Day 5: Best sandwich ever.
I love and hate today’s prompt. Love, because a good sandwich can be sublime. When quality bread meets fresh veggies, a savory protein, and a spreadable fat, beautiful things happen. Hate, because best ever?! How am I supposed to decide? I haven’t tasted all the sandwiches! It’s too much pressure! I can’t do it!
What I can do, however, is share my absolute favorite go-to sandwich, the one I make when I have a little prep time. It doesn’t sound like much more than a glorified TLT, but the flavor profile is totally different thanks to sauerkraut and Dijon mustard. This “recipe” is also flexible; you can modify it based on whatever veggies and toppings you have in the house. Just make sure to include the marinated tofu!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Quality bread. Homemade is great, but today I’m using Trader Joe’s sourdough pane. I usually prefer a grainier bread, but this is what I have!
- Spread. Vegan mayonnaise and a good Dijon mustard work perfectly here. Don’t use anything with too much unique flavor, like pesto.
- Sauerkraut. It adds such a perfect tang!
- Sprouts. I used home-sprouted mung beans. You don’t need anything fancy; these were only sprouted for a day! I use a Handy Pantry stacking sprout garden and love it, but you can go old-school with a jar and cheesecloth.
- Marinated Sandwich Tofu. See below! You can make this in advance and use it cold, or eat it hot off the pan. Mmm.
- Veggies. Sliced fresh tomatoes and a few pieces of lettuce are my go-to. I’ll also add some avocado if I have it!
Marinated Sandwich Tofu
Serves two to three
- 1 block extra-firm tofu (14-16 oz), pressed for at least an hour (if you have time)
- 2 T low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- Scant 1/2 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce like Frank’s (optional)
- 1/2 tsp maple syrup or maple sugar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Dash liquid smoke (more if you’re particularly fond of the flavor)
In a large container with an airtight lid, whisk together all the marinate ingredients (everything except the tofu). It might not look like much marinade, but it’s enough!
Prep your pressed tofu by laying it down on a cutting board and cutting it in half. Turn those two halves on their sides and slice them into four wide slices each, for a total of eight large slices.
Using a fork, poke a few shallow holes in each slab of tofu. Don’t poke too deeply; you’re not trying to go all the way through. You just want to create a few more nooks and crannies for the marinade to penetrate.
One slice of tofu at a time, place each side of the tofu in the marinade so all sides are coated. Depending on the size of your container, you might have enough room for all the tofus to lay flat. If not, you can stack them once they’re coated on each side. Cover the container and refrigerate it.
Marinate for at least 30 minutes, gently flipping the container over halfway through.
When you’re ready to cook the tofu, heat a little vegetable or olive oil in a heavy pan on low-medium heat — I like to use cast iron — and cook as many tofus as fit comfortably at a time. Don’t overcrowd it, though, or you’ll break a tofu! Cook for about 4 minutes on either side, but you can cook for longer if you want a crispy crust.
To assemble the sandwich, toast two slices of bread per sandwich very lightly. Spread liberally with mustard, mayo, or whatever spread you’re using. Place two slices of tofu on one slice of bread and a pile of sauerkraut on the other, being sure to let the sauerkraut drain for a second before adding it so the sandwich isn’t too watery. Then pile on the other ingredients, smoosh together, slice in half, and get your nom on!