Lads, not eating meat is really hard. Like, really hard. Not a day goes by when I don’t have to ask myself whether I really consider chickens animals, or whether they’re not, technically speaking, some kind of mushroom. Unfortunately, my dietary choices are non-negotiable: without them, I’d not be able to get on my high horse nearly as much.
I spend hours in the supermarket, pocket dictionary in hand, translating every ingredient on the back of packets of biscuits, just to make sure no one’s sneaked a cheeky flank steak into these custard creams. And I wouldn’t be surprised: as well as consuming an ungodly amount of beer, Czechs are serious meat eaters. Prague street corners aren’t complete without a whole roast pig in a weird glass tank/barbecue mashup.
It might be hyperbole when, desperate for bacon, I complain that “vegetarianism has ruined my entire goddamn life why do I even bother”, but it has definitely ruined my lunch. Because lunch, somehow, definitely is the hardest meal to render meatless.
By now, reader, you’re familiar with my charitable, giving nature. I live to enrich your experiences. With that in mind, I’ve compiled this short list of vegan sandwich fillings. May your picnics be cruelty free!
Peanut butter and banana
Everyone (except my friend Jim who would die if she ate peanuts) loves peanut butter. It combines everyone’s two favourite things: paste and tree nuts. Until scientists prove beyond any doubt that peanuts are sentient, I’ll keep eating an actual tonne of them every day. Add a banana to the equation, and you’ve got a sarnie fit for a king.
Peanut butter and apple
Everyone (except my friend Jim who comes out in hives if she sees a Snickers advert) loves peanut butter. It combines everyone’s two favourite things: misnomers (it’s not actually butter) and a high sodium content. Slap a sliced apple in there, and you’ve got a butty fit for an emperor.
[Note: the squirrel is pictured for illustration only. Don’t start thinking squirrels are a legitimate vegan alternative, because (I checked) they aren’t.]
Peanut butter and pear
Everyone (except my friend Jim whose throat closes up if people talk about nuts too loudly around her) loves peanut butter. It combines everyone’s two favourite things: the perfect golden brown colour and the choice between smooth and crunchy. Stick some pear in there, and you’ve got a roll you’d be proud to present to a non-gender specific ruler.
Strawberries and black pepper
Unless you’re five years old, you probably agree that berries, broadly speaking, are an inappropriate sandwich filling. However, if you sprinkle strawberries with crushed black pepper, you can convince yourself they’re basically savoury and chow down on some vitamin C rich delights come midday.
Genuinely, this isn’t actually as bad as it sounds.
Hummus and rust
Ah, the humble chickpea. Such a staple of my diet these days. Of course, you’d be crazy if you thought that a hummus sandwich, with no garnish, was an acceptable lunchtime snack. For one thing, hummus and bread are too close in colour to make a satisfactory meal.
Adding finely crushed rust will give your sandwich the pop it needs! Plus, if you’ve not eaten meat for a while, you’ll really need the iron – and what better source than actual oxidised metal? Bon appetit. If it’s not grinding your teeth down, you’ve not added enough rust.
One carrot (grated)
Pro tip: squeeze the carrot shavings in your fist before you stick them between slices. This will remove any excess water from the carrot, and it’s also extremely cathartic. Taking out your anger on vegetables is, I think, a wise and sensible course of action generally.
Coriander and sliced limes
For a zingy and refreshing lunchtime roll, why not put citrus fruit and herbs between bread? At the very least, it should help keep the scurvy at bay.
[I know the plant pictured isn’t coriander. Don’t tweet me.]
Say what you will about artificial sweeteners, but they are (presumably) vegan. Crushing them up and putting them inside bread will give your lunch a delightfully chemical flavour. In the future, when everyone’s a vegan and no one cares about cancer or taste, this will be the sandwich filling of choice, trust me. My pro tip? Spread marg on your bread first so the crushed pills stick to the slices. You’re welcome.
It’s the bane of my life that ham, and, indeed, most pork products, contain high levels of pig flesh. I know, who’d have thought it?
Luckily, there’s Imaginary Ham©, a brand new product from the Nestle group. When lack of ham is getting you down, Imaginary Ham© is there for you. Simply slip a slice of it between bread and you’ll hardly know the difference. Available from all major supermarkets; RRP £7.59 for a 200g pack.
Imaginary Ham©: It’s like ham, but it’s imaginary.