Have you ever thought of the importance of names when it comes to food? Names are a passion of mine which is why today’s recipe in our sandwich series is appropriately assigned to me. That’s because two of the key ingredients in today’s sandwich have very interesting names.
More about names in a minute, but first let’s talk a little about why we’re here. Endless Simmer recently published a post called America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches which was immediately recognized as a hit and further promoted on the Huffington Post.
I felt a little like Rodney Dangerfield meets Stan Laurel after reading that post. Scratching my head with a half wimper and half scowl I thought, “Why don’t we vegans get any respect?”
That’s when my aha! moment came and I reached out to some vegan bloggers to begin a new series veganizing these sandwiches. We were all enthusiastic about the idea, but soon realized the daunting task before us. That’s because these sandwiches included some challenging ingredients to veganize like bulgogi steak and suckling pig meats slathered with fatty cheeses. All of them required skillful recipe redesigns in order to veganize them. All of them except for today’s, that is.
Today’s sandwich, The Brussels Sprout Sandwich, appeared to be already vegan. And somehow that sandwich ended in my bailiwick. With nothing but a photograph to work from and my crazy imagination, I set out developing a recipe.
It didn’t take long before I realized how perfect this recipe was for me. You all probably know by now how much I love names. And the leading lady in this sandwich, Brussels sprouts, has a unique name indeed. Although its first appearance may be traced back to Roman days, the modern-day Brussels sprout originated in Belgium which is where the name is attributed. They’re in the cruciferous family of vegetables which means they’re loaded with wonderful nutrients.
The sandwich’s supporting actress is the Granny Smith Apple. My favorite story for how this apple got its name comes from the comedian Eddie Izzard. Here’s Eddie’s version of the story:
Mrs. Smith: “My name is Mrs. Smith. I’ve made apples out of bread and dripping a bit of green paint on corrugated iron.”
Apple Naming Commission: No, these are horrible apples, Mrs. Smith. Go away, Mrs. Smith. Go away until your daughter has a baby.
Mrs. Smith: (goes away and now speaking to daughter). Shag, daughter, shag! It’s a marketing idea. Shag for babies!
Mrs. Smith: (back before the ANC) My daughter’s had a baby. I’m Granny Smith now!
Apple Naming Commission: Come in, Granny Smith! You wonderful idea, you! Come in with your shiny apples!
A Veer of Vegans
A Veer of Vegans is a technical term that means a group of vegans. You know, like a gaggle of geese. Or a murder of crows? Except I think those are terms that have been given by some sort of official people. I just made up the term “veer” of vegans, but I think it works. First of all, I love alliteration and use it whenever I can. Unable to find a “v” word meaning group, I perused common “V” words and landed on veer. The word veer means to change directions and Vegans can help “veer” your diet in the right direction. Thus, a Veer of Vegans!
So this veer of vegan bloggers has been rebuilding each of these America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches into tasty and healthier versions of themselves. Here’s what we’ve done 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.
- Sandwich No. 4, The Maple, features two hot slices of maple-currant french toast loaded with savory tempeh, white bean sausage, and smothered with “mapleized” onions and vegan chipotle cheddar cheese.
- Sandwich No. 3, The Lasagna Bolognese, with lasagna bolognese, grilled sweet red pepper, and a vegan mozzarella spread, served on a round roll.
Today’s recipe, the Brussels Sprout Sandwich, was prepared and photographed by yours truly. Although simple in ingredients, it was a bit tricky to figure out how to get the sprouts to cooperate. They had a tendency to want to slip off the sandwich which is why I coaxed them to stay in place by adding some of our favorite hummus. The end result was a deliciously-flavored sandwich chock-full of healthy veggies. A venerable vegan delight!
Brussels Sprout Sandwich
Makes 4 10-inch sandwiches
- 1 Recipe Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts (below)
- 1 Recipe Apple Lime Peanut Slaw
- 1 Recipe Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Chopped Roasted Peanuts
- Hoagie rolls
Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts
- 24 small Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
- Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of craisins (optional)
Wash the Brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir them around a bit to coat them all evenly.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don’t overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the Brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt and add garlic and craisins (if you have them), cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a little bit of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they’re tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt and a bit of pepper.
Apple Lime Peanut Slaw
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into thin matchsticks
- ⅛ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- ½ cup green cabbage, finely shredded
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegan mayo, (optional)
Combine the agave nectar and spices together in a small bowl and add the EVOO. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I also added 1 tablespoon of vegan mayo to thicken the mixture some.
Next combine the cabbage, apples, and peanuts in a bowl, add the dressing and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate to let the seasonings saturate the slaw.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 19-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 small cloves garlic
- ½ cup roasted red bell peppers, drained
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ Tablespoon tamari or Bragg
- ¼ cup oil (flax, olive, hemp)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Makes approx. 2 cups.
Brussels Sprout Sandwich Assembly
Toast sliced hoagie rolls until just lightly toasted. Remove and spread a dollop of red pepper hummus on both sides of the roll. That’s good enough to eat as it is, but try to resist and instead position several golden-crusted Brussels sprouts on the bottom half of the bun. Top with the apple slaw and add chopped peanuts to taste. Make the sandwich complete by placing the top half of the bun in position and dig in. I never would have thought of putting Brussels sprouts and Granny Smith slaw on a sandwich before, but the combination of flavors is perfect.