This is one of those recipes that compels even non-vegans to say, "If all vegan food tasted this way, I would never eat meat again." The tangy quick-pickled red onions draped over shredded kale and fresh basil are perfectly balanced by creamy avocado, sweet grape tomatoes, smoky roasted red peppers, earthy mushrooms, and a thick layer of roasted garlic hummus. Every bite is a symphony of flavors.
And, this sandwich is easy! From craving to plate, it takes only about five minutes to prepare. I'm not normally very time-sensitive when it comes to cooking (I would spend hours in the kitchen for a worthy recipe), but when I was working on my recent book The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Families, I had to craft recipes that could be prepared in 30 minutes or less. It was such a fun project to work on and gave me tons of new ideas for quick, easy gluten-free lunches.
The recipe came about, as many do, as a refrigerator yard sale -- but it worked beyond my wildest expectations. If you do not have one or more of the ingredients, don't sweat it. If you prefer to swap kale for lettuce or arugula, go for it. A vegan mayonnaise would work just as well as the hummus, but straight tahini has an overwhelming bitterness that did not work here. I used roasted, jarred piquillo peppers because they taste as good or better than homemade roasted red peppers. The one thing I cannot do without here is the pickled red onions. They are tangy, crunchy, briny, perfection.
The most important tip for making this sandwich is to have all of the ingredients ready before you begin assembling the sandwich. The red onions should soak for a couple minutes. Also, the hummus soaks into the bread quickly and it loses its toastiness if you, say, try to photograph it. Just put the phone down and eat! You can post a pic of your empty plate and tag me on Instagram @modernfamilytable
As for a vegan, gluten-free sandwich bread, I went with a brand I found at Sprouts. Whole Foods likely carries it as well, but I cannot find it online. I looked at One Green Planet for recommendations and was sorely disappointed -- most of their suggestions were those gluten-free bricks that dominated the gluten-free section of the grocery store around 2008.
You could also make your own gluten-free, vegan sandwich bread, which I intend to do this afternoon using aquafaba and this recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out! At $5 to $6 a loaf in stores, it is pricey, especially if you're not accustomed to paying the gluten-free markup.
Everyday Vegan Sandwich
2-3 thin slices red onion
Splash red wine vinegar
2 slices vegan, gluten-free bread, toasted
2 tablespoons hummus
2 Cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 roasted piquillo peppers, thinly sliced
Handful grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded kale
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
- Begin by quick-pickling the onions. Place them in a ramekin and season with sea salt. Pour in a few teaspoons of red wine vinegar and massage gently with your fingers. Set aside.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of the hummus on one slice of bread and top with the mushroom slices, piquillo peppers, grape tomatoes, basil, avocado, and shredded kale.
- Remove the onions, shaking off any excess vinegar. Set them over the kale.
- Slather the remaining hummus on the second slice of bread and set it on the sandwich. Enjoy immediately.