Best Veggie Sandwich, Ever
Quite possibly the best vegetarian sandwich you'll ever have. Stacked high with marinated portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted beets, goat cheese, hummus and crisp veggies. Say goodbye to sad veggie sandwiches. Gluten Free option. <jump to recipe>
Bold statement, I know. I'm not usually the type to make claims like this - that's Anguel's job. He's always the one that proclaims recipes or restaurants as the best (or worst) thing everrr. I'm a bit more cautious. I think it's because I like food so much that I have a tough time picking an all-time favorite (I like all the things). Either that, or I'm just super indecisive. But when it comes to this recipe, we both agree: this truly is the best vegetarian sandwich we've ever had.
When going out to eat, choosing the vegetarian route too often feels like settling. Or, if I'm really giving it to you straight, it feels like an edible form of those "participation medals" we all won as kids. I often find myself wishing that the restaurant put a bit more effort into their vegetarian option(s), rather than just throwing some vegetables on the plate. It can bore my stomach to tears. Take the vegetarian sandwich for instance - a prime example of a missed opportunity. The other day we intended to visit a local cafe for lunch, but despite having some epic meat-based sandwiches, the veggie option was lettuce, tomato and green pepper. Merp.
Instead of giving into this madness, we headed to the grocery store across the street to pick up ingredients for a real veggie sandwich. And, it was epic. Spoiler alert: green peppers didn't make the cut.
This veggie sandwich starts with thick, hefty slices of your favorite bread. Each slice gets lovingly covered in an amazing spread - one with hummus and the other with soft goat cheese. Meaty sauteed portobello mushrooms get stacked inside, on top of crisp lettuce and fresh tomatoes (hey, we had to keep in these reliable classics). And, because this sandwich needed to be extraordinary, we also layered in thick slices of roasted beets. Crazy? Definitely not. Beets and goat cheese is a match made in heaven. And if that wasn't enough, there's a generous pile of caramelized onions inside too! Are you drooling yet? I am, and I just ate.
I don't know about you, but there's something about a warm, grilled sandwich that gets me every time. I think it's the lightly buttered bread and toasted exterior that makes it clear this is anything but a boring lunchbox sandwich. So, after assembling this massive sandwich, I highly recommend giving it a quick grill on the same pan you used to make the onions. I originally avoided cleaning the pan in between because I was lazy. But in the end, it actually infused some caramelized onion-y goodness into the bread. Laziness, for the win.
Next time you're craving a sandwich, you need to build this one. There are enough components to make this veggie sandwich feel complete, while still being manageable for a weeknight dinner. This is also a recipe that you could easily make ahead of time, which is awesome if you have friends coming over for dinner or if you're crunched for time during the work week. The components can be made in advance, and then all you need to do is assemble and grill just before eating. And I'll warn you now: these sandwiches are MASSIVE! Like, really big. They're impressive enough on their own, but if you really want to go for it, they pair well with a side of homemade sweet potato fries.
This recipe is pretty versatile. You could use your favorite store bought hummus or make your own creamy white bean dip instead. If you need a gluten-free option, simply select gluten-free bread. And, if you want to make this recipe vegan, you could try substituting coconut oil for the butter; and skip the goat cheese to replace with another spread of your choice (or double up on hummus).
BEST VEGGIE SANDWICH EVER
SERVES 2 (GLUTEN FREE OPTION)
2 medium portobello mushrooms (or 1 large)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
4 slices of good-quality bread (gluten-free, if desired)
2 tablespoons Creamy White Bean Dip (or substitute hummus)
2 tablespoons goat cheese
2 small roasted beets (or 1 large)*
2 leaves of lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
Pat of butter, for grilling
Rub portobello mushroom(s) clean with a damp paper towel. Remove the stem. Slice the cap(s) into thick strips ~½" (1.25 cm) thick. Add slices to a small bowl. Pour balsamic vinegar and tamari over the mushrooms and give them a quick stir to coat. Set aside.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the onions. The onions will need to cook for 20-25 minutes until they become brown and caramelized. Stir regularly. If they start to burn, turn down the heat slightly. Add the balsamic vinegar about half way through to de-glaze the pan. Once cooked, remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Using the same pan (no need to clean), add the mushroom slices and the marinade. Saute mushrooms for 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Stir every minute or so to prevent sticking. Once cooked, set aside.
Slice the roasted beets into thick slices about 1/4 - 1/2" (0.5-0.75 cm) thick. Gather the other components for the sandwich.
To assemble, spread 1 tablespoon of white bean dip (or hummus) on one slice of bread (one side only). Spread 1 tablespoon of goat cheese on the other slice. Layer the lettuce, tomato, onions, mushrooms and beets in between the slices of bread. Add a pat of butter to the exterior of the sandwich (both sides) and grill in a pan (low heat) for ~2 minutes on each side, until a golden brown crust develops. Repeat for the second sandwich.
-*To roast beets, wrap each beet in tinfoil (stem removed). Baked at 400°F for ~45 minutes (until tender when poked with a fork). Once cooked, peel and use. Can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.
-Recommended side: Spiced Sweet Potato Fries