Go Vegetarian: 7 Magnificent Meat-Free Sandwich Recipes

Decrease your meat intake, increase your vegetable consumption, and still feel satisfied by making a vegetarian sandwich. Whether you habitually skip the chicken, turkey, beef, and pork or are dabbling in meat-free eating, you’ll find at least one recipe that is worth your time here. To see what your sandwich can gain when it ditches the meat, check out these seven recipes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Roasted Red Pepper Spread Sandwiches

Cooking Light‘s sandwiches are light, crunchy, and full of flavor. If you happen to be making fewer sandwiches, or end up with leftover red pepper spread for any reason, pair it with crackers.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup finely chopped seeded cucumber
  • 1 (7 ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and finely chopped
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup (about 3 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 (1½-ounce) slices whole-grain bread
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves

Directions: Spread cucumber and bell peppers onto several layers of heavy duty paper towels; let stand 5 minutes to drain excess moisture. Scrape into a medium bowl using a rubber spatula. Add the cheeses, onion, salt, and garlic; stir with a fork until well blended. Spread about ½ cup cheese mixture over 4 bread slices; top each serving with 2 lettuce leaves and 1 bread slice.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Eggplant and Mozzarella Melt

Melts don’t need to be filled with meat to be filling or delicious — a fact easily demonstrated by Martha Stewart‘s recipe. The breaded eggplant, melting mozzarella open-faced sandwiches serve 4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ¾ cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil, for baking sheet
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 loaf (8 ounces) soft Italian bread
  • 2 cups store-bought tomato sauce
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Directions: Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat eggs with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread breadcrumbs in a pie plate or shallow bowl. Oil a rimmed baking sheet. Dip eggplant rounds in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs, turning to coat completely; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake (without turning) until golden and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, split bread lengthwise, and place cut side up on another baking sheet; press gently in centers to create a well. Layer both halves with tomato sauce, eggplant, and cheese. Bake until cheese is browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Broccoli Rabe and Provolone Grinders

Skipping meat doesn’t have to mean skipping protein. Bon Appétit uses a white bean purée as a spread for this grinder, and that boosts the protein content of the sandwich too. World’s Healthiest Foods says the beans are also a good source of fiber and iron.

Ingredients:

White Bean Puree

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini (white kidney) beans with liquid
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Sandwiches

  • 4 bunches broccoli rabe (rapini, 4–5 pounds), ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 (6 to 8 inches-long) French rolls, split lengthwise
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced provolone piccante or other aged provolone cheese
  • 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, seeded, very thinly sliced

Directions: To make the white bean puree, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until garlic begins to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Add beans with liquid. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring often, until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; add 3 tablespoons oil. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

For the sandwiches, cook broccoli rabe, 1 bunch at a time, in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes (return to a boil between batches.) Transfer broccoli rabe to a baking sheet; let cool. Squeeze dry; coarsely chop. Heat a large pot over medium heat; add ¼ cup oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 2–3 minutes. Add broccoli rabe; cook, stirring often, until stem pieces are just tender, 4–5 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup oil and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and more juice, if desired. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Open rolls and arrange on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle generously with oil. Spread bean purée on one side of each roll; add broccoli rabe. Top with cheese, then chile. Toast, rotating pans after 5 minutes, until cheese is melted, 7–10 minutes. Top, slice, and serve.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Roasted Asparagus and Fresh Herb Grilled Cheese

Asparagus lovers take note, Fine Cooking has a new way for you to enjoy your vegetable of choice. Roasted, paired with cheeses, and then sandwiched between two pieces of bread, this herby, warm sandwich will still be delicious if you don’t find olive bread.

Ingredients:

  • 8 thick asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; more for the bread
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella (about 1¼ cups)
  • 1 ounces coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped mint
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped basil
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped rinsed capers
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4½-inch thick slices olive bread

Directions: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the asparagus on a sharp angle into 2-inch pieces (if very thick, halve lengthwise first.) Toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil on a small rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the cheeses and a pinch of pepper. In another small bowl, toss the herbs with the capers, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Divide the cheese mixture evenly among the 4 slices of bread. Top two slices with the asparagus and then the herb-garlic mixture. Top with the other slices of bread to make two sandwiches.

Heat a griddle or 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-low heat. Brush one side of each sandwich with olive oil, put in the pan oiled side down, and then brush the other side with oil. Cook, pressing lightly on the sandwiches with a spatula, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the cheese has melted and the other side is golden brown, another 2 to 3 minutes. Allow the sandwiches to sit for about 1 minute before slicing in half and serving.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Grilled Vegetable, Herb, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches 

Packed with vegetables and substantial enough for dinner, make the sandwiches Giada de Laurentiis demonstrated on her Food Network show for your next meatless evening meal.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 zucchini, ends trimmed and discarded, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick pieces
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, ends trimmed and discarded, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 (12½-ounce) baguette, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 1 cup (6½ ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups baby spinach

Directions: Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper. Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a medium bowl. Add the zucchini and eggplant and toss until coated.

Place the vegetables on the grill pan or grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until tender. While the vegetables are cooking, spread the olive oil mixture on the baguette halves. Using a spatula spread the goat cheese over the olive oil mixture. Place the cooked vegetables on the bottom half of the baguette. Arrange the spinach on top of the vegetables. Place the top half of the baguette over the filling.

To serve, cut the baguette into 4 sandwiches. Serve immediately or wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Vegetarian Reubens With Russian Dressing

Normally, you’d be putting corned beef on your reuben, but Eating Well has a slightly different version in mind. A medley of mushrooms, onion, and spinach take the place of the meat to give an updated, vegetarian spin on the deli classic.

Ingredients:

Russian Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons chopped capers
  • 1 teaspoon chopped pickle, or relish

Sandwiches

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices rye bread
  • ½ cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, such as Jarlsberg Lite or Alpine Lace (2 ounces)
  • ½ cup sauerkraut

Directions: Prepare Russian dressing: whisk mayonnaise and ketchup in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in capers and pickle (or relish.)

To prepare sandwiches, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it has wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.

Coat the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and return to medium heat. Add the bread; divide cheese equally among the slices. Divide sauerkraut between 2 slices and divide the spinach mixture between the other 2 slices; cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer sandwich halves to a cutting board. Divide the dressing between the spinach halves. Carefully place the sauerkraut halves on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Egg Salad Sandwiches

But sometimes you just need to stick with the classics as is, like AllRecipes.com’s egg salad sandwiches. If you like a few extras added into your egg salad, like celery or bell peppers, add them to this basic recipe for your perfect sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

Directions: Place egg in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

Place the chopped eggs in a bowl, and stir in the mayonnaise, mustard and green onion. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Stir and serve on your favorite bread or crackers.

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