Fill-in-the-Blank Salad Sandwich

Chicken, tuna, egg, etc. + mayo = a salad sandwich. These popular combinations make for easy sandwich building, as the protein, produce, and condiments are prepared in one mixture. I have found that you either love or hate a salad sandwich, likely due to your feelings about mayo. Travis detests mayo, so he would only even consider one of these sandwiches if it were practically dry.

I, personally, love the creamy consistency and convenience of a salad sandwich, pending it isn’t soupy or drippy (soggy bread: no no no). Since I no longer eat mayo and don’t like to buy processed, vegan mayo substitutes, I had to get creative. Having already experimented with making my own creamy dressing, pesto, and potato salad, I knew that I really just needed to come up with a suitable protein base.

I have found that beans or lentils + raw fruits and vegetables work best for the ideal texture, but you could also use tofu. Since tofu has so much water in it, you would want to dehydrate it in the oven or on the stovetop first. This will result in a consistency similar to chicken, without the extra moisture to water down the creamy element of your filling.

Today, I’ve featured one of my favorite small kitchen appliances: the panini press. Travis and I received this one as a wedding gift over four years ago and it’s still going strong. I love that the plates are nonstick, so coating bread with butter or oil isn’t necessary. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m making my curry salad sandwich (chickpea base) into a panini on sourdough bread, fresh from San Francisco.


All in all, this formula is pretty simple and keeps well in the fridge for days. You could easily make a big batch to have on hand for sandwiches or wraps all week long and opt either to mix your produce right in or keep it separate (which is what I like to do). This way, you can change up the combinations from sandwich to sandwich to suit the taste preferences of different household members. Enjoy!


Makes 4 sandwiches

  • 1 ½ cups cooked protein (beans or lentils, or chopped, dehydrated extra firm tofu) –> I’m using chickpeas.
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion –> I’m using green.
  • ¼ cup mayo substitute (seed/nut butter, vegan pesto, pureed avocado, etc.) –> I’m using tahini + a few tablespoons of water.
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup “crunch” (chopped raw nuts/seeds, unsweetened dried fruit, etc.) (optional) –> I’m not using any.
  • Spices, fresh/dried herbs, salt, and pepper to taste (optional) –> I’m using 1 tsp each cumin and garam masala, ½ tsp turmeric, and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt.
  • Additional raw fruits/vegetables to mix in or for garnishing –> I’m topping with my salad with a few thin slices of roma tomato and green pepper, and slathering my bread with whole grain mustard.

Coarsely smash your beans/lentils, if using.


Combine all ingredients.


Assemble with additional produce on bread or in a wrap, if desired.


I’m running my sandwich through a panini press before consuming. 🙂

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