ask the readers #1 – vegetarian sandwiches 15

Hi friends. I was needing some inspiration for some food problem-solving this week, and I thought how nice it would be if I had access to a large group of food-loving people, maybe connected by some kind of electronic network where they could give instant feedback to my question.

Anyway, I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn from each other… so the idea is that if you have any kind of idea related to my question (especially a dish or recipe), I want you to leave it as a comment below for us to read and try.

If I get excited about any of your ideas, hopefully what I can do is try out some of the concepts/recipes and see how well they work out and maybe critique/improve the ideas for the sake of simplifying our lifestyles. If you have a blog or something that the recipe is coming from, I’ll try to recognize it and link to that resource so we can all try it out.

Ok, so here’s the issue for us to tackle:

The Issue: Vegetarian Sandwiches

Okay. So in our effort to live simpler and somewhat healthier lives, Rachel and I have been cutting back how often we eat meat in our diets. Nothing close to legit vegetarianism at the moment, but we’ve managed to make it through entire weeks on occasion without including meat on the menu whatsoever. It’s been a great way to learn about what we put in our bodies, and it’s forced us to be more creative in the way we come up with delicious and filling food without the crutch of bacon and beef and chicken shoved into every meal.

However, I’ve noticed lately that there is one area of the menu in particular that really suffers when meat is absent: SANDWICHES. I love sandwiches, and there are very few ways that my brain can think of making them without using sliced deli meats or things like chicken salad, etc. But sometimes you just want a quick meal, something simple between two slices of bread, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to come up with many ways to accomplish that sans meat.

So my challenge to you all is to come up with suggestions for some quick, cold, vegetarian sandwiches. Things like tofu and other common meat substitutes are fine, but I’d like it to be broader than that. What I really am looking for is ways to be creative with vegetables and flavors to make interesting and delicious sandwich fillings, not just take the meat out of meat and pretend it’s still there.

There you go! I’m looking forward to hopefully learning some new things from you all, and if all goes well I’ll have some new recipes and ideas to share over the next couple weeks to help us better enjoy our food and simplify our lives. Get to it, foodies!

15 thoughts on “ask the readers #1 – vegetarian sandwiches

  1. Reply Tammy Wolfe Apr 16, 2012 9:29 am

    Hi Todd, Here’s how I make a veg sandwich (Greek-style): spread hummus on one slice of bread – tzatziki sauce on the other, add sliced red onion, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, spinach leaves, sliced kalamata olives, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and douse it with some homemade Greek dressing and a sprinkle of s & p and you’re good to go. You can also add bean sprouts if you like. Be sure to have napkins nearby, you’ll need them!

    • Reply Todd Apr 16, 2012 7:51 pm

      tammy- that sounds fantastic. for some reason cucumbers and olives are among the few foods I don’t like, so I’ll have to work on my greek palate to enjoy that great sandwich.

  2. Reply Edith Apr 16, 2012 10:05 am

    I’m a pesto, mozzarella, tomato girl… ooor roasted veggies (eggplant, onion, various peppers, salt, EVOO, garlic) with melted provolone, smoked gouda, or various other melted cheese in a panini grill. Other than that, I’d LOVE to hear ideas!

    • Reply Todd Apr 16, 2012 7:52 pm

      Edith- I love all of that. do you just do slices of tomato? do you have to cook the eggplant a certain way? those cheeses sound awesome with those ingredients.

  3. Reply David Apr 16, 2012 11:06 am

    I’m with Tammy. One of my favorite veggie sandwiches involves hummus and an assortment of vegetables and sprouts. Cucumber, bell peppers, alfalfa, and optionally a bit of cheese like feta. I’m excited to hear what other people do! We’re looking to up our vegetarian dishes around here as well, and sandwiches are a great way to do it.

  4. Reply Tess Apr 16, 2012 1:17 pm

    Hey Todd, I think that a lot of people underestimate how great eggplant is! It is a really filling vegetable and it makes a great substitute for meat in sandwiches. I like to roast it in the oven with olive oil and salt in pepper and put it on a sandwich with hummus, roasted red peppers, and cheese. Mushrooms are great too, although Will probably wouldn’t agree haha.

    • Reply Todd Apr 16, 2012 7:56 pm

      Will can grow up about mushrooms. I’m iffy with eggplant, but I’m learning to like it. I’ve liked the Asian varieties better. thanks!

  5. Reply Dree Apr 16, 2012 4:14 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I looooove vegetables.

    My favorite veggie sandwiches:
    –Greek salad inside bread (the more hummus the better IMO)
    –avocado and cheese and veggies (are you eating cheese?). Cream cheese makes this divine.
    –Pickled radishes and carrots, banh mi style. Who needs meat? I like the pickled veggies with fresh veggies. Actually, I have been known to make the pickle and then eat it right out of the jar 3 days later when it’s done.
    –cilantro pesto and cheese (again, I have been known to make cilantro pesto and eat it with a spoon, sticking it in a sandwich makes me feel like it’s a meal and not a snack lol).
    –banana, nut butter, and honey!

    I’ll stop now.

    • Reply Todd Apr 16, 2012 7:58 pm

      wow Dree, thanks for all the solid ideas. I’m not a vegetarian either, but I like finding more ways to fill out my vegetarian arsenal so I’m not so reliant on meat for a good lunch. I’ll have to try some of these out!

  6. Reply Audrey Apr 17, 2012 2:19 pm

    …sorry so lengthy…I already had this in recipe format so I just copied and pasted…

    It is SO good.

    8 servings

    1 medium (2 to 3 pounds) butternut squash
    2 -3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Herbs of choice to infuse oil – ex: smashed garlic, thyme leaves, rosemary
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 loaf (14 to 16 ounces) ciabatta bread
    Baby arugula
    1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 cup ricotta cheese, preferably fresh (homemade is recommended)
    Quick pickled onions and pickles (recipe below)

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have at hand a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold the sliced squash in a single layer.

    Peel the squash and cut it in half from top to bottom. Remove and discard the seeds, then cut each squash half into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices in a large bowl; add the infused oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss to evenly coat.

    Arrange the squash on the baking sheet; roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until it becomes caramelized and soft. Let the squash cool. Leave the oven on.

    Cut the ciabatta loaf in half horizontally. Place the bread cut sides up on a baking sheet; toast in the (425-degree) oven for about 2 minutes, until crisp and light golden brown on the outside but still soft in the middle.

    When the squash has cooled, spread the cut side of one half of the bread with the ricotta. Layer the squash slices over the bottom half of the loaf, then the pickled apples, then the arugula. Cover with the top of the ciabatta loaf. Cut crosswise into 8 equal-size sandwiches and serve.


    2 green apples
    1/2 lemon
    1 small to medium red onion, very thinly sliced
    1/4 cup chopped dill
    1 teaspoon salt
    About 1/3 cup sugar
    1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
    4 fresh bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

    Quarter the apples then cut away core and thinly slice. Add them to a medium bowl, douse them with a little lemon juice and add the onions and dill.

    In a small pot over medium heat add the vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and sugar. Stir and heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour evenly over the apples and let stand 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

    • Reply Todd Apr 17, 2012 8:25 pm

      Audrey- those look great! Definitely outside the box when it comes to my menu, so I’m really glad you suggested them.

      • Reply Audrey Genova Apr 17, 2012 9:03 pm

        Definately try it…especially with the homemade ricotta. It appears complicated but it is not. Do the squash, ricotta and pickled apples ahead of time and then simply throw together. We crave this sandwich.

  7. Reply Scott @ The Healthy Eating Guide Apr 17, 2012 3:48 pm

    Here’s my basic go-to veggie burger recipe…you can serve them hot or cold:

    Smash up some cooked garbanzo beans
    Add some diced onion
    Add fresh thyme, parsley, and oregano,
    Add cumin and coriander
    Saute in non-stick pan or bake in oven

    I usually make a big ‘ole batch and eat these burgers throughout the week.

    • Reply Todd Apr 17, 2012 8:30 pm

      Thanks Scott! That looks like a great recipe– a lighter version than some of the black bean stuff I’ve taken a shot at before. I’m interested to try it cold.

  8. Reply Sarah O. Aug 21, 2012 7:57 pm

    My favorite sandwich is a grilled cheese with some sort of fruit inside. My current favorite is peaches and swiss, but I’ve also tried apples with sharp cheddar, and pears and havarti. Amazing.

    I also never underestimate the value of a good egg salad, with a little mustard and a lot of sweet pickles.

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