Who says sandwiches are for lunch meat? These easy vegetarian sandwiches are colorful, creative, and over the top delicious healthy sandwich ideas.
A sandwich might sound like a “boring” meal, but these vegetarian sandwiches are anything but boring! These healthy sandwich ideas work for spicing up a desk lunch or for an easy and healthy dinner. When Alex and I are wondering what to make for dinner, it’s often that a veg sandwich recipe comes along as the perfect solution. Here are our favorite easy vegetarian sandwiches…in no particular order, of course!
Note: Several of the sandwiches below are also vegan or have a vegan option.
First up in our vegetarian sandwiches, the most beautiful sandwich of all: our rainbow vegetable sandwich! One of the best ways we’ve found to get kids–and adults–to eat veggies is simply to make them look good. And this rainbow vegetable sandwich is as delicious as it is beautiful! It features herbed goat cheese spread, pickled radishes, roasted peppers, avocado, and red onion. It’s one of the tastiest ways to eat your veg. (Vegan option)
OK, ready for an insanely delicious sandwich? After trying this the first time, Alex and I agreed that this sandwich miiiight be our best sandwich ever. What makes this coleslaw & Swiss melt sandwich so savory and delicious? Well, start with our best coleslaw recipe. Add a melty cheese on top of a salty pretzel bun. What puts it over the edge is our secret sauce: Russian dressing, the star ingredient in a Reuben sandwich. Are you ready to get eating?
These vegan Sloppy Joes have a zingy lentil filling that tastes just as good as the meaty version. Put it on a toasted bun with some bread and butter pickles, and WOW! You’re going to love this one (promise). A fantastic plant-based meal for people who are on the fence about veggies, they're crowd pleasing and have a cozy, comforting vibe!
If you asked us for easy vegetarian sandwiches, we’d name this one first! Our chickpea salad sandwich is quickly becoming a fan favorite, and it works for both vegetarian and vegan diets. Essentially a vegetarian chicken salad sandwich using chickpeas, the chickpea salad features mashed chickpeas, celery, green onion, a little mayo, and a pop of lemon. We served this one up with hummus spread on both sides of the bread, and it added an extra dimension. It’s one of our top healthy sandwich ideas. (Vegan option)
Looking for healthy and easy lunch ideas? Here’s a genius idea for busy days or even a lightening fast weeknight dinner. This ultimate hummus sandwich! That’s right: hummus on a sandwich. You don’t have to reserve hummus just for carrots and pita triangles! It works as a sandwich spread that’s full of plant-based protein to keep you full for hours. Throw it on bread with all your favorite crunchy veggies and it’s a lunch or snack that couldn’t be easier to whip up.
The falafel sandwich is the stuff dreams are made of: and one of the most iconic vegan sandwiches...ever! The crunch of the fried chickpea fritters, the soft herby interior, and the sauces that dribble down your chin….it’s our ultimate meal. Might we present the ultimate falafel sandwich! It features crunchy fritters, ultra soft flatbread, crunchy veggies and creamy, garlicky sauces.
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is used as a substitute for pulled pork. What?! We know that sounds crazy, but it’s absolutely delicious. This jackfruit BBQ sandwich has barbecue sauce that’s perfectly balanced with sweet, tangy, savory, and a little boozy. It’s a sauce simmered with loads of ketchup, onion, garlic, cider vinegar, and a bit of whiskey. Then place it on a bun with our easy vinegar coleslaw or our best creamy coleslaw. It’s one of the most seriously satisfying meatless meals out there.
This vegetarian sandwich is over-the-top tasty. It’s a Grilled Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich that will blow your mind. The buffalo cauliflower is a play on buffalo chicken wings and slathered in a spicy buffalo sauce. You can grill the cauliflower on a charcoal grill, or roast it if it’s not the season for grilling. Top that with a creamy blue cheese ranch sauce and a few fresh celery leaves, and it’s an unforgettable (and a little messy) veg sandwich recipe.
What’s more classic than egg salad? This one has a healthy spin, with Greek yogurt and mayo together for a light and creamy texture. It's also got fresh herbs to bring in a pop of flavor. It makes a gooey, satisfyingly messy egg salad sandwich: the best you'll have, we think!
This Mediterranean-style vegetarian sandwich was inspired by our recent trip to Italy. While in Pisa (as in, the Leaning Tower of), we went to a sweet little sandwich shop and had a sandwich like this. The bread is spread with basil pesto and Kalamata olive spread, and then it’s filled with grilled eggplant, juicy ripe tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. It’s pretty darn heavenly, if we do say so ourselves. It’s pretty easy to put together; you can also bake the eggplant or use a grill pan.
This vegetarian sandwich is one of our fan favorites because it’s so quick. Yes, all you need is 5 minutes to make this sandwich: and that’s not a lie! Fry an egg, all the while toasting an English muffin, then spread it with basil pesto. Throw some arugula into the hot pan to wilt it, then place it atop the egg on the English muffin. And, you’re done! It results in a super savory breakfast sandwich that’s covered in gooey, runny egg. Delish.
Banh mi is a delightful Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette, with a usually meat filling and pickled vegetables on top. This is a vegan take on a banh mi sandwich that’s inspired by a restaurant here in Indianapolis. It’s filled with ginger lime hummus, quick pickled red onion, cabbage and cucumber, and of course jalapeño peppers and cilantro! In just 20 minutes, you’ve got a vegan and vegetarian sandwich that’s bursting with flavor. Another of our favorite healthy sandwich ideas! For another option, try our Vegetarian Banh Mi, which features an egg filing instead. (Vegan)
Here’s a vegetarian sandwich that’s pretty darn simple with a few hard boiled eggs around. This grilled cheese sandwich uses mayo instead of butter to make the outsides crispy and savory. And the filling: chopped hard boiled eggs and smoked cheddar cheese–which truly tricks the brain into thinking there is ham inside! When I first served this to him, Alex swore there was ham in it. Then he said, “This is the best grilled cheese you’ve ever made.” To top off the filling, I used a sliced green onion, which brings in a little color and a fresh, savory flavor.
Here’s a quick vegetarian sandwich recipe that is greater than the sum of its parts. This Mediterranean veggie sandwich features our garlic herb white bean dip, sliced red onion, shredded carrot, and feta cheese. To top it all off, we’ve used pea shoots for some visual flair; though you can use any type of sprouts or microgreens. It’s super fast to put together and pretty darn delicious. For a vegan version, replace the feta cheese with salty Kalamata olives. (Vegan option)
In our vegetarian sandwiches this is one for the books: our Roasted Tomato Basil Grilled Cheese. Think: sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, tomato mayo (mayonnaise mixed with the juices from the tomatoes), and fresh basil, all held together with gooey mozzarella cheese. It’s a grilled cheese match made in heaven.
To round out this list of vegetarian sandwiches: our Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich! There’s something about tangy Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and rye bread that’s terribly comforting and homey. Alex and I eat a flexitarian diet, meaning that we eat vegan and vegetarian most of the time and meat some of the time. But we wanted to find a way to make a Reuben sandwich without the meat so that it could appear at our dinner table more often! Hence, this incredible Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich was born.
Make the pickled radishes: Slice the radishes and place them in a jar or cup. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over the sliced radishes. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or 1 hour if time. You can make this a day or 2 ahead of time and store it in the fridge or in a sealed container or jar.
Make the roasted peppers: Preheat the broiler to high. Slice the peppers. Rub the pepper slices with the olive oil and place them on a baking sheet, skin side up. Broil the peppers until the skin becomes blackened and charred, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt.
Make the herb goat cheese spread: In a bowl, stir together the goat cheese, olive oil, basil, and oregano until combined.
Prep the other veggies: If desired, soak the red onion in cold water for a few minutes to remove the bit. Wash the lettuce. Slice the avocado. Slice the bread.
Assemble the sandwiches: Spread 2 slices of the bread with the goat cheese spread. Top with red onion, lettuce, avocado, yellow and red peppers, pickled radishes, and the remaining pieces of bread.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.