Chow Bella

Build a Meatless Sandwich

What comes to mind first when you think of making a sandwich? A basic combination of meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo or mustard slapped between two pieces of bread. The April issue of Saveur magazine is filled with sandwich specials from around the world and got us thinking about some meatless favorites beyond the California classic combo of avocado, tomato and sprouts. Here are some tips and ideas for building a meatless sandwich.

Start with the bread, the framework of the sandwich. Look beyond the traditional sandwich loaf and match the style of the ingredients with the variety of bread. French baguettes and crusty ciabatta hold up well to juicy ingredients. The tang of rye and pumpernickel compliment the taste of salmon, sardines and tuna. Flatbreads and pita are great for rolling and stuffing with salad fixings.

jump for favorite meatless sandwich combos

Sandwich spreads seal and protect the integrity of the bread. Add flavor- briny, spicy, or mellow with choices beyond mayo and mustard. Olive tapenade, pesto, chutney, marinated vegetables, kimchi, and roasted red pepper spreads are available prepared in a jar and add a kick to sandwiches. Mix mayo with coarse brown mustard, chipotle, chili sauce or sriracha for some added punch.

Layer fillings for contrast in texture and taste. Mix and match some vegetables- grilled or fresh and crisp, eggs- salad style or fried, sprouts, cheeses, chopped nuts, seasoned tempeh strips, marinated tofu, or falafel. Even seasoned beans, grains and legumes make good fillings.

Below, a few favorite combinations to get your sandwich style going.

1. Seasoned tempeh strips + pesto + basil leaves + sliced tomato + fresh mozzarella on toasted ciabatta.

2. Tuna tossed with 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 2 Tablespoons capers, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, and 2 Tablespoons chopped red onion + sliced fresh fennel + chopped Kalamata olives on French baguette

3. Sliced roasted eggplant and tomato + caramelized onions +Jarlsberg cheese + mayo-mustard spread on pita

4. Goat cheese + sliced apples or pears + crumbled blue cheese + drizzle of honey on cranberry walnut bread

5. Goat cheese + arugula tossed with extra virgin olive oil and cracked black pepper + olive tapanade + sliced red onion + roasted red peppers on French baguette

6. Indian dal + julienne cucumbers + shredded carrots + green onion + Greek yogurt or raita rolled in flatbread

7. Chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, parsley, and mint tossed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice + hummus + toasted pine nuts on pita

8. Nutella + chopped walnuts + sliced bananas on date nut bread

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Carol Blonder