Cookbook Review: Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day!

asian eggplant sandwich

Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day! by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes is a cookbook I flip through often. The recipes sound fabulous and the photos are great. I just wanna pick the crispy bits of seitan off the page!

But I have to confess I’ve done this book a great disservice. See, even though I looked through it a lot, I decided the recipes were a little in the too-hard basket because quite a few of the recipes require you make other recipes first. So I would put the book away and always mean to make something “when I have more time”.

What an error that was! After enjoying some sandwiches at True North in Coburg recently, I was determined to get this book out and make at least a handful of recipes. I’m so glad I did! I also realised that it was hardly as time consuming as I previously thought!

My first sandwich was the French Tofu Salad with Grapes. Pan fried pieces of tofu are then tossed in a kind of thick dressing with vegan mayonnaise (I didn’t have any and used a soy cream cheese instead which worked fine), onion, celery, white wine vinegar, toasted slivered almonds, chives, Dijon mustard, thyme, parsley, dried tarragon and dried herbes de Provence (which I didn’t have). Served over some baby spinach on my last piece of (toasted) fancy bread, this was fantastic. As for the grapes… I didn’t have any and wouldn’t have put them in anyway. The recipe variation notes say you can use some minced apple. I had some applesauce in the fridge so I mixed that up with the cream cheese, so it was sort of mayonnaisey in the end:

French tofu salad sandwich

I had an eggplant that needed to be used up, so I went for the Asian Eggplant Sandwich. I only made half the recipe, so I could use the eggplant for another sandwich. This sandwich is another winner. The eggplant is pan fried in some sesame oil, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. The sauce for the sandwich is made with tomato sauce (ketchup), tamari, rice vinegar, sambal oelek (I used a little chilli paste) and peanut butter. Sounds good, right?! I kept the salad part simple with undressed shredded carrot, lettuce greens and red onion (I left out the cabbage and rice vinegar). Vegan mayo on the bread, some coriander (cilantro) to garnish and then you go stuff your face. The sandwich has its lid on in the top photo up there:

asian eggplant sandwich

Some readers recommended I make the Chickpea Shawarma. This was another wow sandwich for me– chickpeas baked with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, vegan yoghurt, curry powder, onion powder and garlic. There’s a tahini based dressing and then you assemble it all with some tomatoes, greens and fresh parsley. I used toasted Turkish pide rolls:

chickpea shawarma chickpea shawarma

The Almighty BLT was up next. Truthfully, I’ve never been a fan of tofu slabs in bread. This recipe calls for tempeh bacon (that recipe must be pre-made) but I turned it in to tofu bacon instead and it worked fine. This sandwich has a spread made with vegan sour cream (or yoghurt), vegan mayonnaise, capers, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic and sundried tomatoes. I toasted the Turkish pide rolls (they taste blergh untoasted) and added the tomato, red onion and salad greens. I didn’t have any avocado but I’d definitely try to use it next time. After this sandwich, I’m happy to have tofu slabs in a burger:

tofu bacon BLT sandwich

I made the Green Monster Bread– one of those recipes in the book that you can use for a number of the sandwiches, but I handed off to that too-hard basket. But there’s nothing hard about baking simple breads! This bread is made green by blitzing up some leafy greens (aragula or spinach in the book) along with other wet ingredients. Instead of a loaf I made rolls. Arthur loved it, I found it a little too sweet for a savoury kind of bread so next time I’d cut the 2Tbs of sugar down:

green monster bread

green monster bread

With my leftover raw eggplant, I made the Marinated Eggplant Sandwiches. I made the eggplant a little differently to the recipe, which calls for the eggplant to be prepared with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Cajun spice mix, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. I marinated the eggplant in all that and pan fried it, which is different to the recipe, but I think it still turned out fine. The tofu is marinated with white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder and garlic. I don’t have white balsamic vinegar and used the ‘regular’ dark kind, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. It turned out a little regular-balsamicy but still fine enough. I used one of the Green Monster Bread rolls spread with a little vegan mayo and salad greens:

marinated eggplant sandwich

I am so, so glad I decided to give this book a chance. Really, there’s nothing all that time consuming about the recipes I prepared. Make your tofu or eggplant or whatever then you have stuff in the fridge to use for your sandwiches. So for a little prep work, you have a few day’s worth of sandwiches readily available. You can see more examples of other sandwiches over at Where’s The Beef?

I did plan on making one or two of the seitan recipes but will get to that in the future. I also planned on making one of the many great looking sweet recipes but seeing as we’re still a little loaded up with Halloween treats, I want to avoid making any additional sweet treats for a long, long time  😉

So, to sum it all up, I love this book. It’s helped me rediscover a love of fancy sandwiches. Previously I’d just slap something mega boring together for a mega boring sandwich. But with some extra effort now, I can have mega fab sandwiches in a jiffy. And I’ll definitely be making the Green Monster Bread again!

Do you have Vegan Sandwiches Make The Day? Is it on your wish list?

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26 thoughts on “Cookbook Review: Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day!

  1. You make me feel like I should dig out my vegan substitutes book by the same authors (Well steen at least) which I have neglected for the same reason. I love a really good sandwich and am all for tofu in a sandwich if done well – in fact I have been known to throw in tofu bacon chips but not enough – in fact now I think that would make a great facon buttie! Love the rolls and wish I made fancy sandwiches more often – actually I wish I had nice bread for sandwiches more often!

  2. I don’t have this book, I had thought- why would I need an entire cookbook on sandwiches? But your review has completely 180’d my opinion. I’m definitely going to hunt it out and make all of these. Your green rolls look like they turned out perfect!

  3. That chickpea shawarma has been on my to make list ever since I got the book. I need to buy some chickpeas and finally give it a try! Your sandwiches all look amazing.

    • thanks! The shawarma is really easy to make, you could probably skip the oven baking bit and mix up the chickpeas and dressing in a bowl for a quicker sandwich 🙂

  4. Oh, it’s great to see home experiences with more of this book – you’ve chosen recipes that I’d potentially overlook and should really give a go. In particular I need to step up and make that monster bread. 🙂

  5. I know what you mean about recipes that seem too hard. I do a lot of my cookbooks a disservice for the same reason, which is sad, because most of the recipes probably aren’t hard at all. These sandwiches look so amazing and I’m glad you did push through the ‘hard’ barrier (especially as they weren’t difficult!). They belong in an up market vegan cafe 🙂

  6. These look so delish and I’m definitely going to try making green bread! i had a roll today which had eggplant, pumpkin, pear and greens in it, surprisingly good.

  7. These sandwiches look delicious. I’d definitely happily wolf down any of the ones you’ve posted. I’m inspired to put a bit more effort into lunches now… Perhaps I’ll dig out a neglected cookbook and have a go at some new recipes.

    • thanks! I have so many cookbooks I bought when I went vegan that I rarely use, because the newer books coming out have more pictures and I love my recipe pictures.

  8. I love this book! I’ve made a lot of great things from it … some of the ones you’ve made and some others. I really love the Green Monster Bread a lot. The Tempeh Caesar Wraps are totally delicious!!!

    • they were sooo good, every now and then I get sick of bread and don’t eat it for ages but then I have a fancy sandwich and all I wanted is more fancy sandwiches!