I’ve just seen some tweets – and delish pics – saying that it is British Sandwich Week, and I thought, “Hmm..I have just the thing to celebrate.” And indeed I do. Something sweet yet spicy, with plenty of satisfying vegetarian protein and fibre, and loaded with thinly sliced and, possibly – your call – vinegar-doused vegetables. Does that sound tempting?
I rarely, rarely eat sandwiches these days. Not that I am averse to carbs – not. at. all. But it is just that I often will have sourdough toast with poached eggs, smashed and herbed up avocado, or stir-fried greens for breakfast; porridge if it’s colder and I need an edible hug. So, a typical at-home lunch is often a soup with a crisp bread, some leftovers heated up, a grain and/or green salad. But almost never a sandwich.
I have had this idea kicking around for years. Yes, actual years. First of all, I liked the alliteration and the way it actually sounds when spoken. I would love to go up to a lunch counter and say the words, “Bang Bang Bagel, please. Extra sriracha. Hold the fries. No, I don’t want to ‘go large.’ “ Secondly, I just knew these flavours would click – the naturally sweet-savoury nut butter, buttery avocado, hot-tangy sriracha, lightly vinegared vegetables, smoky pan-fried tofu…
Why I didn’t immediately set to making it is one of life’s mysteries, but I rectified this deficit this very week. Even with stale bagels (I had bought them at the weekend) it made for a very lip-smacking repast. And Andrew had one the next day at work, the box coming back as if licked clean. And I got a verbal thumbs up, too.
This is more an idea elaborated so, if you fancy the sound of it, really just make it your own. Try tempeh or marinated tofu instead of the smoked tofu, whatever nut butter you like (or make your own), and any vegetables that you can slice thinly to get the sweetest flavour (it’s all about maximising the surface area to volume ratio – just trust me on this one). Vinegar or no. Your call completely.
What is your favourite sandwich of all time? (Mine is grilled cheese and dill pickle! Nostalgic reasons)
Bang Bang Tofu Bagel
I’ve tried to re-create some of the flavours of traditional bang bang chicken, but with a huge twist of it being vegan, and in a bagel! Feel free to play with the ingredients to suit your own tastes and needs. It will be good whatever you do with it.
Don’t fancy soy? Why not a grilled Portabella mushroom instead. Bread not your thing? Wrap it in a big ol’ Romaine leaf or your favourite grain-free wrap. Sorted!
1/3 – 1/2 cake of firm tofu, sliced “like bacon” – marinated, smoked, or otherwise infused, is best here
1 tsp oil
1-2 bagels (you may wish to share one bagel between two people if not very hungry as it is very filling), sliced and partially hollowed out if you like
2 tbsp nut butter of choice
2 tsp lime juice (optional)
Sriracha sauce or hot sauce of choice – to taste
1 carrot, shredded or thinly sliced (you won’t use it all)
2 inches of cucumber, thinly sliced and marinated in 1 tsp rice vinegar for a few minutes
Small amount of lettuce, thinly sliced (I used Romaine)
2 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced lengthways
1/4 – 1/2 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
Fresh seed sprouts – I used some quinoa ones from Good 4 U Nutrition (Tesco and Sainsburys)
Toasted sesame seeds
1. Heat the oil in a small sauté pan and sear the tofu until coloured on both sides. Pop a lid on it and keep it warm.
2. Stir together the nut butter, lime juice if using, and sriracha sauce. Set aside.
3. Lightly toast the bagel if you wish.
4. Spread half of the spicy nut butter on one half of each bagel/half bagel and start topping it with the tofu strips and the vegetables and seeds. Halve and demolish with greedy intent. Sharing allowed, but not mandatory.
More sandwich-type things on food to glow:
Grilled Shiitake Kimcheese (this is fab if you like kimchi like I do!)
And from friends:
Chickpea Salad Sandwich – the muffin myth
Masala Paneer, Roasted Pepper and Spinach Wrap – deena kakaya
Carrot, Hummus and Avocado Sandwich – tinned tomatoes
Falafel, Beetroot and Goats Cheese Wraps – tinned tomatoes
Green Goddess Sandwich – amuse your bouche