Unsung Heros (and Hoagies, Tortas, Wraps, et al.)

Do I really need recipes for putting stuff between bread? What could be more simple, more intuitive than building a sandwich? At least that’s what I thought, ever skeptical, until that fateful day when Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes‘s latest collaboration, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, was crammed into my undersized mailbox. It’s okay to admit if you too underestimated the power of a properly constructed sandwich, as long as you proceed with an open mind. Besides, there’s so much more to it than just grilled “cheese” and veggie burgers- Wraps, rolls, open-faced sandwiches, hot and cold options, and even desserts are included. True, a few liberties may have been taken with the sandwich concept, but I’m ruling this one a fair play because it’s all worth exploring.

Starting at the beginning meant flipping to the final chapter first, where all the breads, “meats,” and other interchangeable additions are filed away. Seeking a loaf that could set my sandwich journey off on the right foot, “The Building Blocks” of chapter 8 is precisely the spot I landed before exploring any other tempting pages. Bread is arguably the most important part of a sandwich, creating is a solid foundation to build upon, imparting complimentary flavors, and still allowing the filling to take center stage when its solo must be sung. Knowing Celine’s talent for taming the wild yeast, I would expect no less than homemade options more exciting than your standard white bread, and she did not disappoint.

After purchasing an overwhelming volume of leafy greens yet again, the Green Monster Bread (page 178) was a god-send for dispatching a good portion of my arugula. In fact, I went ahead and doubled the amount called for, with excellent results. Living up to its name, the loaf rose to incredible heights in the oven, and each slice yielded a cheerful light green, fluffy crumb. A subtle hint of garlic is what really sets it apart- Though you may not be able to pick out exactly what that faint flavor is, it’s easy to taste that there’s something extra going on in there beyond the standard flour and water, making for a very tasty mystery.

Clamoring to utilize my lovely green loaf right away, I landed on the super simple Deviled (Not) Egg Salad Sandwiches (page 57) largely out of laziness. Already stocked with the necessary ingredients, it was only a matter of mixing and mashing before I had my first fully loaded lunchtime tower. Unlike any other faux-egg recipe I’ve ever known, liquid smoke adds an additional savory element. While highly enjoyable, this made me think more of a smoked fish salad, or an entirely new culinary creation. Happily, it doesn’t matter what you call it, as it should be a hit with any crowd. Smartly smashing the chickpeas means that they retain a nice bite, but won’t roll out like a handful of marbles between bread. Even outside of its sandwich assembly, it was a very enjoyable, eggless option.

Caesar salad has long been a rare “treat” for me, consisting of crunchy croutons, rich, creamy dressing, and some token lettuce just to fill the bowl. Well, the Tempeh and Arugula Caesar Wrap (page 68) has taken that filler salad and turned it into a well-balanced and highly satisfying portable meal. Rather than greasy croutons, toasted sunflower seeds provide the crunch in this combination, with simple marinated tempeh strips adding in a much needed punch of protein. Remarkably bold, tangy dressing ties the whole tortilla-encased filling together. This recipe will undoubtedly work its way into many future meals.

Ending with something sweet was in order, and the promise of Mango Butter and Ginger Whoopie Pies (page 167) proved irresistible. Despite concentrating the mango puree into a smooth, sweet paste, ginger completely out-shined any fruity flavors. Fail to mention the mango component, and even eaters with fine-tuned palates would never guess. Sparkling brightly with gingery spice, that didn’t stop me from savoring those fluffy, cakey cookies one bit. Melt-in-your-mouth tender once fully stacked, the creme was aggressively sweet by itself, but sufficiently tempered by the cookies’ bite. Something tells me that this recipe will be worthy of a second visit, perhaps in cupcake format instead.

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on all that Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day has to offer, but I’d like you to have the opportunity to taste test as well. Are you up to the challenge? Let me know about your current favorite sandwich in the comment section, and one randomly chosen winner will walk away with a shiny new copy of this cookbook to enjoy. You may even find a new combination that steals your sandwich-loving heart! Be sure to include your name and a valid email address in the appropriate boxes before Saturday, September 29th, at Midnight EST. This post will be updated with the winner shortly thereafter.

UPDATE: As chosen by everyone’s favorite random number generator, the winner is…

The owner of comment #39! That means the book goes to… Richa! Congrats, and check your email for further details!

61 thoughts on “Unsung Heros (and Hoagies, Tortas, Wraps, et al.)

  1. I enjoyed your post on the Bridge Tofu company the other day..my current favorite sandwich is really any ole kind of bread with made into a sandwich with the Bridge’s tofu salad..my one year old little vegan baby can’t get enough of it! And neither can her mom and dad ;)

  2. I love sandwiches! I’ve been excited about this book ever since I first heard about it. I’m currently really into a bagel sandwich, with tofu (breaded and lightly cooked up in a skillet), vegenaise, Yves “ham”, and slice of vegan cheese. I know they’re not the best for me, so I eat them sparingly! :)

  3. It’s a toss up — I love a good TLT(+avocado), but lately I’ve been eating an open-faced sandwich of sorts: toast with a thin layer of dijon mustard, topped with avocado that’s been lightly mashed with lemon and salt. Such a delicious snack.

  4. I love the glorious panini. I wait all year for the over flow of eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes from my home garden. With all the fresh herbs to choose from no sandwich is ever the like the last.

  5. My current favorite sandwich is: fresh-baked-ish pita bread spread with cilantro hummus and stuffed with greens (like spinach), tomato and avocado slices, and a few spicy pickled green beans.

  6. Whole Foods just started (in my local store anyway) faux chix salad and omg that in a sammie is crazy good. Adding a few kale leaves makes it even better.

  7. I love BLTs – baked smokey tofu using Bryanna Clark Grogan’s tofu “bacon” recipe is amazing. Would love to check out this sandwich book!

  8. I love how bright that green monster bread looks! I’d love to eat a sandwich on it. Such a fun collab between Celine and Tamasin–can’t wait to check it out!

  9. I didn’t think I needed a sandwich book until I read your review; now I’m convinced I do. This may sound odd, but I love to roll up salad greens (a lot of salad greens), fried tofu, pumpkin seeds and sriracha in a sheet of toasted nori, and call it lunch. :)

  10. Well you can certainly argue if you need a recipe for a sandwich, that is totally true and most of the times you really don’t but I like to just read it for inspiration. One of my favorite sandwiches has got to be the club sandwich… In all it’s forms and glory….

  11. There’s a vegan sandwich at a nearby cafe that usually has paper-thin slices of mango tucked in among the usual avocado, roasted red pepper, hummus, vegan pesto, and other veggies piled high. All on house-made bread. I crave it.

  12. My go-to fave sandwiches are either a tempeh reuben or a TLT, but lately I’ve been really into using my panini press. Grilled eggplant, zucchini, onion, and some vegan cheese and pesto – so good!

  13. That bread looks fantastic and this cookbook sounds great – thanks for the giveaway! My favorite sandwich is a hummus/cucumber/roasted red pepper/onion/tomato/sprout combo.

  14. Here is what I would like my favourite sandwich to be, except I can’t make it because the peanut butter with flaxseeds that I bought from Trader Joe’s has been recalled for salmonella (please, please say that’s not why I’ve had a splitting headache for four days!):

    I would like to spread two pieces of grainy bread with peanut butter, a little maple syrup, and some crushed peanut butter puffins, and then grill it. Yep.

  15. Dear Hannah, This is my first time here, and everything I see looks delicious! I love the whoopie pies especially. This sounds like a wonderful cookbook. Blessings, Catherine

  16. Green bread looks amazing, as does everything else. Made me want the cookbook even more than I already did. It’s been on my Christmas list since release!! Current fave sammie is a quesadilla with refried beans, vegan mozzarella, tomatoes + green onion:)

  17. Your pictures ALWAYS look so amazingly beautiful and yummy! My current favorite sandwich is grilled PB and banana! :)

  18. Wow, those sandwiches all look fantastic! And your photos are gorgeous as well:) One of my favorite sandwich combinations is hummus, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and spinach.

  19. The TLT is so simple, but it will always be my favorite sandwich. The best version I have ever had was at Harrison St. Cafe in Richmond, VA. I don’t know what sort of witchcraft it takes to make their perfect tempeh.

  20. I love sandwiches and post them often! I know they are simple but truly, my favorite meals are a combination of soup, salad and sandwiches. Right now I am loving my grilled vegetable sandwich with baked lemon tofu. So yummy and a great way to take advangtage of the last of summer produce: zucchini, eggplant, & tomatoes.

  21. One of my favs is a panini made from tempeh bacon, peanut butter, and pink lady apples on any kind of bread. So good!!!

  22. The best vegan hot dog sandwich I ever ate was served at Hal & Al’s in Columbus–it was a tempura battered tofurky dog with kimchi and gochuchang sauce. They don’t serve it anymore but it’s still my favorite sandwich.

  23. I need to make that Green Bread! Aren’t Celine & Tami the best? I am a HUGE fan of chickpea “tuna” style salads, but that deviled “egg” version looks amazing. I already have the book (yeay!!) but would love to gift one to my sister, who would really enjoy the recipes as well! Thanks for another great giveaway, Hannah!

  24. The comments on this post are great! I love a good fried eggplant sandwich with garden fresh tomato, sprouts and tofu-cashew mayo.

  25. I love how they give recipes for bread to use in the sandwiches! I’ve got to get my hands on this book!

    My favorite sandwich would have to be the Reuben, hands down. :-)

  26. My latest sandwich/wrap obsession consists of a soy/tariyaki sauce marinated tofu, a healthy slather of hummus, spinach, tomato, roasted bell pepper, sprouts, and a sprinkle of pepper. Holy mother of Lord Sandwich, so good!

  27. My favorite sandwich would be a tempeh reuben, but that caesar wrap sounds excellent! The more I hear of this book, the more I feel the need to pick a copy.

  28. my husband will go gaga over all the sandwiches! i love love that green bread! it is incredibly pretty! i have a soft spot for gorgeous well risen and well formedbread! swoon:)
    Please luck be in my favor for this book:)

  29. There are too many sandwiches in this book that I want to try! The Almighty BLT, Jamaican Dip, Torta de Tofu, Sushi Soy Wraps, and many more!

    My favorite sandwich that I make is a good ‘ole TLT. I would love to see how my tempeh bacon recipe compares to Celine and Tamasin’s recipe!

  30. It sucks to live on the other side of the world! I think I will have to import this book as anything that gives me “sandwiches” from go to whoa is on my wishlist! I think that its the binder that gives sandwiches their edge. From heavenly pestos through to vegan aiioli, scrumptious garlic mayo, all variations of sweet, savoury, heady scented heaven are right up my alley. There is nothing like a fully loaded sanger (Aussie slang for sandwich but it comes off sounding vaguely obscene!) with its portability and its mix of textures, flavours and sheer “fill me up” capacity to make it true on the move food. I love the sound of this book. I must seek it out! Cheers for a good review that left us all wanting to race out and buy this book…no WONDER they get you to review them! Job well done Hannah :)

  31. The green monster bread is a great idea for those times when my husband or I have been too ambitious in our greens shopping– seem like it’s usually a bunch of swiss chard that’s threatening to wilt away in the fridge. The tempeh and arugula caesar wrap looks like the one I’d try, a more sophisticated cousin to a vegan sandwich that I like, the good old TLT (tempeh-lettuce-tomato).

  32. I would love to win this book! Your photos are making my mouth water & my stomach growl. My sandwiches usually consist of the classic TLT or chickpea salad (with either a chicken or tuna taste). I really need to broaden my horizons!

  33. This book sounds right up our alley! My favorite sandwich at the moment is a smoked tofu sandwich, my take on the cubano sandwich from Blackbird Pizzeria in Philly (smoked tofu, caramelized onions, pickles, etc.). So good! Thanks for the excellent review, beautiful pictures and giveaway :)

  34. I am obsessed with wraps. I do a lot of tofu-marinating and baking on weekends and then pair it with cole slaw and lettuce all wrapped up for quick dinners after long days during the week.

  35. Currently it is an Italian sandwich with tofurkey, peppers, lettuce, veganaise, and pickles. Yum! This book looks delicious!

  36. in philly there is a ridiculous tempeh hoagie sandwich at a great place called South Philly Tap Room – it’s huge and crazy good – it’s the kind of sandwich that you fantasize about, and that keeps you from ever trying anything else on the menu! thanks so much for the review and giveaway.

  37. I am in love with that shot of the Green Monster Bread on a bed of arugala! You are so inspiring, my friend. Since I won a giveaway already, I won’t enter, but I will share my favorite sandwich lately: grilled cheese (mozzarella) with sauteed spinach, onion, and garlic, served with marinara sauce for dipping. It tastes just like a calzone. :)

  38. Any opportunity to make homemade bread!!!!!

    I just made some pumpernickel-style, orangey rye bread this week. Topped with harissa, Tofurky, Swedish Gerka (thin, homemade quick pickles), and arugula, it made a great multicultural sandwich that masked the sometimes off-flavor of the “meat”.

    Next up: multigrain rye. What sandwich can I make with that? I’d love to flip through a new book and find out!

  39. It’s time for the bread machine to come out of the cupboard. Yes! My husband absolutely loves Tempeh sandwiches and always seems to share them with his work mates who love them too!

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