As a chef I’ve made my share of sandwiches. My first “cooking” job was in a deli and I excelled at cutting open buns and wrapping sandwiches. I’ve made more BLT’s than you’ve eaten and I’ve grilled untold numbers of Rueben’s, grilled cheeses, and turkey sandwiches. As I became vegan, I started bemoaning the loss of tasty sandwich treats until I stumbled upon a grand concept: make the best vegan sandwiches possible and eat them! Then share them here with you.
I set out at the beginning of this summer to do just that. I would make several sandwiches that I could share with you in celebration of National Sandwich Month. And while I’ve yet to get fancy with the vegan mayo, it’s only a matter of addition. I can add chipotle powder to the basic recipe, sprinkle in some smoked salt, or I could put in a pinch of the jalapeno powder I use sparingly in my food. Sandwiches, they say, are all about the way they are dressed. I firmly believe they are all about the bread – and the quality of ingredients between the bread.
I’ve concocted the A-B-L-T, an avocado, (tempeh) bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. You can add cheese if you want, but the avocado provides the creaminess while the lettuce provides the crunch. This sandwich goes best on some soft toasted bread.
Then there’s the standard grilled cheese: A basic sandwich using sliced vegan cheddar with grilled tomatoes. You can build on this basic sandwich and add greens (spinach is common though some chefs like to use arugula), onions, different kinds of cheeses. I’m sure some of the soft cashew spreads would make terrific grilled cheese sandwiches, although I haven’t stepped into the realm of making artisan vegan grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s an adventure that can get expensive.
Then there is my new favorite. It’s built with deli slices (from Lite Life or Tofurkey), vegan cheese slices, sliced cucumbers, mushrooms, and red onions. I use a creamy avocado spread, vegan mayo, or avocado slices with the mayo. Use a ciabatta from your local baker or sliced sourdough. Make sure to toast the bread for that crunch. I’ve yet to use chipotle mayo on this sandwich, but that’s my next step.
I recently made a really interesting and flavorful barbecue tempeh sandwich. It has grilled barbecue tempeh, pickled red onions, and some green leaf lettuce piled on ciabatta. This is a hearty sandwich that can satisfy any appetite. I serve this with a side of Summer Citrus Coleslaw.
My all-time favorite and stand by sandwich is a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich. Marinated in cilantro pesto, then grilled, sliced, and served on a soft loaf with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. This sandwich is a crowd pleaser at BBQs and pool parties.
If these sandwiches don’t get your palate salivating, then I don’t know what will. Follow the links to the sides and sauces. Have you encountered a favorite vegan sandwich? Let us know over on Instagram or Facebook. Just tag the Kitchen Shaman. Here’s some history and the story behind the sandwich.
Vegan versions of Reuben sandwiches can be found throughout the nation. Various food trucks, and some popular restaurants make scrumptious versions of this time-honored grilled sandwich.