Have you ever had a food experience that stuck with you, like a sense memory? For me, that’s this sandwich. 13-ish years ago, on the other side of the country, I experienced a flavor combination that is forever embedded in my taste memory bank.
During this time of my life I worked in Boston in a VERY BORING JOB at a software company. Think TPS Reports. In a job like that, lunch was the highlight of the day. And so it was that on a beautiful spring day I went off in search of sustenance and happened upon a neighborhood sandwich shop and my taste buds were forever changed. Was the experience that revelatory? Well, I remember it 13 years later and it inspired this sandwich recipe, so yeah, I’d say so. I don’t remember much, so when I do, I celebrate it.
So what was this life-changing sandwich, you ask? I don’t remember if it had a witty name, but the ingredients list was short and simple. Whole wheat sourdough bread, turkey, avocado, shredded carrots, and wasabi mayonnaise. Sounds super weird, doesn’t it? And yet, it totally worked. I had found my new favorite lunch.
These days, I skip the turkey in favor of plant-based proteins (as you have come to know via the recipes here), and as I set about reliving that sense memory by way of sandwich, I was pretty excited to land on something that brought me right back to that first bite. And now I get to share it with YOU!
Here are the cast of characters for the Tofusion Vegetable Sandwich:
Extra-Firm Tofu, sliced thinly and briefly marinated in a bit of soy sauce
Savory Cashew Cream (or vegan mayo), mixed with wasabi powder to taste
Carrots, shaved into ribbons with your new favorite peeler
English cucumber, more ribbons, same peeler
Cilantro, rinsed and thick stems trimmed
Here’s how I put it together!
First, generously spread the wasabi-flavored savory cashew cream. That’s a mouthful. You can totally use vegan mayo (Vegenaise and Just Mayo are both great), but the savory cashew cream is something I make at least once a week and has so many uses beyond sandwich spreads, that I really recommend it here. In fact, just the other day I had a comment come in about the recipe that made me smile from ear to ear.
“I just have to tell you how excited I was when I tried this recipe; I’ve been looking for a mayo substitute for years and was never completely satisfied. This recipe is perfect, and I had all the ingredients to make it when I saw it on Pinterest, so I immediately went and made it; I could eat this stuff with a spoon, and can’t wait to use it in dressings and sandwich spreads. Thanks for giving me one more opportunity to replace a store bought item with something superior.” – Gloria
Oh, and for any of you no-nut-eaters, I’m testing a nut-free version too. Stay tuned. 🙂
Next up, layer the tofu on one side of the bread and the avocado on the other. This is done on purpose because the wasabi flavor matches up with the tofu and avocado really well. Also it forms a bit of a moisture barrier for the veggies to come. Speaking of…
Now it’s time to pile on those beautiful ribbons of carrot and cucumber! If you don’t have a reliable peeler (I seriously love this thing), you can grate the carrots and thinly slice the cucumber. It will still be pretty and delicious.
And for the final crowning glory, a big handful of fresh cilantro. If you are one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap (I’m sorry), don’t worry, this sandwich still tastes great without it. Or you could also do mint! Hmm…that’s an idea…
First Facebook Live Demo!
When I started writing this recipe, I struggled to come up with a name. So, I did what any desperate word-starved recipe developer would do – I crowdsourced it. I did my first live video demo on Facebook in an effort to collect name suggestions, and I’m proud to say that three different suggestions combined into the perfect name. So, thanks to my super name suggesters! Geoff and Dacia both suggested “Tofusion” (well, Geoff said To-fusion, but close enough), and my sweet niece Alexis suggested “The Vegetable Sandwich” (she calls it like it is). So, it only made sense to call it a Tofusion Vegetable Sandwich. It’s short, simple, and to the point. My kind of name. Thanks again, Alexis, Dacia, and Geoff! I’ll get to work on your cookies right away. 🙂
So there you have it, folks! Thanks for indulging my trip down sandwich memory lane. If you try this crazy concoction, will you let me know by leaving a comment here or sharing on Facebook or Instagram? Or send me a snap!
I leave you with another name suggestion that I almost used – Sushibahn (Sushi Bahn Mi sandwich, since there is flavor crossover). I ended up passing because I couldn’t stop thinking about this.
- 8 slices whole wheat sourdough bread
- 1 package extra firm tofu, thinly sliced
- 3 T. low-sodium soy sauce (use Tamari or Coconut Aminos for gluten-free option)
- ½ cup savory cashew cream (or vegan mayo)
- 1 tsp. wasabi powder, or to taste
- 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, shaved into ribbons or shredded
- 1 english cucumber, shaved into ribbons or shredded
- 1 bunch of cilantro, hardy stems trimmed
- Place tofu slices in a small dish and pour soy sauce over to marinate.
- Mix wasabi powder into savory cashew cream (or vegan mayo), and set aside. Add more wasabi powder to taste.
- Spread wasabi cashew cream or mayo onto the bread.
- Layer tofu on one piece of bread and avocado on the other.
- Layer the carrots, cucumber, and cilantro to complete the sandwich.