Fats Are The Key To A Better, Balanced Vegetarian Sandwich

Too often, ordering a vegetarian sandwich proves downright disappointing. Restaurants, cafés, and delicatessens that boast dozens of meaty sandwich classics might only offer one vegetarian option on the menu, and it ends up being bread overloaded with sauce, a few measly scraps of lettuce, a skimpy slice of cheese, and maybe a couple of other veggies — if you're lucky. Those sandwich produce selections are about as limited as salad toppings, so if you're looking for something other than romaine, tomatoes, and peppers, you'll go hungry. But going meatless doesn't require going flavorless. A good vegetarian sandwich delivers as much taste and textural complexity as any other artisanal sandwich, and the secret is in the fat content.

While people often think of substituting mushrooms or eggplants for cuts of meat as a healthful swap, that doesn't mean vegetarian sandwiches need to be all lean and green. Fats are naturally rich and heavy, making them a decadent addition to any sandwich, but especially one packed with lighter fare. Veggie-full sandwiches benefit from a thick, melty counter ingredient to balance the crisp, bright flavors of spinach, herbs, cucumbers, carrots, and the list goes on. Try using flavorful fats like buttermilk ranch dressing, smooth mayonnaise, creamy avocado, or rich cheeses to give your vegetarian sandwiches the kick they need.

Fats enhance flavor and mouthfeel

Dressings and sauces can totally elevate a sandwich, especially when pairing vegetarian toppings with fatty spreads and condiments. Bread and butter is a saying for a reason — it's just that good. Buttering or spreading mayonnaise over bread before toasting it gives a sandwich an extra crispness and hint of flavor. And topping a vegetarian sandwich off with ranch, like this barbecue pulled mushroom sandwich, adds a tangy twist of smoothness and fat to boost what sits between the bread.

Cheeses with a high milk fat content add flavor and help ground the freshness of veggies, particularly if you're opting for a toasted sandwich. Lower-fat content cheeses don't melt as smoothly, resulting in a stringy fat, as opposed to a melty binding agent. Try adding slices of full-fat cheddar, or a double cream cheese spread to your vegetarian sandwich for maximum flavor and a smooth balance to crunchy vegetables. Of course, you don't have to go with the heaviest cheese — you can just add more, like this herbaceous zucchini pesto sandwich that incorporates four thick slices of mozzarella.

If you're looking for a fully plant-based sandwich, avocado is an excellent choice. This creamy fruit offers bold flavors, heart-healthy fats, and unbeatable smoothness. Avocados can help a sandwich achieve that soft, creamy spread without adding animal products, plus they're packed with nutrients. But if avocados aren't for you, lots of vegan options exist, including vegan mayo. Often made with soy milk and mustard as an emulsifier, vegan mayonnaise is a tasty spread, or even a creamy binding agent, like for a vegan chickpea salad sandwich. Really, there are so many ways to balance your veggie sandwich with flavorful fats!