The 37 best vegan sandwiches to order and prepare
Today we celebrate the endlessly delicious ways ingredients can come together between two slices of bread. The big world of vegan sandwiches is huge and complex, but for the sake of simplicity, the definition of “sandwich” is narrowed down to exclude hot dogs and burgers. In no particular order, we’ve created a bucket list of epic handholds for you to buy and try at home. From savory-sweet Monte Cristos to elevated BLTs, here are the 37 best vegan sandwiches to open your jaw for.
1. Seabirds kitchenPorque Maria, Costa Mesa and Long Beach, CA.
Customers have been asking chef Stephanie Morgan for years to add this sandwich to lunch and dinner. Fortunately, this vegan rendition of a Monte Cristo is now a staple on Seabirds’ rotating brunch menu. Thin slices of hot, home-smoked tofus are foamed with cashew Gruyere cheese. The heat of the tofu gently wilts the peppery arugula as these ingredients are squeezed between two toasted slices of sourdough bread, dusted with powdered sugar and served with homemade strawberry jam.
2. Snack place The Mayhem, Portland, OR and retail locations across the country
The chaos makes the list for its accessibility. You wouldn’t think sandwiches travel well, but this vegan food truck found a way to ship its sandwiches to the people. This hot handheld is filled with plant-based ham and bacon, Follow Your Heart American cheese, garlic, onion, jalapeños, mushrooms, blue cheese, and chipotle sauce. Professional tip: It is best served warm. So put it in a panini press once you get it home.
3. The herbivorous butcher Italian Cold Cuts Sandwich, Minneapolis, MI
When a vegan restaurant is offered on the Food Network Diners, drive-ins and divesThey know it has to be good. The Minneapolis-based vegan butcher made two sandwiches for celebrity chef Guy Fieri, but he absolutely raved about the Italian sub. The meaty sandwich is stacked with vegan capicola, peppers, pastrami, mozzarella, pickled cherry peppers, red onions and mayo between a soft hoagie roll. Not in the Minneapolis area? The owner gave her recipe to the people so that you can recreate it in your eat-in kitchen.
4th Cornbread Cafe Eugenewich, Eugene, OR
Another vegan restaurant owned by Guy Fieri, Cornbread Cafe, showed off their pampering peanut butter pie for Diners, drive-ins and dives. Before you get to dessert, you must try this sandwich of the same name. Filled with Mediterranean fried tofu, vegan cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes and smoky sauce, this slightly spicy sandwich will warm you up on Eugene’s rainiest days.
5. Freesoul Caffe’s Panini Portobello, Tustin, CA.
Freesoul flies under the vegan radar, but those who know are loyal fans. It’s not entirely fair to choose just one sandwich from this Tustin Old Town restaurant – they’re all fantastic – but the Panini Portobello takes something relatively simple and does it right. The humble, pressed sandwich is made from tender, roasted portabello mushrooms. Bell peppers, artichokes, mixed greens, and thick, hearty pesto. It’s okay to lick your fingers afterwards.
6th Whole Foods Market TTLA, nationwide
Thank you Tabitha Brown for your efforts. Thanks to the social media star, the irresistible TTLA is a staple on Whole Foods’ sandwich menu. The now iconic sandwich consists of a pile of smoky tempeh bacon, generous avocado slices, juicy tomatoes, lettuce and vegan garlic aioli. If you’re looking to veganize someone, start here.
7th Knead Sweet Potato Sandwich, Burlington, VT
Before diving into the sweet section of this vegan bakery, grab a take-away sandwich. This Sammie is filled with soft sweet potatoes, avocados, oven-roasted tomatoes, microgreens, spinach and garlic-herb Dijon aioli between the real star of this sandwich – a crispy, roasted, homemade baguette.
8th. relative Fried Chicken Sandwich, New Orleans, LA
The national fried chicken sandwich craze has a vegan parallel, and Kindred is running Popeye’s big contest. The simple but perfect sandwich consists of the bare essentials – crispy seitan-based chicken, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise sandwiched between a sweet sourdough bun. It’s no frills, just a solid, finger-licking good sandwich.
9. The southern Vs Hot Chick’n Sandwich, Nashville, TN
There is a flavorful equivalent to craving for a fried chicken sandwich and that is the hot chicken sandwich. This southern place gets it right with fiery Nashville Hot Fried Chick’n, spicy-cool chipotle mayo, red onions, lettuce and tomatoes on a soft bun. But be careful: don’t touch your face while eating this sandwich – spicy sauce near your eyes isn’t cool.
10. Atlas Monroes Extra crispy chick’n sandwich, multiple locations
Instead of setting up multiple locations, this vegan company offers its typical meat and recipe products in vegan-friendly locations across the country. Customers will find the juicy, super crispy fried chicken sandwich at Honey bee burger in Los Angeles, CA; Pure Sol plant-based food in Sacramento, CA; and a few other places in Southern California.
11. Wayward Vegan Cafe The Breakfast Club, Seattle, WA
This is far from a club sandwich, but we almost prefer it that way. Think of it as a flat Monte Cristo. In the kitchen, thick French toast is used to top vegan grilled ham, egg omelette rounds, melting cheddar, and smoky tempeh bacon. The fork and knife masterpiece is dusted with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup.
12th Chef Tanya’s kitchen Modern Hippie Vegetables, Palm Springs, CA.
Despite its remote location in the scorching hot desert of Southern California, this casual eatery was named the top-rated vegan restaurant in California by Yelp. While the vegan meat game is strong, we can’t help but indulge in this vegetarian sandwich. If something is made with crack cheese, don’t ask questions, just order it.
13th Native foods cafes Chicken Run Ranch, multiple locations
This fast-casual vegan chain has gone through many menu revisions, but this crispy chicken sandwich has never been removed from offerings. This classic consists of a crispy seitan-based chicken patty, cool ranch dressing, crispy lettuce, hot red onion, and a slice of juicy tomato, all served between a soft but toasted hamburger bun. Insider tip: order this on the pretzel bun.
14th Slutty vegans PLT, multiple locations, GA
Yes, this vegan micro-chain is known for their over the top and scandalously named burgers, and because of this, this unique handle is overlooked. Instead of a hefty patty, this vegan Hawaiian bun is stacked with sweet jerk bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, and the chain’s signature slut sauce (better known as a Thousand Island-based secret sauce). Sometimes less is more.
15th Berben & Wolffs Reuben, Troy and Albany, NY
You can’t go wrong with this deli counter in the backcountry, but if it’s your first time, go for this classic. The sandwich consists of thinly sliced, homemade seitan pastrami and sauerkraut, which is pickled in Russian dressing and melted with sticky Swiss cheese on grilled marble rye bread.
16. Bread on oak Muffanada, New Orleans, LA
If a restaurant makes its own bread you have to order a sandwich and if you visit New Orleans you have to try a muffuletta. Breads on Oak tweaked the name a bit to reflect its vegan twist, but the end result is the same: pure joy. This handle is strong – it’s made from vegan Italian ham, bacon, provolone, olive salad, roasted tomatoes, and vegetables that are barely contained in two curved slices of a thick sesame levain roll. When you order, ask for a steak knife as you will have to cut this in half.
17th Souley Vegans Ain’t Gator Po’Boy, multiple locations, CA.
Oakland, San Francisco residents and the newly opened Los Angeles location can sample Creole cuisine at this vegan restaurant. This one of a kind po’boy is full of Creole, spiced, and fried Louisiana hot links, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes, all drizzled with mustard and po’boy sauce and barely contained by an elongated potato roll.
18th The Lion Dance Cafe Shaobing Sandwich, Oakland, CA.
The SFChronicle Food critics called this the best sandwich in San Francisco. Enough said. The tempting, Singapore-inspired sandwich is filled with satay-style seitan, coleslaw enriched with mint and sandwiched with a spicy peanut sauce between flatbread with a sesame crust.
19th Ikes Love & Sandwiches Meatballs Mike, multiple locations
Unlike many sandwich chains, Ike’s strives to offer its vegan fans more than just vegetables. This extra meaty handle made from homemade vegan meatballs, marinara and plant-based pepper jack cheese even has omnivores asking for the vegetarian menu.
20th Flore Vegans Tofu Egg Salad, Los Angeles, CA.
It’s easy, but there are moments when a standout egg salad sandwich can make your lunch break. This rendering provides the perfect ratio of mayo to tofu to seasoning – it’s not runny, it’s not dry, and it’s not overly spicy with one herb or another. This is one of those dishes that you may have hated as an omnivore but love as a vegan.
21st Love Life Cafe Egg & cheese croissant sandwich, Miami, FL
This soft and flaky pillow wins in the texture department. The soothing aromas of melting vegan cheddar oozing over a JUST Egg patty will make you inhale this breakfast sandwich as soon as it hits your table.
22nd Spiral Diner Mitch Tofu Club, Multiple Locations, TX
Dinner is really the only place to order this triple-stacked sandwich. Spiral does it justice by skewering grilled tofu, lettuce, pieces of bacon, tomatoes, toast and chipotle mayo with an iconic frilled toothpick.
23. Veggie Galaxy Rachel, Cambridge, MA
There is a Rachel for every Ruben. This similar diner-style sandwich is made vegan with grilled thin-shaved seitan-based corned beef, spicy kale salad, Swiss cheese (ask for the vegan version), and homemade Thousand Island dressing. Sorry Reuben, but this time we prefer Rachel.
24. Hip City Veg’s Philly Steak, Philadelphia, PA
This restaurant is popular for a number of its hearty menu items, but when in the city of brotherly love a cheesesteak calls your name. This vegan version is garnished with shaved vegan steak, grilled onions, mushrooms, ketchup and homemade mozza cheese. Once you’ve devoured it, you can cross the food off your bucket list.
25th The chickpea parmesan hero of modern love, Omaha, NE
If chicken parmesan was a sandwich, it would be (without the actual chicken, of course). A super crispy chickpea chop is at the center of a grilled garlic ciabatta roll, which is coated with marinara, pesto, rocket, cashew mozzarella, basil and pepita parmesan. While this type of dish can cost up to $ 20 plus when coated, this awesome sandwich will only set you back $ 9.50.
26th City, O ’city Bulgogi French Dip, Denver, CO
There’s more to this mainstay of Mile High City than just outstanding vegan chicken and waffles. The seitan-based bulgogi sandwich is unlike any French dip we’ve ever had. This Sammie consists of spicy, thinly shaved vegan bulgogi, kimchi, spring onions and horseradish aioli and is fusion at its finest.
27. The Beet Box Trucks Chickless Sandwich, Stillwater, OK
Customize your grip in this vegan restaurant. Each Chickenless Sandwich is made from the company’s proprietary Chickenless Patty, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion. However, customers can choose the sauce (also known as the flavor bomb). Beginner? Go for the vegan Bacon Ranch – it goes perfectly with the free garlic and herb fries.
28. Experienced vegans Po’Boy Sandwich, Harlem, NY
Can’t you make it south Order the delivery of Seasoned Vegan. This vegetable rendition of the New Orleans classic consists of fried shrimp or catfish, vegetables, tomatoes and a creamy tartar sauce. This vegan Harlem institution has been serving this classic since 2014.
29 Superiority burger Vegan Specials, New York City, NY
As suggested, vegans will find a great burger here, but we’re interested in the ever-changing sandwich specials. Not all are vegan, but many are or can be easily modified. Note: As of January 6, 2021, the store has closed its doors for an unknown but temporary period and will reopen on March 12, 2021.
30th Bang up to the elephants Bake & Chana, Denver, CO
The bread makes this sandwich. Instead of the expected baguette, ciabatta, roll or bread roll, this Sammie is held together with roast bread. The filling is full of curry chickpeas, tomatoes, papaya coleslaw and the typical hot Trini sauce of the kitchen. In a word, it’s great.
31. Vegan tofu & pineapple sandwich
Taken (with permission) from the pages of vegan foodie Dustin Harder Epic vegan Cookbook, this handle is light, flavorful, smoky and sweet. It might not be traditional, but you will soon be craving this earthy flavored combo of tofu and tropical coleslaw.
32. Vegan Croque Madame
Just as Ruben has a Rachel, the Croque Monsieur has a Croque Madame. This French grilled cheese gets a brunch touch by topping eggy tofu, vegan deli slices and sticky cheese with two thick slices of spicy French toast.
33. Grilled cheese with pumpkin, pear and candied pecan
The flavor combinations that work with grilled cheese are endless, but we particularly like this autumnal creation. You could wait until PSL season or find a can of pumpkin in mid-May and treat yourself to something!
34. Vegan lobster rolls
You don’t see vegan lobster rolls too often (if at all, in many parts of the country) so you can learn to make your own too. The ingredients list and preparation is simple. With a can of palm hearts, Old Bay spices, and some vegan mayo, you can have a seaside delicacy ready in minutes.
35. Vegan tofu Bánh Mì
You really have to try a Bánh Mì to experience its excellence. It’s fusion food at its best and the combination of glazed tofu, crispy, cool, pickled vegetables and a crunchy baguette complement each other perfectly. One bite and you will have it.
36. Tempeh sandwiches
These sturdy sandwiches are a vegetable rendition of the classic Italian-American sausage and pepper hoagies. Marinated tempeh represents the meaty element, and the peppers offer texture and a bit of kick. This grab bar only gets better when you sit down. So pack it up for a picnic and enjoy the outdoors.
Every vegan needs this basic recipe in their arsenal. Even if you weren’t a fan of fish-based tuna in the pre-Vegan days, this chickpea and nori-based recipe is universally popular. Our tip to you: make a large amount at the beginning of the week and then fill your sandwiches, salads and wraps with it throughout the week.
Tanya Flink is a digital editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner who lives in Orange County, CA.