.  I set out to brainstorm and research vegetarian sandwiches.  I came up with a nice collection of options for meatless sandwiches. 

So, in this post I’ll share the sandwiches I have tried so far.  Some are savory, and some are sweet.  The sautéed greens and brie sandwich is a new favorite.  Tomato sandwich and pimento cheese sandwich are favorites of mine among the classics.  The portabella sandwich is pretty fabulous.  Banana sandwich with pineapple cream cheese spread is a new favorite.  Read on and enjoy.  I have personal photos of all the sandwiches described below. 

 Photo image of Sautéed Greens & Brie Sandwich

Sautéed Greens & Brie Sandwich:  This is an excellent sandwich.  I used baby greens from Costco, a blend of spinach, kale, and chard.  I sautéed the greens in coconut oil, as well as my mushrooms and onions.  Place your wilted greens on one side of a baguette.  Top with sautéed mushrooms and onions.  Finish your sandwich with brie cheese. 

Roasted Beet Sandwich

Roasted Beet Sandwich:  Start building your sandwich with a thick, dense bread.  Use your preference of marinated vs plain sliced beets.  Sprinkle beet slices liberally with cheese, such as feta or gorgonzola.  Finish off your sandwich with a few veggies, such as sliced mushrooms and spinach leaves. 

Pesto Tea Sandwiches

Pesto Tea Sandwiches:  I think this sandwich is beautiful.  The original recipe has instructions for basil pesto, roasted red pepper pesto, and Kalamata tapenade.  I had jarred basil pesto and sun-dried tomato pesto, and olive tapenade, so that’s what I used.  If you want a strictly vegetarian sandwich however, you will need to make your own tapenade so that you can leave out the anchovy filet. 

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich

Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich:  I used leftover Eggplant Parmesan from Zio’s for my sandwich.  It was a large, thick round of eggplant, which was battered, fried, and topped with marinara sauce and cheese.  I placed my eggplant on a piece of garlic toast. 

Photo image of Spaghetti Sandwich

Spaghetti Sandwich:  I made my sandwich with my favorite vermicelli pasta tossed with my favorite sauce, which is Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro Arrabbiata Sauce.  I put my spaghetti in a baguette, which I slightly hollowed out.  I topped it with Italian blend cheese.  I slathered some sun-dried tomato pesto on the other side of bread. 

Mock Tuna Salad

Mock Tuna Salad:  A few years ago I researched mock tuna salad recipes on YouTube.  My favorite was made with walnuts.  It had mayo, sweet pickle, and red onion, which is similar to what I usually do.  It also had a little cumin, which I really liked.  I think I liked this one because the flavor profile is similar to what I ordinarily do, which is probably key for mock tuna salad.  Soak the walnuts for a few hours.  Drain and chop in the food processor.  Mix in pickles, onions, mayo, and cumin, or whatever you ordinarily put in tuna salad.  An alternative mock tuna used canned chickpeas.  I liked it pretty good, but the peas were a little firm.  I prefer to cook dried peas until soft. 

Photo Image of Greek Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Greek Chickpea Salad Sandwich:  I found this recipe on  It was for 4-6 servings.  I cut the recipe down for 2-4 servings.  I mashed 1 cup cooked chickpeas and stirred in a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter.  (The recipe called for tahini, which I am tired of buying for a couple tablespoons, a couple times a year, so I just decided to go with peanut butter, which I actually use often.)  I added about 2 tbsp diced cucumber, 1 tbsp quartered Kalamata olives, 2 tbsp diced red onion, 1 tbsp diced roasted red pepper, and ¼ cup diced artichoke hearts.  I used 1 large garlic clove, minced, and 1 tbsp lemon juice.  The recipe also called for fresh dill, but I didn’t have any.  You can add salt and pepper to taste.  I piled my chickpea salad on a baguette bun, and added lettuce and tomato. 

Fried Egg Sandwich

Fried Egg Sandwich:  I consider an egg sandwich to be a classic.  One of those universally accepted sandwiches that meat eaters don’t even think of as “vegetarian”.  I like to fry my egg on one side for a few minutes, then burst the yolk with the spatula, and spread the yellow over as much of the egg as possible.  Then after another minute or two, turn the egg.  Probably my favorite is egg and cheddar cheese, or egg and tomato.  I put baby spinach on my egg sandwich above. 

Double Egg with Pimento Cheese

Egg Salad, Fried Egg, and Pimento Cheese:  Prepare a simple egg salad by boiling eggs, mashing them, and mixing in mayonnaise.  Spread egg salad on one side of bread.  Top with a fried egg.  On the other side of bread, spread pimento cheese.  I make a very mild flavored “pimento” cheese with 4 oz each shredded mozzarella, and mild cheddar cheese.  I add in 1-2 oz queso fresco, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and about 2 tablespoons of roasted red peppers.  It looks just link pimento cheese, but has a milder flavor. 

Portabella Sandwich

Portabella Sandwich:  The portabella sandwich was one of my first forays into the “veggie burger”.  This was an incredibly good sandwich.  Choose large portabella mushrooms, so that the cap will cover your bun.  Scrape the gills out if desired.  I don’t mind them, but my brother definitely prefers them removed.  We grilled ours on the Foreman grill.  Spread mashed avocado on one bun.  Place mushroom cap, and fill with caramelized onions.  Top with your favorite cheese.  My portabella sandwich above has Garlic & Herb cheese, on an Oraweat sandwich thin.  It’s great on a soft onion roll too. 

Veggie Reuben Sandwich

Veggie Reuben Sandwich:  I have to admit that I don’t enjoy rye bread, so I used sourdough.  I had some leftover sauerkraut.  I added a small can of crushed pineapple to my kraut, which a friend recommend to me years ago.  I put sauerkraut on one side of the bread.  I fried up some thin potato rounds, and put them on top of the kraut.  For the other side of the bread, I mixed up some Thousand Island dressing.  I used a rounded tablespoon of mayo, about a teaspoon of sweet pickle relish, about a half teaspoon of ketchup, and about a quarter teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. 

Grilled Vegetable Wrap

Grilled Vegetable Wrap:  Grill or sauté your favorite vegetables, and wrap them in a tortilla.  I used yellow pepper, purple onion, zucchini, and tomato.  This was my version of fajitas without meat. 

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Tomato Jam

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Tomato Jam:  I found this recipe for Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Tomato Jam on CherryOnMySundae.  There are recipes for pesto and tomato jam, but I already had store-bought pesto, and home-canned tomato jam.  I used sourdough bread, and spread pesto on one piece and tomato jam on the other.  I had leftover grilled zucchini and eggplant which I placed on the pesto side.  I then topped the vegetables with roasted red peppers, which were packed with garlic in oil.  The recipe called for goat cheese.  I used feta and mozzarella.  I fried my sandwich in coconut oil. 

Meatless Muffaletta

This is a Rachael Ray sandwich.  You can find the recipe on Food Network, and in her cookbook, 2, 4, 6, 8 Great Meals for Couples or Crowds.  You will need green & black olives, giardiniera, sharp provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and Kaiser rolls or other favorite bread. 

This was a surprisingly good sandwich.  I was able to find jarred Muffuletta Salad.  It already had the olives and giardiniera vegetables.  Giardiniera is pickled vegetables, typically diced carrots, cauliflower, and peppers.  The carrots and cauliflower gave small bits of crunch to the sandwich.  I used a small baguette, because that’s what I had on hand.  I drained some Muffuletta and arranged it on the bottom bread.  I put a slice of sharp provolone cheese on top of the veggies.  I drained my artichoke hearts, sliced each quarter into three slices, and arranged them on top of the cheese.  Then I topped with another slice of cheese.  I had roasted red pepper, but just forgot to add them to my sandwich.  I pressed my sandwich on my George Foreman multi-function grill. 

Tomato Sandwich

Tomato Sandwich:  I grew up on tomato sandwiches!  They are wildly popular in the South.  Nothing better than sliced garden-grown vine ripe tomatoes with Duke’s mayonnaise.  I have to admit, I like my tomato sandwiches on plain ole white bread. 

Green Club Sandwich

Green Club Sandwich:  I found this recipe for the green club sandwich in the Weight Watchers Make & Take cookbook.  Each sandwich takes 3 slices of ultra thin bread.  I believe I used Pepperidge Farm.  Spread 2 slices of bread with a mixture of mashed avocado and chopped artichoke.  Top one slice with thin slices of Granny Smith apple.  Spread another slice of bread with hummus, and place over apples.  Place spinach leaves on second bread.  Top sandwich with other piece of avocado-spread bread. 

My Favorite Salad Sandwich

My favorite salad is made with romaine, tomatoes, sweet onion, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese.  It is dressed with Good Seasons Italian dressing made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  For this sandwich, I used a soft store-baked bun, and filled it with my favorite salad ingredients.  I brushed a little dressing on each side of the bread.  I poured a couple tablespoons of dressing in a stainless mixing bowl.  First I placed my lettuce pieces in the bowl and coated them with dressing, and placed on one side of the bun.  I put a thin slice from a large sweet onion on the other side.  I put slices of tomato, pitted Kalamata olive halves, and feta cheese in the remaining dressing, then topped the onion with this mixture.  Then I put the two halves together, and—dinner! 

Qu Frescie Panini

Qu Frescie Panini:  Okay, I made this name up.  This is like a Mexican caprese panini.  I had some cilantro, so made pesto with cilantro instead of basil.  I processed olive oil, parmesan cheese, and almonds in the food processor, just like I would with basil, but substituted cilantro.  I had some Mexican Queso Fresco cheese, so used it instead of mozzarella.  No substitutions on the tomato J

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Cheese Sandwich:  Another classic!  Who doesn’t love a great grilled cheese sandwich, right?!  This one was made with slices of American and cheddar cheese.  I often use a soft sourdough bread, and fry my sandwich in coconut oil.  I comes out with a nice little crispness. 

Photo image of Pimento Cheese Sandwich

Pimento Cheese Sandwich:  I’m usually lukewarm about pimento cheese, but a friend recently turned me on to a really mild and mellow version.  She used 8 oz shredded cheddar, 8 oz shredded mozzarella, and a few ounces of queso fresco crumbles.  Instead of pimentos, she used finely chopped roasted red peppers.  And of course, she used Dukes mayo, which makes everything good!  Add a little ground cayenne pepper or some diced jalapeno or serrano pepper for a little kick if desired. 

Poblano Cheese Sandwich

Poblano Cheese Sandwich:  I recently discovered that I really like roasted poblano peppers.  I avoided them for years thinking they were hot, but I found the heat to be negligible.  The flesh is not as thick as green bell peppers.  The flavor is similar, but much milder.  I cut my poblanos into quarters, and cooked them in the skillet.  When tender, I set them aside to cool, then removed the skin.  I chopped my roasted poblano, and combined with about equal parts of mozzarella and white cheddar cheeses.  I added a bit of queso fresco, then added enough mayo to make it spread easily. 

Cold Cheese Sandwich

Cold Cheese Sandwich:  Try layering up 3 or so different cheeses on one of your favorite breads.  I used baguette because I put some Abruzzi tomatoes on my sandwich, and wanted something that wouldn’t get soggy.  I bought a jar of these tomatoes from Pastaria 811 in Pawley’s Island, SC.  They are really delicious, but unfortunately the restaurant does not sell them on their website.  I used sharp cheddar cheese, pepper Jack, and cream cheese.  If just putting cheeses on your sandwich, I think it would do well on soft bread, like a brioche bun. 

Banana Sandwich

Banana Sandwich:  Another simple, classic sandwich.  I like to use oat nut bread, such as Brownberry.  Spread bread generously with mayo.  I prefer Duke’s.  I slice my banana lengthwise, but I had a friend who cut hers into rounds. 

Photo image of Banana Sandwich with Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread

Banana Sandwich with Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread:  This is one of my new favorite sandwiches.  A number of companies, such as Ruth’s and Duke’s make pineapple cream cheese spread with chopped pecans.  Slather spread on thin white sandwich bread or sourdough.  Add sliced banana. 

Banana Peanut Butter Wrap

Banana Peanut Butter Wrap:  Here’s a super easy one.  Spread some peanut butter on a wrap.  Add a banana and roll it up. 

Nutella Banana Panini

Nutella Banana Panini:  This was a gooey good sandwich.  Use a bread thick or dense enough to hold up.  Spread one piece of bread with hazelnut spread.  Place sliced banana on top, or spread mashed bananas on other slice of bread.  Assemble and heat on sandwich press. 

Cream Cheese and Grape Jelly Sandwich

A friend introduced me to the cream cheese and jelly sandwich in junior high school.  I highly recommend grape jelly, strawberry jam, or peach preserves.  I made the sandwich above with Welch’s Natural Concord Grape Spread.  It really does spread easily.  And when it comes to grape jelly or grape juice, Welch’s is my absolute first choice. 

Pineapple Cream Cheese Spread with Pecans

Pineapple Cream Cheese Sandwich:  I used Duke’s, a commercially prepared pineapple cream cheese spread with pecans.  Ruth’s also makes one.  You could make your own with softened cream cheese, well-drained crushed pineapple, and finely chopped pecans. 

Fig Preserves with Brie & Nutella

Fig Preserves with Brie & Nutella:  This was a tasty but extremely messy sandwich.  It was supposed to be a panini, but I was at Mom’s house, and she doesn’t have a sandwich press.  She does however have homemade fig preserves!  I had seen suggestions for brie and Nutella sandwiches, and brie and fig.  I decided to use all three in one sandwich.  I slathered my cocoa hazelnut spread on one piece of thin sandwich round bread, slathered Mom’s homemade figs on the other side.  I added my brie, and put the sandwich in a non-stick skillet.  The result was a big mess.  Lessons learned:  don’t slather, and consider using a thick absorbent bread, especially if you plan to use a sandwich press.