Loaded Veggie Sandwiches for Back-to-School
Make the most of summer produce—juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy sprouts, and creamy avocado—with this loaded veggie sandwich. It’s easy to customize!
Colorful summer produce brings one thought to mind: it’s sandwich time. While I love fresh salads, my favorite way to enjoy peak veggies is in sandwich form. Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy sprouts, tangy pickled onions, creamy avocado, and savory cheese—the combination of flavors and textures can’t be beat.
The key to making a great veggie sandwich is high quality, fresh produce and really good bread. Sad, mealy tomatoes and shredded lettuce are not going to cut it, and neither is squishy white bread.
Since this sandwich is fully loaded, it’s important to build your ingredients in the right order. I’ve engineered the layers to prevent soggy bread and help keep the sandwich together as it travels from the plate to your mouth.
Loaded veggie sandwiches are an ideal summer lunch. The ingredients need minimal prep, there’s no cooking involved, and you can pack them up and take them on the go. They’re also extremely easy to customize by using different condiments and fillings.
The Best Bread for Loaded Sandwiches
My favorite bread for veggie sandwiches is a rustic country loaf or sourdough. It provides a crisp crust, soft interior, and nice flavor. It’s also sturdy enough to hold up to the many fillings, unlike store-bought sandwich bread.
Whatever bread you choose—ciabatta and focaccia are good choices—make sure it can handle lots of veggies and condiments without falling apart. I recommend toasting softer bread before building your sandwich.
The Best Cheese to Complement the Vegetables
While the cheese is not the star of show in this veggie sandwich, it does add some nice texture and flavor. I like to use sharp cheddar cheese that’s already conveniently sliced.
Other good options include Swiss and havatri, or you could even smear some fresh goat cheese directly onto the bread. Leave out the cheese altogether or swap it for a cheese alternative for a dairy-free sandwich.
The Best Veggies
For me, the key to this sandwich is heirloom tomatoes. I wait until they’re in season and buy beautiful, flavorful summer tomatoes at the farmers market. As soon as they show up, that’s my cue to stock up on other vegetables and pick up a loaf of bread at the bakery.
Persian cucumbers are the perfect size for slicing lengthwise into long, thin strips, which are less likely to slide off of the sandwich. Make sure your sprouts are very fresh, since they have a short shelf life. You can swap the sprouts for more lettuce if needed.
Pickled red onions add a nice zing to the sandwich. You can easily swap them with fresh red onion for a brighter, spicier flavor, or swap for pickles for a more pronounced tangy crunch.
- Gluten-free: Use your favorite gluten-free bread. Most varieties are sturdier than wheat breads, but you may want to toast them a bit for better texture.
- Vegan: Replace the cheese with a non-dairy option or leave it out altogether and swap the mayo for vegan mayonnaise, like Vegenaise.
- Fun veggie swaps: I consider the tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers to be non-negotiable, but play around with the others. Try roasted red peppers, pickles, marinated kale, shaved carrots, shredded cabbage or coleslaw, and more.
- Fun condiment swaps: If you like your condiments to have a lot of personality, try using your favorite, like pesto, tapenade, chili crisp, or chipotle mayo.
Vegetarian Sandwiches We Love
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Avocado Lettuce Tomato Sandwich (ALT)
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Sauerkraut on Rye
- Cucumber Sandwiches
- Grilled Eggplant Sandwich
Prepare the vegetables:
Trim the ends of the cucumbers and slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick long strips. Core and slice the tomato into 1/3-inch slices.
Add the condiments and avocado:
Spread 2 slices of bread with mayonnaise and 2 slices of bread with mustard. Arrange them so there is one of each for 2 sandwiches.
Halve and pit the avocado. Slice one half into slices, peel, and add the avocado to a mustard-topped slice of bread. Use a knife to smear and lightly press the slices into the bread, mashing them a bit to help them adhere without damaging the bread.
Repeat with the rest of the avocado for the second sandwich.
Add the vegetables:
Top the avocado with sprouts, dividing evenly between the 2 sandwiches. Add slices of tomato in a single layer on top of the sprouts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Divide the pickled red onions evenly between the 2 sandwiches on top of the tomato. Top each with a lettuce leaf, then slices of cheese. Finally, add the long slices of cucumber to each sandwich, then top with the mayo-slathered slices of bread, mayo-side down.
Press the top lightly to adhere.
If desired, slice the sandwich in half down the center using a sharp chef’s knife. To help it stay together, poke a long toothpick in each half. Serve immediately.
Any leftover sliced vegetables should be wrapped tightly and stored in the fridge for 1-2 days. Eat assembled sandwiches as soon as possible.
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