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Today: A hearty vegan sandwich for those days when you can't even look at kale.
Quinoa. Chickpeas. Kale salad. These vegan staples are swell and all, but sometimes what you’re really craving is a hearty, toasty, and satisfying sandwich. Luckily, it’s very easy to prepare a vegan sandwich that’ll taste incredible and fill you up fast, all with very little fuss.
More: Meet sandwich's bold, one-slice cousin: the tartine.
As with most recipes, vegan sandwiches simply demand that you consider a new set of centerpieces. You can and should feel free to use your imagination, but here are some of my favorites:
- Tempeh and tofu. These are the most straightforward alternatives to meat or poultry in most sandwiches. Both absorb flavor well, so it’s wise to give them a good marinade before cooking. I like to bake tofu and tempeh before using them in sandwiches, since it creates a sturdy texture.
- Hummus. Hummus is practically a vegan food group already, but it’s particularly good in sandwiches. I like to use it in place of mayonnaise, or in roast vegetable paninis.
- Avocado. Avocado is another good ingredient to consider where you might otherwise use mayo; it’s got the same creamy mouthfeel and fattiness, but it also adds texture (and it’s mighty filling).
- Cashew cheese. I use cashew cheese wherever I might have used goat cheese, ricotta, or feta in non-vegan sandwiches of yore. I especially love it in the springtime, spread atop some crusty bread, dusted with freshly chopped herbs, and topped with some sprouts or cucumber slices.
- Grilled vegetables. I love to layer grilled or roasted vegetables -- like portobellos and eggplant -- with hummus and fresh basil leaves in the summer, or to pair roasted sweet potato slices and cashew cheese in the winter.
- Tahini (and other nut butters). You may be used to putting tahini only into your hummus (or your favorite tahini dressing), but it makes a really fantastic sandwich component. Try spreading it on top of roasted vegetables or drizzling it over fresh ones. Meanwhile, peanut and almond butter are perfect for sweeter breakfast sandwiches (like a good ‘ole peanut butter and banana).
The following sandwich is about as classic a vegan lunchtime creation as it gets. Smoky, salty, marinated, and baked tempeh meets hummus with a kick (thanks to smoked paprika). A sprinkle of pea shoots (or any other crunchy green) provides a perfectly fresh contrast to this hearty, filling meal.
Smoky Tempeh and Hummus Sandwiches
8 ounces tempeh
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 slices of crusty, whole grain bread
1/4 cup hummus (see recipe below), or as much as you like
1 cup pea shoots
Hummus with Smoked Paprika
1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
Water, as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Photos by James Ransom