Sandwich Sunday: The Veggienator

When it comes to sandwiches, everything between two slices of bread has a certain ‘ethnic’ flavor profile these days. More and more I’m finding that this means one of two things. A) It’s your standard ‘American’ sandwich that features some combination of a generic cheese, bacon, turkey/ham/roast beef and wheat bread or B) Something trying to be Latino or Asian in its taste complexion.

Not that I can’t work with a chicken breast with jalapenos or a burger with a pineapple on top, but I’m all for working with more Old World style taste profiles too. Case in point, the use of my favorite type of bread (Pumpernickel), with an array of vegetarian friendly ingredients to create this past week’s homemade sandwich: The Veggienator.

Ok, so I’m not exactly sure how “German” this sandwich may or may not be, but here are the results nonetheless.

Description:Taking full advantage of Einstein Brothers’ free bagel coupon offer on Facebook, I snagged a pumpernickel bagel and toasted it in a 350 degree oven for a couple of minutes. I then grilled several cut up slices of Anjou pears on my panini grill, along with a tri-color arrangement of red and green bell peppers with red onion. An application of 1/3rd less fat, block-style cream cheese was slathered on one side of the toasted bagel, while regular yellow mustard went on the other. Four crisp cucumber slices graced over the cream cheesed side, along with an application of dried dill and black pepper. Fresh spinach rounded it out. Meat? Who needs meat when you have so many elements of flavor and texture already packed between a bagel? That and, you know, I’m a poor college student 🙂

The Verdict:I love the combination of grilled fruit on old world grains. While the EBB bagel may not match the genuine European article, it does have a slightly nutty flavor and earthy rye taste, as well as a modest sweetness that gives good aftertaste and contrast to the initial sweetness of the grilled fruit. Likewise, the cucumber and spinach added a fantastic contrast in terms of their cool taste and bite, and worked well with the cream cheese and dill (a classic combo). The grilled red onions and peppers are a must on any veggie sandwich, and gave this one a terrific vibrancy that balanced the sharp acidity of the mustard. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It was very good, to be sure, but far from perfect. For starters, the pears I used were over-ripe, and they didn’t grill at a high enough temperature to caramelize (they turned out a bit rubbery, as if I had stuck them in a microwave). They also leached water, which made the toasted bread a bit soggy. Likewise, using 1/3rd less fat cream cheese was a mistake, especially in block form. It was all I had on hand, but it turned out slightly gummy and didn’t integrate will the dill as expected. Using a whipped spread — such as EBB’s garlic and herb “schmear” — would have been a better choice. These mistakes in construction spoiled what would otherwise have been my “ideal” veggie sandwich, which for the record was still very good. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I am growing as a sandwich artist.

GrubGrade: 8.25/10 (Very Good)

Past Sunday Sandwiches: [Jason’s Deli Turkey Rueben] [Homemade: The SCLT] [Elements’ Filet Philly Steak Sandwich]

*Your Turn: What is your ideal vegetarian-friendly sandwich and why?  What elements must an all-vegetable sandwich include for those of you who normally eat meat?

8 comments on “Sandwich Sunday: The Veggienator

  1. Ryan says:

    For a vegetarian-friendly sandwich I must have avocado. Why? Because it’s the best fruit/vegetable ever. I’m thinking of contributing a “Sandwich Sunday” post of my own in the future…and it’s also vegetarian-friendly. 😀

  2. skippymom says:

    That sandwich looks yummy – [no dill tho] I like the idea of the grilled pears.

    My all time favorite veggie sandwich is on a baguette with provolone [or swiss or monteray jack] and lettuce, tomato, green pepper, red onion, yellow squash, banana peppers and oil & vinegar – then it has to sit, wrapped in the ‘fridge until it all melds together. mmmmm

  3. Rodzilla says:

    They better be lacto-ovo. None of that vegan nonsense.

    Eggs and cheese are required. Mushrooms can be a good substitute for meat as well.

  4. I’ve always been the kind of guy who can’t stand the thought of something like grilled pears on a sammich. Ugh. I’m also immediately turned off by any lettuce/leafy vegetable based salad with any kind of fruit in it. I’m not sure why, though. I’m sure it tastes great, but to me it’s like having lasagna with cantaloupe in it.

  5. Katie Ann says:

    When I was briefly a vegetarian, I developed a great love for a Boca burger on whole grain toast with lots of avocado, tomato, and mayo. Avocado is excellent at replacing meat. I also used to get the Veggie Delight sandwich at Subway back when it was actually cheaper to do so, and always asked them to load it up with tomatoes and black olives. I’d get cucumbers on it too, but never actually liked the flavor of them with my sandwich so I’d just eat them off first. Mmmm…

  6. Raiders757 says:

    I find vegan, or no meat diets, to be laughable, but to be honest, this sandwich sounds pretty darn good. Of course not using mayo appeals to me, because it sucks, and takes the life out of any sandwich, no matter the make up. The bagel you used looks tasty as well.

  7. Matthew says:

    Well, looks yummy but I was a little confused by what you call Pumpernickel in the US.

    This is what real German Pumpernickel looks like – and it is simply impossible to make a bagel out of the original version. So, this seems to be a very americanized version of the bread.

    My vegetarian sandwich would contain lettuce, tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumber in a wholemeal roll. Simple, but that’s it. A hot and spicy mexican dip would complete my sandwich. I like to play with spicery: garlic, black pepper, salt, all kinds of herbs. I loved that when I was vegan.
    I don’t enjoy cheese on my sandwhich, even though cheese seems to be pretty common for ‘German’ sandwiches. But in general, German people do not tend to make sandwiches very often… especially not without meat.

  8. Adam says:

    Thanks for your input. I am familiar with what ‘real’ Pumpernickel is, and yes, you are right in assuming that this is an Americanized version (made with rye and molasses.) Believe it or not, but even finding “fake” pumpernickel can be a challenge sometimes. There is a deli in Salt Lake City that I’ve been to that carries real pumpernickel and does amazing sandwiches, however. I like your sandwich idea, and the hot pepper/cucumber combo sounds very good. Thanks for stopping by!

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