Really good vegetarian sandwiches go beyond the basics of just some lettuce, cheese and tomato. With two key pieces of equipment you can turn almost anything into a sandwich fixing. Layer them in between two pieces of your favorite bread with some condiments, and you’re all set! My love for decadent vegetarian sandwiches began just over two years ago and it was largely motivated by a health scare. Not to mention I saved a ton of money. So, if you’re looking to do the same, stick with me and keep scrolling.
My personal journey with meatless meals started because I received a dangerously high cholesterol test. And not just once. I clearly had to find new ways to get more vegetables into my system and not rely on meat so satisfy my appetite. Also, a vegan friend had been nudging me to try vegan dishes. However, as a life-long lover of eggs and cheese I found that going vegetarian was the best I can do. I believe that eating these vegetarian sandwiches in place of a bacon, egg ‘n cheese corner-store sandwich every mornings for over a year played a crucial role in my health goals. My cholesterol lowered drastically … by 55 points! So, if you have a health issue that requires more veggies to your diet, these sandwiches are what’s missing in your life.
My vegetarian sandwiches use a combination of some staple ingredients that have become regular fixings. They are as follows:
- Sweet Potato “Cold Cuts”
- grilled zucchini
- grilled eggplant
- grilled portobello mushrooms
- thick cuts of cheese (to simulate meat)
- sliced onions
- caramelized onions
- sliced cucumbers
- roasted red peppers
- pickled jalapeño peppers
- roasted poblano pepper
- oven-dried tomato slices
- sliced avocado
- carrot matchsticks
- Sautéed Jamaican Curry Cabbage
- char-grilled pineapple slices (in the summer months)
- eggs, fried or over-easy
- dijon mustard
- honey mustard
- olive oil mayonnaise
- hot sauce
- 7-grain bread
- whole wheat pita
Missing intentionally from the list is tomatoes. I’m not a fan of how tomatoes make sandwiches soggy, so I tend to use roasted red pepper instead. I also just realized in making this post that I seldom use lettuce.
What You Need
Two key things you need to make my decadent vegetarian sandwiches is a large electric skillet and a mandolin slicer. Use the slicer to convert vegetables into horizontal slices (or matchsticks) and grill them in large batches. Do all of this prep on a Sunday night so you have everything ready for the week. Each morning, all you should be doing is assembling your meatless sandwiches, wrapping them up, then going to work. When grilling, simply brush your slices with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill each side at 350 degrees until it’s nice and caramelized.
What To Do
There’s no wrong way to make a sandwich. But there are techniques you can apply to enhance this vegetarian experience. Here are a three of mine:
- Toast the bread on only one side. The stiff, toasted crust can often cut the roof of your mouth when biting down. Nobody wants that. So, when assembling, the toasted side should be facing the interior, and your mouth meets the softer side. Use a hot stovetop surface for the toasting because it’s an easier way to toast and it gives you more control. You can quickly warm one side just so the bread softens a bit, but flip it over and really toast the other side to your liking. Also, the toasted surface helps the bread get not-so soggy when in contact condiments.
- Use hummus as a spread to keep loose items in place. In my list of fixings there are loose items such as matchstick carrots and cooked, shredded cabbage, jalapeño peppers and cucumbers. To keep them in place, simply layer them next to the hummus.
- Alternate your textures when layering your ingredients. You don’t want a mushy sandwich. So, I wouldn’t recommend putting sweet potato cold cuts next to sliced avocados, grilled eggplant, or even grilled zucchini. Instead, put something stiff and crunchy in between these items. However, these softer items are crucial in keeping things intact (similar to how the hummus does), so don’t write them off too easily. Roasted peppers tend to get slippery, as do fried eggs, so simply place something softer in between them.
So, with all this in mind, the possibilities are endless. Make your own vegetarian sandwich the way you want. For the past two years I often did quick snapshot photoshoots of of my vegetarian sandwich making in the mornings. Yeah, it made me late for work a few times, but oh well! I really wanted everyone to see what I was making in real time — without all the bells and whistles of a planned, stylized photo shoot. I’ll keep adding pics to this post, so definitely check back on occasion.
The world of cheese os so extremely vast, and if used sparingly it can act as the “meat substitute” feature in your vegetarian sandwiches. I like to put the toasted side of bread on the insides … not only so you don’t cut your mouth when taking a bite, but also because the harder surface allows for easier spreading. Plus, if you spread on the cheese when your bread is still a little warm, it will slightly melt the cheese.