What are the ingredients of a great sandwich? A recent article published in the Huffington Post claims to have the answer to that question. They say that “across the country, a new breed of sandwich artisans are taking lunchtime to a whole ‘nother level.” Translation? Sandwich making is becoming an art form.
The Huffington Post recently published a series of sandwiches by Endless Simmer that heralded what they called America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches. Number Four on this list was The Maple. The name had my eyebrow raising with interest even though the ingredients sounded more like something from a McMenu with sausage, cheese, and griddled bread.
But trust me, this is not your country cousin’s McGriddle. In fact, this sandwich puts the art in the artisan. And yet, I imagine it would appeal to foodies and that McGriddle lovin’ cousin alike. The only problem? We needed a vegan version. What were we to do?
A team of vegan bloggers combined their recipe designing skills to remodel these sandwiches, maintaining their artisan-inspired, quirky features, while transforming them to a healthier and happier place in today’s American culture. We call our vegan series “America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches…Veganized!” Here’s what we’ve published so far:
- Sandwich No. 10 the Vegan Spuckie Sandwich, prepared by Your Vegan Mom and featured a carrot salad on top of vegan deli slices.
- Sandwich No. 9 the Bulgogi Steak Sandwich by Manifest Vegan showcased tender strips of marinated tofu topped with caramelized onions.
- Sandwich No. 8, the Crispy Drunken Chicken Sandwich showcased two unique vegan recipes by Veggie Num Num and Epicurean Vegan who both provided recipes with sweet, spicy sauces.
- Sandwich No. 7, the Cheesy Mac and Rib Sandwich featuring a thick barbecue sauce grilled over thinly sliced tofu and served with caramelized onions and oh-so-vegan mac and cheese.
- Sandwich No. 6, The Pibil Torta Sandwich spotlighting crusty bolillo bread spread with a black bean paste, marinated wild mushrooms and finished with a layer of pickled red onions.
- Sandwich No. 5, The Fried Chicken Sandwich, a cashew cream encrusted fried *chick’n* patty topped with a lip-smacking, zesty slaw.
Today’s recipe, The Maple, was veganized, developed, and photographed by Nora of Pride and Vegiduce. If you haven’t yet figured out what makes a great sandwich for you, be prepared to find your maple muse.
The Vegan Maple
Makes 4-5 sandwiches (gluten-free)
Two slices of maple “bread pudding” loaded with savory tempeh sausage, spicy chipotle cheddar “cheese” and sweet maple caramelized onions.
Advice: Prepare the Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties mixture first, leaving it to sit while you make the Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce and Maple Caramelized Onions. Once the sauce and onions are done, leave them on the back burner to stay warm while you fry up the sausage and bread pudding.
Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties
(From Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, with minimal changes)
Makes 10 patties
- 1 pound tempeh, crumbled into bite-size pieces
- 4 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari
- 1 cup cooked white/cannellini beans
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (or ground in a blender)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
- Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup brown rice bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- A few dashes fresh black pepper
Place the tempeh into a saucepan and just barely cover with water (it’s okay, even preferable, if some of the tempeh is peeking out of the water). Add 1 teaspoon of Bragg, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. Drain any remaining water and transfer the tempeh to a large bowl. Add the white beans, give a quick stir, and set aside. This will heat the beans just for a bit for easier mashing and cool the tempeh down just a bit for easier handling.
Give the saucepan a quick rinse and dry. Sauté the garlic and fennel seed in 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat, just until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the remainder of the spices and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add to the tempeh mixture along with the tomato paste and remaining tablespoon of Bragg.
Mash everything together with a potato masher or strong fork, until it’s just a bit chunky and there are no whole beans left (you don’t want it pureed, you should still be able to see the beans). Add the bread crumbs and combine well with a fork. Taste for salt and spices and adjust to your liking. Let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Form into patties, using about 3 tablespoons’ worth of the mix (you can use a quarter-cup measuring cup filled three-quarters full to make the patties consistent in size). Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the patties until brown, about 3 minutes each side. You may need to add a little more oil when you flip them over.
You will have five sausage patties left over; crumble them on top of pizza, serve them for breakfast along with pancakes and tofu scramble, or use them in another sandwich!
Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce
Makes 4+ cups
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons chickpea flour (or other gluten-free flour)
- 2 cups non-dairy milk of choice
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 cups Daiya cheddar (one 8-ounce package)
Melt coconut oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add chickpea flour, whisking until smooth. Add non-dairy milk and whisk continually for 5 minutes (to avoid lumps) until thickened. Remove from heat and add chopped chipotles as well as a couple tablespoons of adobo sauce from the can (to taste), and salt and cayenne; stir to combine. Gradually add Daiya cheddar shreds, whisking as you do so, until smooth consistency is reached (may take a few minutes).
You will have plenty of extra cheese sauce. Save it for nachos, fondue, or even as a topping for steamed veggies.
Maple Caramelized Onions
- 4 small-medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon grade-B maple syrup
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté onions for 5-7 minutes, continuously stirring, until slightly translucent. Add salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue stirring for 35 minutes until onions turn brown and caramelize. Mix in the maple syrup and cook for another 10 minutes, continuing to stir. If you like crispy, slightly burnt bits in your caramelized onions, turn the heat up to medium-high for the final 2 minutes or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
Maple “Bread Pudding”
(Adapted from “Fronch Toast” in Vegan with Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
- 8-10 slices Food For Life millet bread, slightly stale
- 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
- 1/4 cup grade-B maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
If bread slices are not stale, toast them for a minute or so to dry them out.
Pour the non-dairy milk, maple syrup, and maple extract into a shallow pan. Mix in the arrowroot and stir until dissolved. Add the chickpea flour and mix until it is mostly absorbed; some lumps are okay.
Place the bread slices in the mixture to soak for 10-15 minutes.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to create a thin layer on the bottom (a tablespoon or two). Transfer bread slices to the skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes; if they are not brown enough when you flip them, heat for 1 or 2 more minutes on each side. They should be golden brown with flecks of dark brown. You may need to add more coconut oil as you go. Optional: place bread slices on a paper towel to absorb some of the excess oil.
The Vegan Maple Sandwich Assembly
- 8-10 slices of Maple “Bread Pudding”
- 1 recipe Maple Caramelized Onions
- 4-5 Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties
- 1 cup Chipotle “Cheddar” Sauce
For each sandwich, place a slice of bread pudding on a plate. Top with as many caramelized onions as you desire (just divide the onions evenly among however many sandwiches you are making). Place a sausage patty on top of onions and top with 2-3 tablespoons of cheddar sauce. Place a second slice of bread pudding on top. If you want to be ridiculous, and it’s brunch, you could even drizzle a little extra maple syrup on top. Get out a fork, knife, and a small army of napkins and enjoy!
We hope you enjoyed this seventh post in our series of America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches…Veganized! We’ll be publishing more recipes soon.