With the increasing popularity of plant-based eating, there’s no reason why our sandwiches can’t be more plant-based too. This post will walk you through how to build the most epic vegetarian sandwich that’s high in protein, nutrition and that satisfaction-factor we need to feel healthy and fuelled.
Building Your Vegetarian Sandwich
Sandwiches are one of the easiest lunch meals out there. To be honest, I don’t think sandwiches get enough cred. They take all of like, 10 minutes to throw together! And if we make them right (or just put a little thought into it) they can be a super satisfying, super nutritious way to fuel up mid-day.
There are a few keys to creating an epic, satisfying sandwich that will keep you feeling full and energized all afternoon. I know that more and more of us are trying to eat more plants and less animal products – myself included – and I’ve gotten pretty good at building delicious, protein-packed meatless sandwiches loaded up with fibre, nutrients, and flavour.
The keys to a satisfying meal come down to a few elements. Both protein and fat are slow(er) to digest, and because it takes our bodies a longer amount of time to break them down we end up feeling fuller longer. The same goes for fibre – higher fibre foods take more time to break down than lower fibre ones. This is one reason why higher fibre, whole grain carbohydrate sources are so highly recommended. Fibre is also great for other reasons, like gut health and cholesterol reduction. Besides whole grains, fibre is also abundant in many fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Notice anything here? More plant foods often = more fibre.
Also important in a satisfying meal – enjoyment. You’ve gotta eat foods you actually like to gain that feeling of satisfaction after a meal. Please don’t forget that.
So, to build an epic, satisfying sandwich I always try to make sure it contains protein, fat, and fibre. I’m also sure to add flavours and textures that I’m in the mood for, and we’ll talk about that in a little bit. In order to build the vegetarian sandwich of your dreams, I’ve broken the process down into four steps. If you haven’t noticed, I take my sandwich-creation pretty seriously. Let’s walk through the steps:
Well this one was obvious. You can’t have a sandwich without the bread, right? When it comes to choosing the bread to host all of our vegetarian sandwich toppings, I tend to lead towards something made with whole grains. Yes, I choose whole grains because it’s recommended that at least 50% of our grain intake be whole grains. More importantly, I like that whole grain breads also provide more protein than our white bread varieties. And when building a satisfying meatless sandwich, protein sources are key!
Try: Whole Wheat Sourdough or Sprouted Grain Bread – my faves!
The veggies on our sandwich will provide us with fibre and an abundance of important micronutrients. What vegetables can also give us are texture (like crunch) and flavour. This is where you can get really creative, try out new veggies or different combinations, and load them on! I like to always add a dark green leafy vegetable like romaine lettuce or spinach. Then get creative! Maybe you’re feeling traditional and pile on cucumbers and tomato slices. Or maybe one day you’re feeling a little more vibrant and go for shredded carrots and sliced radishes! The more combinations you try, the more you’ll be able to learn what you like and what pairs well together.
The fun part! A sandwich is pretty dang boring without a little somethin’ somethin’ on the bread. You could always take the traditional mustard and mayonnaise route, or you could try something a little more new and exciting – like hummus! It’s another good source of fibre and plant-based protein. Plus, the varieties are pretty much endless – from roasted garlic to cilantro & edamame – so hummus is a great way to pack flavour and nutrition onto your veggie sammie.
You could also try adding pesto, which tends to be olive oil-based and therefore a great source of healthy fats. I’m also a big cream cheese fan, and again these days there are so many flavour varieties than just plain. Herb and garlic, anyone? Finally, there’s always your fun mustards, a.k.a. Dijon, spicy brown, or honey mustard!
PS – don’t be afraid to add more than one spread to your sandwich! I love to add both hummus and cream cheese or cream cheese and pesto. Yum!
Lastly, your extras are the other things we can add to our vegetarian sandwiches to make them that much more epic. Think cheese, micro greens and sprouts, or even just salt and pepper. A little bit can go a long way when it comes to adding flavour!
Now our extras don’t necessarily have to be on our sandwiches either. Anyone else love a dill pickle on the side? Or a handful of potato chips? Maybe a nice, ripe piece of fruit! Your extras can really round out the meal and provide the “cherry on top”!
Who’s ready to go build an epic vegetarian sandwich? I totally am. Next time you build yourself an epic vegetarian sammie, snap a pic and tag me letting me know that you’ve used my tips!