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The secret to making a vegan sandwich (that actually fills you up)

Quick Take

Think sandwiches are a thing of the past now that you follow a whole food plant-based lifestyle? We've got excellent news: your favorite lunch is still on the table! And if you're worried your vegan sandwich will be plain or even a little "wimpy" without meat, we're here to help with these top tips for creating a delicious vegan sandwich, that'll actually fill you up. (Trust us: you won't miss lunch meats!)

On this page

Choosing the right bread (and beyond)

10 vegan spreads every sandwich deserves

10 vegan sauces you need in your fridge

Load up on veggies

7 vegan sandwich fillings to "bulk up" your lunch

Final tips for the ultimate vegan sandwich

Chef Caroline's favorite vegan sandwich recipes

Key Takeaways 

 

First: A Gift For You

Download the Ultimate Little Guide to Plant-Based Eating


Choosing the right bread (and beyond)

First things, first: if you're going to make a sandwich, you need bread, right?

Skip white bread and go for these whole food plant-based "bread"options instead. Here are our top picks for healthy choices for your sandwich bread:

  • Whole grain bread (avoid oil, sugar and preservatives) 
  • MamaSezz Sandwich Thins (GF, sugar and oil free)
  • Lettuce Wrap or boats (GF, cheap, easy)
  • Ezekiel bread (whole grain, natural)
  • Corn tortillas (GF, avoid oil and preservatives)
  • Grilled Portabella Mushroom Bun

10 vegan spreads every sandwich deserves

A sandwich is so much more than bread lettuce and tomato. Spreads can make or break your sandwich. They are what give veggie sandwiches the density and depth that they tend to lack without cheese (especially if you're new to plant-based eating!).

Feel free to glop both slices of bread with a large ¼ inch thick spread (or more) of these vegan sandwich spreads/


1. Creamy Green Hummus 

Click the link above for recipe!


2. Avocado Mayo:

Blend together until smooth:

1 ripe avocado (get our tips for picking the best ripe avocado)

½ teaspoon of sea salt

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Tablespoon Dijon

a dash of black pepper

a few Tablespoons of water


3. Cashew Cream Cheese

Click the link above for recipe!

4. Bean Spread

Blend or mash any bean with sea salt or your favorite spices. (Need to eat less sodium? Here are some of our favorite salt-free seasonings to try!)

5. Artichoke Dip 

Click the link above for recipe!

6. Cheesy Mac Spinach Dip

Click the link above for recipe!

7. Guacamole 

Click the link above for recipe!

8. Dijon or whole grain mustard

Sometimes you just want to go classic! Perfect time for your favorite mustard.

9. MamaSezz Vegan Sour Cream

Yes, sour cream as a spread. You can thank us later! (Click link above to order your MamaSezz Vegan Sour Cream!)

10. All Natural Peanut Butter

Here me out...peanut butter tastes really good on veggie burgers and sandwiches, no jelly needed. (Though if you're craving a PB&J, may we suggest this healthy version?)

And pro tip: choose all-natural peanut butter with no added oil, sugar, or salt! 



10 vegan sauces to keep in your fridge

If you dislike vegan sandwiches, I can assure you that you are using the wrong sauce. A sandwich should drip. I'm talking sauce running down your elbows onto the placemat drip. Vegan sauce is a LIFESTYLE and I want to help you on board.

What the heck is the difference between a sauce and a spread? For our purposes here, a spread is a thick condiment, layered between the bread and the fillings -- while the right vegan sauce it PART of the filling, drizzled on the filling, or used as a delicious dip to plunk your sandwich into. If you ask me, the sauce is way overlooked and really, the MVP of your vegan sandwich.

What kind of sauces should you be whipping up? Here are some of my favorites. (Pro tip: make these ahead of time and store in your fridge so you have them ready when your sandwich cravings strike.)

1. Avocado Pesto Sauce

Blend ingredients until smooth: 

1 ¼ cups water

2 ripe avocados

1 cup of basil

1 clove of garlic

1 lemon

2 dates 

Sea salt and pepper to taste


2. Chipotle Aioli

Blend ingredients until smooth: 

1 cup of raw, soaked cashews*

½ cup water

1 chipotle pepper (large for more heat, small for less heat)

½ lime (juice)

½ lemon (juice)

1 tablespoon of maple syrup or 2 dates 

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt, and ground black pepper to taste


3. Green Goddess Dressing

Blend ingredients until smooth: 

1/4 cup of water

3 TBSP of tahini

2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar

2 dates

1 clove of garlic

1 small pinch of sea salt

1/2 a lemon, juiced

1/2 cup of fresh parsley

1/2 cup of arugula  


4. Avocado Lemon Garlic Dressing

Blend ingredients until smooth: 

1 teaspoon tahini

1 clove of garlic

1 lemon (juice)

½ avocado

½ teaspoon of maple syrup or agave

½ cup water

Sea salt and pepper to taste


5. Creamy Tahini Dressing 

Blend ingredients until smooth: 

2 TBS white balsamic vinegar

2 TBS of water

½ a lemon

2 TBS of tahini

1 TBS Dijon

1 TBS of honey

2 cloves of garlic, minced

A few TBS of fresh parsley

A dash of sea salt and black pepper


6. Creamy Lemon Dressing

Blend ingredients until smooth: 

2 lemons, juiced

1 teaspoon of lemon rind 

1 clove of garlic

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 a cup of soaked cashews

a dash of black pepper

2 teaspoons of mustard

2 dates

1 teaspoon of parsley

water for blending  

1 Tablespoon of chia seeds*

 *Blend all ingredients except for chia seeds until creamy. Stir in the chia seeds and set aside for 10 minutes

7. Oil-Free Dressings

Did you know your salad dressing can double as a delicious sauce on your vegan sandwich? Here are 5 of our favorite (super easy!) oil-free salad dressings you can use as sauce.

No time to make your own? No worries, try some of our MamaSezz ready-made dressings and sauces for the ultimate vegan sandwich.

8. MamaSezz Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing doesn't have to be unhealthy! Our dairy-free version has the flavor and creamy texture you love, none of the cholesterol. Get yours here

9. MamaSezz Awesome Sauce 

Missing thousand island dressing? Boy have we got a treat for you. This creamy plant-based take on the classic dressing is so good our team started calling it "Awesome Sauce" -- and the name stuck! Get yours here

10. MamaSezz Pecan Balsamic Dressing

Sweet, tangy, creamy and smooth. This blend of rich balsamic, garlic, sweet dates, and aromatic spices will elevate your sandwich to "OH MY GOSH, THIS IS GOOD" territory!  



Load up on veggies

Think outside the box! I've said it before and I'll say it again: a sandwich is SO much more than lettuce and tomato. And believe it or not, the secret to a perfect vegan sandwich is often how the veggies are layered and prepared.

Hard Veggies like beets and carrots are often best shredded.

Soft but crunchy veggies like peppers and cucumbers are best slices.

Soft and delicate veggies like leafy greens, sliced tomato, and spouts are best piled in large quantities (and usually on top!).

Pro tip: Want to jazz things up: Don’t forget about pickled veggies for a little extra pizzazz.

Here are some of our favorite veggies to layer into your sandwich:

  • Shredded Red cabbage 
  • Shredded beets
  • Shredded carrots
  • Thin slices of zucchini (use a peeler!)
  • Thinly sliced or pickled red onion
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Arugula (a flavorful, spicy, green)
  • Sprouts of any kind!
  • Avocado (great on top!)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles 
  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Caramelized onions (here's how to caramelize onions without oil! It's super easy.)

 


For Extra Flavor - add herbs! 

Fresh herbs are an optional topping but can give your sandwich the flavor boost it needs to really shine. Some of our favorite sandwich topping herbs include:

-Basil 

-Parsley 

-Cilantro


7 vegan sandwich fillings to "bulk up" your lunch

When you really load up on veggies, you may not actually need a "bulk" part of your vegan sandwich to replace the meat you're used to because your sandwich will be hearty enough as is. That said, there are some amazing vegan sandwich filling recipes for when you just want that extra "bulk" - especially if you're just transitioning to a plant-based diet and are used to eating sandwich meats. 

When it comes to flavoring your sandwich filling, things like curry powder, garlic, or Tamari can be overwhelming if you dust or drizzle over an entire sandwich. Instead, use it to flavor your “bulk."When in doubt, flavor with Tamari and garlic powder. 

Here are some of our favorite ways to bulk up your vegan sandwich:

1. Lemon Avocado Chickpea Salad

The perfect vegan picnic recipe, this lemon avocado chickpea salad is a great replacement for tuna sandwich fans.

2. Roasted Mushroom Cap

Missing BLTs? Swap bacon for a roasted portobello mushroom with this vegan "BLT" recipe.

3. Cauliflower Steak

Cauliflower isn't just for buffalo "wings" - although we love those, too. You can make a hearty sandwich filling from cauliflower steak...and it's super simple to do. Here's a quick oil-free recipe for cauliflower steak.

4. Pulled Jackfruit 

Move over pulled pork, there's a new sandwich filling in town! Our recipe for pulled jackfruit sandwiches is one of our most popular recipes on the blog, and for good reason: it's darn delicious. Don't forget to use MamaSezz BBQ Sauce - it's oil-free and refined sugar-free!

5. Marinated and Roasted Tofu

Tofu is a classic and healthy "meat substite" in the vegan community and beyond. Try this quick and easy baked tofu recipe for your next veggie sandwich.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh is a great whole food "meat" substitute. It's savory and so versatile (especially with the right sauce!). You can crumble it for vegan Sloppy Joes, slice it for vegan "bacon, make vegan Reubens - the options are endless. Plus, tempeh is good for your gut health since it's made from fermented soybeans.

7. Roasted or Grilled Sliced Beets>

Don't sleep on beets! They're an amazing superfood with so many healing benefits and they can really up the ante when it comes to vegan sandwich making. Here's how to roast beets...without oil!

8. MamaSezz Veggie Burgers

When in doubt, grab a Veggie Burger! Our MamaSezz Veggie Burgers are always a customer favorite. Why? Well, they're made with whole food plant-based ingredients, are bursting with flavor, and are actually grillable! Try for yourself.

Mama's Burger


Finals tips for the ultimate vegan sandwich

  • Sprouts are a good vehicle for holding sauce. Pour sauce directly onto your pile of sprouts for a juicy, drip-to-your-elbows, flavorful mess.  
  • Tomato slices add moisture. There’s nothing worse than a dry sandwich. Make sure to add sliced tomatoes for extra moisture. I like to add at least 4 slices per sandwich 
  • Texture: Add toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted almonds, or chia seeds for added crunch.  
  • Don’t forget about open faced sandwiches!
  • Always season. Salt and pepper are classics, but oregano, lemon juice and garlic powder hit the spot too! 

    Chef Caroline's favorite vegan sandwich recipes

    My Favorite Go-To Open-Faced Comfort Sandwich:

    • 2 slices of whole-grain bread, toasted
    • Doused heavily with plant based mayo (recipe above)
    • Add 2 thick slices of tomato per piece of bread. Dust with black pepper 
    • Add 2 slices of tofu, pan fried or baked with a few splashes of tamari, per piece of toast

    My Favorite MamaSezz Inspired Reuben Sandwich:

     

    Key Takeaways

    Building a sandwich is an art. Of course, you won't be full after eating a bun,  a slice of tomato and some iceberg lettuce. Expand your horizons, and you may just find you can hardly fit all you want to between two slices of bread! 

    • When choosing a bread, avoid refined whie breads and look for whole grain options. Or skip the bread altogether and opt for oil-free tortillas, grilled portobello mushroom caps, or lettuce wraps.
    • Don't skimp on spreads and sauces!
    • Go crazy with veggies - no such thing as too many! And learn to layer well. 
    • If you're looking for "bulk," make a sandwich filling from chickpeas, tempeh, tofu, roasted beets, and more.
    • Enjoy your lunch!

    Don't forget your FREE Download: Ultimate (little) Guide to Plant-Based Eating 

    By Caroline DiNicola Fawley

    Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

     

    What you should do now

    1. We have been where you are and we’ve helped thousands of people (just like you) transition to eating a plant based diet. If you are looking for a guide that can help you with some of the big questions, and dramatically reduce your stress, this FREE Ultimate Little Guide to Plant-Based Eating is a great place to start.
    2. If you're interested in Weight Loss, Download this fantastic FREE guide Ultimate (little) Guide to weight loss
    3. If you’d like to learn about plant-based living go to our MamaSezz Blog where you can read hundreds of “How To” articles. If you’d like to learn about plant-based cooking go to our Recipes Section for easy step by step favorites.
    4. If you enjoyed this article, then so will your friends, so why not share it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Email




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