Wraps and sandwiches are the ultimate outdoor food, but when I switched to a vegetarian diet, I found it challenging to find vegetarian wraps and sandwiches that I liked. Over the past seven years, I’ve developed an equation for creating yummy homemade vegetarian wraps every time: the ‘7S Sammie Equation’.
Pick your wrapping base from the list below. Three-quarters of your filling should be both substance-your featured ingredient- and stuffing-the healthy, cheaper components that support the feature. Flavoring-split into the four categories of sweet, salty or spicy, spread, and special-completes the final quarter of the filling.
- Tortilla, large (whole wheat if possible)
- Large lettuce leaf
- Rice paper
- Kale leaves, stems shaved down or removed
- Nori seaweed
Substance is the ‘main course’ part of your wrap or sandwich – generally the protein. It’s usually the most expensive part of the meal. Leftovers are your friends. I recommend making substance 1/3 – 1/2 of your main filling.
- Starchy/meaty vegetables
- eggplant, roasted or fried
- butternut or acorn squash, roasted
- red garnet yam/sweet potato, baked
- root vegetable medley (potatoes, parsnips, turnips, beets, carrots), roasted
- portobello mushroom, grilled
- vegetarian stew or curry
- Soy products
- tofu – fried, marinated and baked, or angelic tofu (like egg salad)
- tempeh – fried, marinated and baked, crumbled and cooked as chili or sloppy joes, tempeh bacon
- crumbled soy products – I like Yves meatless ground round
- Egg, hard-boiled or egg salad
- Vegetarian meat substitutes
Stuffing is the healthy, cheap filler for your wrap. I recommend making stuffing 1/2-2/3 of your main filling.
- shredded cabbage
- brown rice
- bulgur / tabbouleh
- Sauteed vegetables
- Steamed vegetables
- broccoli or cauliflower
- Raw vegetables
- bell pepper
- Mashed potatoes
Enhance the flavor of your wrap by using a little element from each category: sweet, spicy or salty, spread, and special.
- Sweet pickle
- Honey mustard
- Cranberry sauce
- Dill pickles
- Dijon mustard
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Hot sauce
- Raw onion
I find some kind of spread essential on vegetarian wraps and sammies to prevent them from being too dry.
- Baba ghanouj
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro)
- Fancy cheese
- Roasted garlic
Tips for Choosing Your Combinations
- Pick a flavor profile – Mexican, Indian, American, Italian, etc – or mimic a traditional sandwich, like club, blt, or tuna.
- Consider whether you’ll have access to a toaster or microwave.
- Incorporate different textures – I like to include carrots and nuts for crunch to contrast refried beans or mashed potatoes.
- Shape your wrap around your substance and/or your special items. Fresh cilantro and refried beans suggests mexican, whereas fresh cilantro and dal veers indian.
- Exercise restraint with the flavorings. Often, a spreads or sweet/salty/spicy will double for the special – for me, pesto is both spread and special. Pick complementary flavorings, and omit a flavor category if you don’t have quite the right thing. If a flavor will be too subtle and will be masked by the other ingredients, save it for a better purpose – for example, roasted garlic can be overpowered by pesto or even other fillings, if there isn’t enough.
My Favorite Vegetarian Wrap and Sandwich Recipes
The Extra-Veg Burrito Field Wrap (No-Heat)
I ate this or slight variations on it for lunch for three months while interning as a wildlife biologist in Southern California. If I was feeling spendy I’d add avocado.
- Refried beans (1/4 c –ish)
- Roasted sweet potato (1/4 small-medium potato)
- Quinoa (1/4 c -ish)
- Jack cheese (2 slices)
- Salsa (1-2 T)
- Sour cream (1-2 T)
- Cilantro (small handful)
- Red onion, raw (1/2-1 thick slice, diced)
- Walnut halves (4-5)
- Carrot, quartered
- Red bell pepper, sliced (3-4 slices)
- Lettuce (2 leaves)
Spread refried beans down the center of the tortilla. Press sweet potato chunks and walnuts into the refried beans and top with cheese. Lay carrots and red bell pepper along one side of the beans. Spread a stripe of salsa along the other side. Sprinkle red onion and cilantro on top, and space out sour cream in 3-4 dollops. Top with lettuce. Roll like a burrito and wrap tightly in foil.
The Deluxe Toasted Cheese (Toaster Needed)
- Bread, whole-wheat (2 slices)
- Cheddar cheese (2-3 slices)
- Red onion slice, quartered (1/2-1 slice)
- Pesto (or even better, roasted beet pesto)
- Mini sweet pickle, sliced thin (1/2-1 pickle)
- Hot or dijon mustard
- Mayonnaise, thin layer (optional)
- Alfalfa sprouts (small handful) (optional)
Spread pesto on one slice of bread and put cheese on top, laying it out so there are no gaps in cheese coverage. On the other slice of bread, spread mayonnaise and mustard, and press pickle and red onion into the spread. Toast open-faced so that the cheese melts. Add sprouts, if using, and combine slices. Serve with a green salad or grapes and a carrot.
The Sausage Grill Sandwich (No-Heat OK)
I make this frequently right after Thanksgiving when I have cranberry sauce around.
- Vegetarian sausage – I use Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage
- Bread, whole wheat (2 slices)
- Onion, sliced (1/4-1/2 onion)
- Red bell pepper, sliced (1/4-1/2 bell pepper)
- Cheese (2 slices)
- Dijon mustard
- Cranberry sauce
- Lettuce (1-2 leaves)
Slice sausage lengthwise into two or three slices. In a large pan, grill sausages on one side while sauteeing the onions and peppers on the other. Spread cranberry sauce on one slice of bread and set aside. Spread mayo and mustard on the bread and lay out the cheese. When the sausages are lightly browned on both sides, place on top of the cheese and pile the sauteed onions and peppers on top. Cap with the lettuce and the other piece of bread.
The Roasted Root Veg Wrap (No-Heat OK)
This is an ideal winter wrap.
- Roasted root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots)
- Quinoa or rice pilaf
- Sour cream
- Sauteed onion
- Jack cheese
- Honey mustard
- Walnuts (optional)
The Italian Eggplant (Toaster needed)
Best in the summer with fresh eggplant, basil, and tomato.
- Ciabatta roll
- Eggplant (2-3 slices)
- White cheese – mozzarella, jack, havarti (2 slices)
- Onion, thick slice
- Fresh tomato slice (optional)
- Fresh basil leaves (you can substitute some lettuce if you don’t have basil)
Slice eggplant and red onion about a quarter inch thick. Prepare eggplant and onion by broiling, baking, grilling, or sauteeing (my preference) with olive oil and salt and pepper until soft. Spread pesto on ciabatta, top with cheese, and toast. Lay out eggplant, onion, tomato, and basil leaves on bread and enjoy! Warning: have a napkin handy.