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Hot, fast sandwiches - Vegan Cooking Tips

YOU DESERVE A HOT MEAL! Something you can really sink your teeth into without breaking your back doing it? A hot sandwich is just the ticket.

First, check your cupboard and your cooler. If you have any of the following ingredients, you can become a hot sandwich meister:

* Sliced bread, pita bread, English muffins, etc.

* Sliced and/or shredded vegan cheese


* Tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, bean sprouts

* Fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, or cilantro

* Sliced vegan meats

* Vegan bacon strips

* Veggie burgers and/or vegan hot dogs

* Extra firm tofu, seitan, or tempeh


* Fresh avocado

* Canned sauerkraut

* Canned vegan chili

* Prepared salsa

* Soy sauce

* Canned mushrooms

* French, Italian, or Thousand Island salad dressing

* Prepared mustard

* Canned beans (garbanzos, black beans, etc.)

* Canned pineapple slices

* Peanut butter

* Vegetable oil spray

Fire up the oven, the stove, or the microwave. Dust off the toaster. We're ready to roll!

Here are some suggestions:

Chili-size: To prepare, you'll need a veggie burger, one-half bun or a slice of bread of your choice, sliced tomatoes (or canned, drained chopped tomatoes), prepared vegan chili, chopped onions, and optional shredded vegan cheese.

Prepare veggie burger according to package directions. Place hot burger on one-half bun or slice of bread. Top burger with a slice of tomato or canned tomatoes and then chili. Top chili with onions and cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until chili is hot and cheese slightly melted. If you want an even quicker (and more economical) sandwich, omit the burger and use several slices of tomato instead.

Vegan Elvis: The King may have left the kitchen, but his favorite sandwich remains. To prepare Elvis' favorite sandwich, you'll need two slices of bread, creamy (not chunky) peanut butter; sliced ripe bananas, fruit preserves, and vegetable oil spray. Prepare a closed peanut butter, sliced banana, and jelly (fruit preserves) sandwich. Cut into quarters. Spray a medium frying pan with oil and allow to heat. Pan-toast the quartered sandwich on both sides and dig in!

Southwestern mushroom: To prepare, you'll need a slice of bread, sliced extra firm tofu (or tempeh), chopped onions, drained canned mushrooms, salsa, and shredded vegan cheese. Toast bread. Top with tofu. Top tofu with chopped onions, mushrooms, salsa, and cheese, in that order. Microwave on HIGH until cheese is bubbly and tofu is hot, or bake, uncovered, in a 400-degree oven on a sheet pan until hot.

Mediterranean mushroom: To prepare, you'll need one portabello mushroom cap, Thousand Island dressing, one slice of bread, sliced tomatoes, and optional fresh basil. Lightly coat mushroom with dressing and place on top of bread. Top with tomato and basil. Place on a microwaveable plate and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH until mushroom is tender, about 4-5 minutes. If you have time, you can saute the mushroom in a non-stick frying pan until it is tender, and then assemble the sandwich.

Smothered kraut and dog: This is a variation of the classic Reuben. You'll need a hot dog bun or a pita, a veggie dog, mustard, sauerkraut, sliced cucumber, and canned chili or beans (drained). Slice the pita for stuffing or split the bun. Cut the veggie dog in half lengthwise so that it can lay open. Then, coat both halves with mustard, and ladle on the toppings. Heap on the sauerkraut, cucumbers, and chili or beans, and then close the bun or roll the pita. To heat in an oven, wrap tightly in foil. To heat in a microwave, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Heat until hot and then serve!

Tropical hot: To prepare, you'll need sliced extra firm tofu or seitan, one-half burger bun or slice of whole wheat bread, soy sauce, thinly sliced onion, and pineapple slices. Place a slice of tofu on top of the bun or bread. Sprinkle very lightly with soy sauce. Place onion and then pineapple on top of the tofu. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap sandwich in foil and allow to bake for 10 minutes. Or place on a microwaveable plate and microwave until hot.

Note: You can use a leftover veggie burger instead of the tofu or seitan. This sandwich doesn't work well with fresh pineapple. If you like, you can mix the soy sauce with a small amount of peanut butter to make a Thai/Indonesian-style sauce to spread on the bread.

Hot club sandwich: To prepare, you'll need thin slices of extra firm tofu or slices of Tofurky[TM] or other fake meats, sliced ripe avocado, sliced tomatoes, Thousand Island dressing or vegan mayonnaise; and three pieces of bread. Toast the bread. To assemble, spread one slice of bread with dressing or mayonnaise and top with tofu or Tofurky[TM] and avocado. Place second slice of bread on top of this, spread with dressing, and top with tomato slices. Top with third slice of bread. Cut into quarters. You can heat this in the oven or the microwave if you'd like a warmer sandwich.

Note: If you have leftover slices of vegan breakfast strips, you can use those instead of the avocado.

T-Day Special: Ever have leftover stuffing? If not, just purchase a box of vegan stuffing mix (available at natural foods stores) and prepare according to package directions. If you have them, add some dried sage, fresh parsley, dried thyme, or chopped onions for flavor. Prepared stuffing will last in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

To make this sandwich, you'll need prepared stuffing; a slice of bread; canned pineapple; and sliced Tofurky[TM], chicken- or turkey-flavored fake meat, or smoked seitan or tempeh. Place the bread on a microwaveable plate. Top with a scoop of stuffing, and flatten so that it covers the bread. Top with fake meat, then top fake meat with pineapple slices. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or waxed paper and microwave on HIGH until heated thoroughly, about 3 minutes, depending on the size of your sandwich. If you like, wrap the sandwich in foil and bake it at 400 degrees until hot.

These are just some of the millions of ideas for fast hot sandwiches. Enjoy!

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