One of the hardest things to enjoy when you’re trying to cut back on meat is the sandwich. The best sandwiches on the planet are stacked with delicious animals. I’m certain that if hostile aliens, hell-bent on destroying Earth, would only try a Csavargo sandwich at Armoury in Deep Ellum before firing, they’d befriend us instead.
There are vegetable-focused sandwiches, however, that don’t suck, and some that will make you forget you’ve ever heard of pork belly. The No Bull burger with mushrooms and onions at Cosmic Cafe is delicious alongside a bowl of dahl. Spiral Diner has a beautiful, somehow unforgettable vegan “bacon ranch cheeseburger.” Even though there’s screamingly fresh fish, 20 Feet Seafood Co.’s falafel po-boy is wildly underrated.
Some of the best sandwiches, however, would cure the meatiest of souls. These are eight excellent veggie sandwiches in Dallas:
The Tomato and Mozzarella Supreme at Latin Deli
5844 Abrams Road
Although the word “supreme” might make you think you’re getting a boatload of pepperoni and sausage, what’s actually beneath the wrapping paper is a fresh-as-sunlight summer sandwich. Bolts of basil, smooth avocado and pickled onions spark up the fresh mozzarella, like a caprese with the volume turned high. The slivers of sautéed jalapeño, mellow but still holding onto that bright pepper flavor, make this one of the best vegetarian sandwiches in Dallas.
The Vegetarian Burger at Old Monk
2847 N. Henderson Ave.
The patty’s a warming, textured blend of lentils, bulgur wheat, leeks, mushrooms, corn and cashews. Avocado is fanned over the patty, and sliced tomato and red onion sharpen things with a crunch. The spicy “salsita” they spread over everything (the patty will also be covered in melted Monterey Jack if you allow cheese) is a game-changer. Coupled with a pub beer, you’ll feel washes of pure happiness that are entirely meat-free.
The Fried Tofu Banh Mi at Malai Kitchen
3699 McKinney Ave.
Yes, it’s true; pork or shrimp would be better on a banh mi. Same goes for pate or a fried egg. Malai Kitchen, however, are experts at making not-meat great. The tofu is fried and dropped onto a baguette with textbook pickled carrots, daikon, cucumbers and a spread of spicy aioli and Sriracha. Herbs file in, too. Banh mi sandwiches, the best ones, have an orchestra of crunch and heat and bursting herbs; Malai Kitchen’s version, with a light fry on the tofu, makes for a symphony.
The Falafel Sandwich at Amsterdam Falafel
2651 Commerce St.
As the sign instructs, the first pro tip when handling a fresh, falafel-stuffed pita at Amsterdam Falafel is to Hulk-smash the falafel balls. Using whatever force you’d like, crush the balls of deep-fried chickpeas into the warm pita, and then give it a good pump of garlic sauce. Things get good when this occurs. Pile on some crunchy pickled stuff, because customization at Amsterdam is more fun than most things, and I guarantee you’ll be smiling by the time you take a bite.
The Hippie Sandwich at Bolsa Mercado
634 W. Davis St.
Don’t be distracted by the breakfast tacos. You want the mostly vegetarian Hippie Sandwich, with a big and peppery arugula pesto, folds of fluffy egg whites and local goat cheese. The greens, including frisee, are nice and bright here. It’s hearty while still holding onto the “healthy” label. Enjoy with a hot coffee. The arugula pesto will wake you up, too.
The Veggie Bean Quinoa Burger at Start
4814 Greenville Ave.
One of the best things about the fresh vegetarian burger at Start is you can get it passed to you through your car window. There are three kinds of beans packed into the patty, garbanzo, black and cannellini, which add a delicate texture, and cumin, salt and garlic are extra punches. It’s a rare thing to behold, but Start’s burger narrowly bests their meat option. Enjoy safely while you drive. Pro tip: Again, if you’re allowed to enjoy cheese, white cheddar really takes things into the stratosphere.
The Grilled Cheese (and Tomato Soup) at Knife
5680 N. Central Expy.
Chef John Tesar’s grilled cheese is a mix of sharp yellow cheddar, white cheddar and creamy goat cheese. It’s painterly and crusty. If you’re doing things right, you’ll order the Leticia Alcaraz Cabuto’s roasted tomato soup, which is topped with Vermont cheddar and an avocado, and swipe your crunchy sandwich through the bowl. It’s phenomenal under these circumstances. Brace yourself for the tastes of winter, no matter what season it actually is.
The Goat Cheese and Avocado at East Hampton Sandwich Co.
6912 Snider Plaza; 3888 Oak Lawn Ave.; 12300 Inwood Road; 7300 Lone Star Dr., Plano; 2211 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; 1605 S. University Drive, Fort Worth
East Hampton Sandwich Co. is the Steven Spielberg of sandwich companies. Everything they make is, at minimum, reliably good. Their meat-free option, once loaded with asparagus, is now a smooth and wintery goat cheese and avocado mash (think a mashed potato-level heartiness) sandwich, which has great texture. Tom Hanks could star in this sandwich. I like to add their marvelously crispy chips to the top of the sandwich for a good crunch. This sandwich is worth going meat-free.
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