I am a lazy chef.
There is no way around that.
I want to open my refrigerator, look at what is in there, and make something out of that. I do not want to go to the store. I do not want to look at a recipe. I do not want to spend thirty minutes chopping up stuff and putting them in different mixing containers so I can put them all in the same place later.
Are vegetarians doomed to spend all their time in the kitchen in a cycle of preparing food, eating food, doing dishes after eating, and then—wouldn’t you know it—they’re hungry again by the time they finish the dishes and the whole process starts all over again?
When I first started preparing vegetarian and vegan foods, I was overwhelmed because I had to figure out how to replace my normal meals, and making vegetarian food seemed to take so much more preparation.
It took me hours to grocery shop, forever to figure out what would go together, and often I would not feel satisfied at the end of a meal. But by following a few simple guidelines, making a well-rounded vegetarian or vegan sandwiches can be a fun, fast and filling meal.
You probably have food in your refrigerator right now to make a delicious veggie sandwich.
The key to creating your own gourmet veggie concoction is to follow a basic formula. First off, try to keep some quality whole grain bread, tortillas, naan or pita bread on hand. Make a well-balanced sandwich by including something sweet, something salty, something bitter, something sour and something umami (meaty flavor).
Here are some suggestions:
Something sweet: Corn, peach, pineapple, pear, apple, honey, jam or jelly, BBQ sauce, light crispy salad greens, sweet onions, red pepper, cucumber, carrots, sprouts, most fruits
Something salty: Cheese, freshly ground sea salt, mayo, veganaise, lemon or lime juice
Something bitter: Dark leafy greens, onions, leeks, fennel, herbs, Sriracha sauce, garlic, nuts, tofu, most vegetables
Something sour: Lemon or lime juice, vinegar or vinegar-based sauce (Tabasco, Franks hot sauce, Louisiana hot sauce), mustard, tomato, raspberries, acidic fruits
Something umami: Avocado, hummus, tofu, nuts or nut butter, mushrooms, egg, baked sweet potato or regular potato
Mix together a combination of the above ingredients, using one from each category. Do not be afraid to try something random.
Enjoy your random sandwich!
Artisan Pineapple Panini: Start with fluffy, whole wheat French bread cut to preferred size. Coat one-side with crunchy organic peanut butter and coat the other side with spreadable cream cheese. Press walnuts into the cream cheese. Add Japanese mizuna greens and mint for a crunch. Squeeze lime juice on the greens. Add pineapple slices (option to grill pineapple beforehand). Press sandwich in George Foreman grill for 3 minutes. Voila! Artisan Pineapple Panini.
Avocado Delight: Cut a puffed sesame Kaiser bun in half, hamburger bun style. Coat both sides with organic sunflower butter. For filling, include avocado slices, fresh ground sea salt, honey, basil leaves, dried currant or cranberries, and a squeeze of shiquasa (or lime) juice.
The Tofoagie: Use a whole grain hoagie cut hotdog style. Coat inside with mayo. Cut a previously baked potato (chilled overnight, or still hot from the oven is fine too) into ¼’’ slices and place inside like sandwich meat. Top the potatoes with German style Dijon mustard. Lay thinly sliced sweet onion, and ¼’’ sliced Tofu on top of the mustard (this leaved the mustard in the middle of the sandwich, which is delicious). Include some cilantro for fresh flavor and a pop of color.