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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TVP Chorizo, Refried Beans and Chickpeas of Simplicity

So Arthur is now keen on trying vegan foods I make which is great.  I talked about having ‘taco Tuesday’ and so here we are.  Well, a day later ‘cos it’s Wednesday.

I’ve been wanting to make a chorizo flavoured dish for a while but not a seitan sausage.  ‘Hearty Vegan Meals For Monster Appetites’ has a TVP Chorizo that looked perfect.  It’s so easy to make, although I did add a few drops of liquid smoke.  You just put everything in a bowl, cover and let the TVP reconstitute. I then browned it all in a frying pan because I like crispyness.

Next I wanted a refried beans recipe so I headed straight for Terry Hope Romero’s ‘Viva Vegan!’ and her recipe for  Home-Style Refried Beans.  This is something I rarely make as nobody in the fam is keen on beans apart from me.  Again, this was another simple straightforward recipe.  To me, refried beans are just refried beans and I’ve never gone “oh my gosh these are amazingly good!” but that could be because I always use kidney beans and with kidney beans, I get over them really quick.  This recipe was nice though.

My next recipe was intended for Arthur.  He’s never eaten chickpeas, apart from roasted.  For my simplicity chickpeas, I put a can of cooked chickpeas in the frying pan, added some tomato paste then some water mixed with vegan chicken style stock powder (the Massel one) and nooch and simmered it like a pasta sauce.

So those were my three taco fillings, as well as some butter lettuce, tomato and Tofutti cheese cut up in to ‘shreds’.  I had hard shell tacos and soft tacos:


I really like the TVP chorizo and I think the addition of liquid smoke was just right.  I can see myself making this again as I love the flavours.  I used the leftovers in some puff pastry:


Now for Arthur’s review.  I gave him a little taste of the chickpeas, refried beans and TVP chorizo.

Arthur: *massive show of gagging, clutching throat, choking, falling everywhere, getting back up, falling everywhere*

 You know that scene in the original Get Smart where Maxwell gets an acting gig and does the drawn out death scene?  Where he’s falling all over the place?  That’s my boy right there.

Husband was out for dinner but tried some leftover TVP Chorizo and said it was okay which means I should be able to make it again and have him like it more next time. DeeW only had a bit of plain soft taco and didn’t like it.

Okay, so Taco Tuesday was a bit of a flop… here’s to hoping that Thai Tuesday will be a hit!