Bread. I’m always inspired to make sandwiches for dinner when I get a hold of some amazing, delicious bakery-style bread. These fluffy pumpernickel-oat mini baguette rolls were the inspiration for last night’s “Sunday sandwich night” dinner featuring my Vegan Avocado-Caprese Sandiwches, with homemade pumpkin-seed-cashew peppered cheese spread. (Even if you are not vegan and enjoy dairy cheese, please give this plant-based cheese version a try, you might be shocked by how much you adore it!)
Caprese Salad Sandwiches Gone Vegan. I filled each toasted roll with peppered cashew and pumpkin seed cheese that I (quickly) whipped up. Over top the creamy, nutty cheese I added Italian herb marinated tomatoes and onions, accented with basil. Then some lemon-tossed avocados and fluffy micro basil to finish things off. A drizzle of raw macadamia nut oil on top and extra squirt on sunny bright lemon too. Each bite reminds me of a classic caprese salad .. only this time veganized and sandwich inspired! Whip up these sandwiches and turn a caprese salad into your next meal..
Yesterday, under a cloudless powder blue sky, we strolled over to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. The scene is always jam-packed with casual locals carrying plates of food, fresh-squeezed juices, canvas bags overflowing with greens and veggies and a hum of live music buzzing through the energized air. Pony rides out front, a petting zoo for the kids (chickies, bunnies and ponies hanging out in Santa Monica), and long rows of vendors selling everything from sun hats and baby onesies to homemade almond butter, giant Medjool dates and sprouted legumes and seeds. The heat was intense yesterday, mini heatwave, and I gulped down my frosty blended matcha latte from Urth Caffe (across the street) and quickly gobbled down a gluten-free vegan berry muffin from Kafe K. Then loaded up my bags and quickly headed home to escape the hot white-yellow sun.
My goodies: I picked up a end-of-summer melon, kale, fluffy greens, fresh sage, raw almond butter, some beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes, California avocados and these toasty fresh pumpernickel rolls. I had some micro basil in the fridge and some raw nuts and seeds in my pantry. Pretty soon, these hearty vegan subs were making themselves!
Avocado-Caprese Vegan Sandwiches with Pepita-Cashew Cheese
vegan, serves 2
2 large rolls or 4 slices of bread, toasted
1 avocado, sliced + tossed in 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup raw cashews
⅓ cup raw salted pepitas (I used sprouted, since they have a bit more flavor)
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
⅛-1/4 teaspoon pink salt
2 tablespoon raw macadamia nut oil (or EVOO)
⅓-1/2+ cups plain/unsweetened almond milk
Italian-Herb marinated salad
3-4 organic tomatoes, sliced into rounds or half-moons
¼ cup sliced onion
½ teaspoon dried Italian Herb Blend
1 tablespoon garlic extra virgin olive oil OR more raw macadamia nut oil
pinch of salt and pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon basil or micro basil, chopped
¼ cup basil, chopped or ⅓ cup micro basil sprouts
added oil or lemon juice to taste (drizzled over top)
Pre: Soak your cashews in very hot water with a pinch of salt for at least 30 minutes. This cashew cheese is a bit nutty and textured when blended, so you do not need to soak overnight like you would for making almond milk. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, which is what you would achieve if you soak the nuts longer.
1. Optional: If you want your nut-seed cheese a bit drier, you can bake it at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes. This will firm it up a bit into a more nutty texture as opposed to smooth and creamy. If baking, pre-heat oven. (The other option is to keep it raw and chill it to firm it up a tad before spreading onto sandwiches.)
2. Cashew Cheese Spread: Blend all cashew-pepita cheese ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix. Add a splash more liquid if needed to blend. You want a very thick consistency, kind of like a nutty, textured hummus texture. Season to taste with salt, pepper and any additional spices you’d like to add. If baking, pour into an oven safe container and bake until desired texture in achieved. Even ten minutes in a warm oven will intensify the flavor a bit, make the top nice and crusty and make the cheese more thick and spreadable. If not baking, you can set raw cheese in fridge to chill a bit until needed.
3. Tomatoes: Slice tomatoes and onions. Toss them with oil, lemon juice, herbs, basil and salt and pepper. Allow this mixture to marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. The longer you marinate, the more flavorful your tomatoes and onions will be. You could marinate overnight if desired.
4. Now that all the major prep work is done you can start assembling your sandwiches. Toast you bread or rolls. Slice down the center to fill. Add a generous slathering of cashew-pepita cheese followed by generous amounts of the juicy marinated tomatoes and onions. Thinly slice you avocado and rub in lemon juice and add to sandwich. Finish things off with a big handful of micro basil sprouts or a few pinches of chopped fresh basil. Any leafy green could be substituted if needed. Add a drizzle of oil/lemon over top if desired. Serve while bread is still toasty warm.
Serving Tip! If you place the made-up sandwiches in a warm oven for 5-10 minutes, they becomes a toasty sub! This is how we re-warmed ours for dinner with delicious results. I even placed them in the fridge for a few hours (covered in wax paper) then re-toasted them in the oven. Delish!