The 9 Best Vegan Sandwich Fillings

Need ideas for vegan sandwich fillings? Look at this dietitian-created list for inspiration, including top vegan protein sources.

open faced sandwiches on a countertop with various healthy toppings

I still remember the best sandwich I’ve ever had. It was years ago, in 2009 in Salzburg, Austria.

I was with my British friend Sam on a summer day. The two of us stopped at a small deli that didn’t sell pre-made sandwiches—because everything was made to order.

I requested a vegetarian sandwich and let the shopkeeper determine what that meant. What I ended up with made my tastebuds sing: a freshly baked baguette stuffed with homemade mozzarella and fresh sun-dried tomatoes.

If you’re looking for nutritious ideas for vegan sandwich fillings, you’re in luck. Here are lots of plant-based, healthy sandwich ideas, plus the sandwich fillings ideas that are actually healthy!

A woman eating a sandwich

How to make a healthy sandwich

Whether you’re crafting a sandwich at home or ordering one at the deli counter, research in Public Health emphasizes why sandwich eaters should make smart choices about what they eat between the bread.

Here goes: About a fourth of daily calories and a third of total fat, saturated fat, and sodium intake comes from sandwiches.

This is a lot. And in the study, having a sandwich was linked with a daily increase of 99 daily calories, 6.8 grams of fat, and 268 milligrams of sodium—as well as a small decrease in vegetable and fiber intake. 

So you can see why making a healthier sandwich is so important. And thankfully, it’s really not all that difficult to accomplish. All you need is a little know how, which I’m about to give you.

Everyone loves a good sandwich, as well as fresh-out-of-the-oven bread!), which is why I often get asked, “Can you eat sandwiches and lose weight?” and “Are sandwiches healthy?”

The answer to both: Yes! You just need to make a few simple swaps. Use these ideas to build a handheld meal that tastes good and is good for you.

I promise, these ideas for vegan sandwich fillings will make your co-workers who are eating day-old subs jealous.

slices of avocado toast with chopped tomatoes on a plate

Choose a healthier bread

Save calories by using just one slice of bread as a base for your vegan sandwich. This tweak will cut at least 80 calories from your meal! You can also choose to use a lighter bread with less calories, such as Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Grains Thin-Sliced.

Add lots of veggies

Load your sandwich with veggies, such as spinach, red onion, and tomato.

Skip Paninis

At least, do this at a restaurant or at the deli counter! Panini sandwiches tend to be basted with oil or butter to help with the grilling at most restaurants.

Even if you’re ordering a grilled or toasted sandwich, it’s a good idea to ask about how it’s prepped and to request that minimal oil and no butter be used.

Add a pairing

Serve a vegan sandwich with a salad or veggie-based soup to help make the meal more filling. Try a bowl of tomato soup, or go with a Mediterranean vegetable salad.

A close up of a sandwich and a cup of coffee on a table

9 vegan sandwich fillings

When you’re packing up healthy sandwiches for work, use these ideas for vegan sandwich fillings for endless sandwich creations.

1. Veggies

I like to pile my sandwich high with veggies. Seriously, those sandwich makers at Subway always give me the “is this sandwich really going to close with all these veggies?” look.

I love adding spinach, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, red onion, mushrooms, and other vegetables to my sandwiches.

Even if you’re not making a sandwich at home, you can ask for veggies to be added to your sandwich.

2. Tofu

This is a wonderful protein source for vegan sandwiches. The vegan sandwich filling is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.

You can use extra-firm tofu, which tastes wonderful grilled. Prior to grilling, slice and press the tofu with paper towels to remove as much water as possible. You can also bake tofu to get it nice and crispy.

3. Tempeh

Like tofu, tempeh is also a complete soy protein. It’s a grain-based meat substitute.

First, steam tempeh about 10 minutes. Then cool it, prior to grilling. If you’d like, you can use a teriyaki marinade.

top down view of a bowl of chickpea soup

4. Chickpeas

In addition to filling protein, chickpeas also offer satiating fiber and are a wonerful vegan sandwich filling. Sauté chickpeas with olive oil and seasoning of your choice (I love garlic and red pepper flakes).

Serve atop a slice of bread with grilled bell peppers and onions, and top with shredded lettuce.

5. Hummus

This tasty spread is made from chickpeas and offers protein and fiber. Spread it onto your sandwich in lieu of vegan mayo.

6. Other condiments

Spread on mustard or even barbecue sauce. These condiments are wonderfully creamy and contain a lot less calories than mayo.

A teaspoon of Maille Old-Style Mustard, for example, is packed with flavor but only contains 10 calories. Sriracha is another great low-calorie flavor addition.

7. Peanut butter

Yes, the old sandwich staple makes the most wonderful vegan sandwich filling.

Peanuts are a good source of both protein and fiber—a combination of ingredients that helps to keep you fuller for longer.

You also get healthy monounsaturated fats from peanut butter, which help with that filling factor, plus an array of vitamins minerals in each peanut. This includes vitamin E, folate, magnesium, and potassium.

a slice of toast topped with broccoli and sliced avocado on a wooden board

8. Healthy fats

Healthy fat like avocado, olives, and olive oil are delicious on a sandwich. And they offer heart-healthy fats that help keep you fuller for longer.

But choose just one to include! That means about a third of an avocado, about 10 sliced olives, or two to three teaspoons of olive oil.

9. Spices

Many extremely flavorful spices and herbs add a ton of flavor for almost no calories.

These include oregano, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic. You can go with either fresh or dried varieties, as both types add a big flavor punch.

Final thoughts

When it comes to vegan sandwich fillings, you have many ideas to make a tasty, satisfying sandwich.

Need ideas for vegan sandwich fillings? Look at this dietitian-created list for inspiration, including top vegan protein sources.

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you’d add anything to this list of vegan sandwich fillings.

Plant-Based Eating |

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