I think a good sandwich is really important. Making a truly good sandwich is a sort of a balancing act, and it’s not always as simple or straightforward as a good old PB&J.
It has to be structurally sound, so it doesn’t explode in your hands or all over your shirt. It needs to have the right amount of crunch, sour, sweet and salty. And it needs an element of cream or fat to keep you satisfied long after you eat it. Sandwiches can have two slices of bread, or they can be in a pocket. Pockets help with that whole explosion factor, and since I tend to get my food all over me, I need all the help I can get.
This sandwich uses homemade pitas. You can make the pitas days in advance, just store them in the fridge and slice them in half and open up the inside pockets as you are ready to use them. If you want, you could substitute any gluten free pita, bread or wrap.
Tomato harissa sauce ads a little sweet and tangy heat. It contrasts with the creamy (surprisingly vegan) filling.
The biggest challenge with creating this sandwich is the chopping, I’ll admit. But if you mix this all up on a Sunday afternoon, you’ll have enough for two peoples lunches for the week, so think of it as an investment in your future lunches. A julienne peeler can help with the carrots and parsnips. Julienne them then roughly chop the pieces and it’s almost faster then a food processor, or at least a lot less to clean up afterwards.
I also like to split the thick ends of the celery before chopping it all down the rib, it helps to make the pieces more even in size.
Soon, you’ll have a bowl full of chopped up goodness!
The beans are mashed and add to the smooth texture of this filling.
The other challenge might be filling the pita and spreading the sauce on the inside, but I’ve devised a little trick for you! When you open the pita up, use a spoon to spread the tomato harissa sauce all over the inside.
Then, take your piece of butter lettuce, roughly cut or folded in half to be the size of your pita half, and place it on your cutting board so that the natural shape of the lettuce curves up towards you. You want it to look like a little lettuce cup.
Spoon about a 1/4 cup to a 1/3 cup filling on top of the lettuce leaf, then with one hand hold the pocket open and with your other hand, slide the topped lettuce in to it. This ensures you have filling and lettuce all the way to the bottom of the pita and doesn’t smash the lettuce in the process.
Inspired by the Oh She Glows cookbook, by Angela Liddon.
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ white onion, chopped
- ¼ cup dill pickle, finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ cup shredded and chopped parsnip
- ¼ cup shredded and chopped carrot
- 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Juice of one small lemon
- ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Pita Bread
- Butter lettuce leaves
- Roasted Tomato Harissa Sauce
- In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher. Add in the white beans and mash until they are both a flaky texture.
- Stir in the celery, green onions, pickles, bell peppers, shredded and chopped parsnip and carrots, vegan mayonnaise and garlic until well combined.
- Stir in the mustard and parsley and squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture. Add in the salt, pepper and taste and adjust as necessary. You might want to add more vegan mayo to suit your needs.
- To make the pita sandwiches, spread one tablespoon of the tomato harissa sauce on the inside of the pita pocket. Take a washed and dried piece of butter lettuce and spoon about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the salad on it. Then, opening the pita, slide the topped lettuce into the pita’s pocket.