Chickpea of the Sea Sandwich (The Simple Veganista)
England is a nation of sandwich eaters. Years ago, most people would just enjoy a simple sandwich of bread, butter, a simple filling and perhaps some pickle. Eaten at home on a plate! Or in a cafe, if not. Today, we have a multi-million industry dedicated to charging people a fortune to eat plastic-wrapped sandwiches, often made with factory-farmed animal ingredients, palm-oil-laden margarine and the half-eaten sandwich wraps get tossed on the ground.
These are not real meat, egg, fish or cheese so don’t give to pets (some contain toxic ingredients). Also don’t give leftover rich or salty meat, nor with cooked bones, as pets could choke.
Don’t give leftover buttered sandwiches to birds, as the fat can interfere with waterproofing/insulation of feathers. Never give birds crusty, stale, mouldy or white bread either, it’s not good for them. See how to help our garden birds.
With 3.5 billion sandwiches purchased each year in the UK alone, that’s a lot of plastic waste. If you have no choice, then bin responsibly (dropping the wrapping just encourages wildlife to get run over, from scavenging, and other wildlife can choke or suffocate on the plastic). Pret a Manger is one of the first to commit to going over to plastic-free packaging, but not until 2025?
Or just visit a local sandwich shop, who will likely serve you a freshly made sandwich, in a paper bag. VegWare make compostable sandwich bags, they could switch if they wanted to. They are supplied flat, easy to assemble with plant-based PLA liners for freshness and a clear window. Includes a write-on sticker if wished.
What happened to the traditional sandwich? Keep things simple and make a proper sandwich from home, and if you are travelling, store it in a reusable sandwich wrap, to keep it fresh until it’s lunchtime. Take your litter with you if out on a picnic, and if you buy store-bought sandwiches, let’s see if we can find some better alternatives. The most popular sandwiches are:
- The BLT (bacon lettuce tomato)
- The cheese sandwich
- The egg mayo sandwich
- Sausage Sandwich
- Prawn mayo
It seems that all the ‘gourmet sandwiches’ may be popular with gourmets, but for most people, the traditional flavours are more popular. So let’s look at how to make a good sandwich yourself, then where to find some better alternatives in shops.
Tips for a Good Sandwich
- Good bread. Don’t go for big artisan loaves, just have a baker slice a good loaf for you. If you make your own bread, keep bread dough away from pets (it can expand in the stomach).
- Choose a good vegan butter without palm oil. There are plenty around now. Or use an alternative base like vegan mayo.
- Have prepped ingredients in the fridge. If you look in a sandwich shop, they don’t have a whole lettuce, they have a tub of shredded lettuce, or some pre-sliced ingredients. If making sandwiches regularly, just prep every few days.
- Don’t use soggy ingredients until the end. This causes everything to drip into the bread. If you use cheese (or vegan cheese), grate it before adding. It will save money as you will use less.
- Add a little salt to tomato and cucumber slices before adding, and this will preventing them sliding out of your baguette.
- Choose a tasty sauce. Some people use vegan mayo, or go for mustard or pickle to give your sandwich some buzz. Chutney is also good.
- The Vegan Tuna Mayo Sandwich. Mix up some Bonsan Fish-Free Tuna with vegan mayo.
- The BLT (bacon lettuce tomato). There are many vegan bacons on the market now, but the best ones are found online. Try Sgaia streaky rashers (made by Italians in Scotland). Made from ‘wheat meat’, this is smoked for that real bacon flavour. Add fresh shredded lettuce and a good natural ketchup.
- The Vegan Cheese Sandwich. Again, artisan cheeses are mostly found online. See the post on where to find good artisan cheese. They are more expensive so grate and keep in a tub, but far nicer than most coconut oil cheeses sold in supermarkets. Nice toppings include grated onion, chutney, tomato slices or even ketchup!
- The Vegan Egg Mayo Sandwich. Badgers make a nice vegan egg mayo if you want something ready-made, sold fresh in a tub. Or if not, then you can sub out with other ingredients like tofu, and flavour things up with The Vurger Co’s mayo or spicy mayo.
- The Veggie Sausage Sandwich. Again, Sgaia make good vegan sausage. There are lots of good alternatives, see our post on where to find the best vegan sausages.
- The Vegan Prawn Mayo Sandwich. Look in stores for Zeastar vegan shrimp, which tastes just the same and is offered in many sandwich shops and restaurants, as a plant-based alternative. Again use a good tasty mayo. The price is high because this is a bulk order, it will less in shops. The same company make vegan salmon.
Reusable Sandwich Wraps
Once you’ve made your sandwich, pack in a reusable sandwich wrap if you’re not eating at home. These are mostly made from cloth, but most have a waterproof and wipe-clean backing (if made with plastic, then use a Guppyfriend if laundering to avoid microplastics entering the ocean). Or just wipe-clean after use. You can often double-them-up to use as place mats, say if you’re eating in the park or at a picnic bench. Then just wrap up when done, and clean them when you get home.