The ultimate vegetarian sandwich. This grilled pesto tofu sandwich has it all. Grilled pesto tofu, carmelized onion, arugala and feta cheese. Get ready to crave this every single day.
Growing up I was the kid that ate a cheese and salami sandwich every single day. So you can't blame me when I say for most of my life I thought sandwiches were incredibly boring. That is until I met my partner. When we first started dating I quickly realized that sandwiches weren't just one of his favourite foods, they were an entire food group to him. However he wasn't eating plain old boring cheese and meat sandwiches. He would add all the veggies, sauces and cool toppings you can think of to create a sandwich that was more of a gourmet experience and less "eating lunch on a yellow school bus."
Since then my love of sandwiches has exponentially grown and they are now a sstaple in my daily life. This pesto tofu sandwich is my current favourite sandwich on rotation and it's soon to be yours too!
Are sandwiches a healthy lunch?
Yes! Despite popular opinion on the internet, sandwiches can 100% be a healthy lunch. As a Dietitian whenever I'm creating a balanced meal I look for 3 things: A good source of protein, whole grain or complex carbohydrates and lots of veggies. Although my salami and cheese sandwiches may not have passed the Dietitian check, I do believe if made correctly sandwiches can be the perfect healthy lunch!
Thankfully this pesto tofu sandwich has my stamp of approval (which is great considering I eat it almost daily).
This sandwich has all three of my checks:
- Whole grain carboydrate: Mak eyour sandwich with whole grain bread to increase the fibre and keep you full and satisfied
- Protein: Tofu is an excellent source of pure, vegetarian protein!
- Veggies: This sandwich is loaded with arugala, tomatoe, red pepper and onions!
Pesto: the best tofu sandwich marinade
If you told me a year ago you could add tofu to a sandwich I would have thought you were crazy. Believe it or not I absolutley hated tofu for years. I thought the texture was weird and the taste was bland (at best). That is until I discovered crispy tofu. I now use it as my go-to protein source when I'm short on time.
Despite how much I love my original buffalo tofu, this pesto tofu may be my new favourite ESPECIALLY as a tofu sandwich marinade. It's so simple to make, you can either use a store bought pesto or make your own. Once you have your pesto, just follow the steps below to get the BEST crispy pesto tofu.
- Squeeze out the excess water from your tofu. You can do this using a tofu pres or by wrapping your tofu block in paper towel and placing it under a large stack of books for about 5 minutes.
- Slice your tofu into ¼ inch thick strips. You can customize how large you want them to be but I find just slicing yout block in half lengthwise and then dividing each half into ¼ inch strips works great for grilling.
- Add your tofu and your pesto to a bowl and mix until well coated.
- Place your tofu on a grill pan and allow to cook for about 9 minutes per side (or until crispy).
That's it! This pesto tofu is great to meal prep to make these sandwiches, or even salads or wraps super easy for a quick lunch.
Other vegetarian meal ideas
Although I don't follow a strict vegetarian or vegan lifestyle I like to say that I try to eat as plant based as possible (in a way that works for me). This means that I typically try to eat plant based for at least 2 out of 3 meals every day. Sometimes that doesn't always happen (especially with my meat eating dad and brother) but I find that lunch is always a great time to get in a plant based meal. Plus plant based meals are normally easier and quicker to make!
Some of my current favourite veggie meals are:
What ingredients do I need for this pesto tofu sandwich?
Pesto- Use store bought or homemade pesto for this tofu sandwich marinade!
Extra firm tofu- This is super important! Using any other tofu other than extra firm will not grill as well.
Whole grain bread- Any whole wheat or whole grain bread (or really any bread) will work great for these sandwiches.
Veggies- arugula, cherry tomatoes, white onion and red peppers make this pesto sandwich AMAZING!
Feta cheese- To be honest I have an obsession with feta cheese. I will add it to anything and everything. However I swear the feta cheese is such a gamechanger in these sandwiches, it adds the perfect amount of salty flavour!
Hummus- A layer of hummus brings this pesto tofu sandwich together! Any hummus will work!
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this pesto tofu sandwich don't forget to tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Grilled Pesto Tofu Sandwich
- 350 g extra firm tofu
- ¼ cup pesto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 red bell pepper deseeded
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes sliced
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- 3 tablespoon hummus
- 6 slices whole grain bread
Pesto (if using homemade)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup arugala or spinach
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare your tofu by squeezeing out any excess water. This can be done using a tofu press or wrapping your tofu in paper towel and placing a stack of heavy books on top for about 5 minutes. Once excess water has been removed, slice your tofu in half lengthwise and slice each half into ¼ inch strips.
- In a large bowl add your tofu and pesto (see below for homemade pesto instructions). Use your hands to toss tofu until fully coated in the pesto.
- On a large grill pan over medium-high heat half of your olive oil. Once hot, add your tofu in a single even layer. Allow to cook for about 9 minutes per side (or until crispy).
- While your tofu is cooking, prepare your onions and red pepper by adding the remaining olive oil to a small fry pan over medium heat. Add your sliced onions and red peppers. Bring the heat to medium-low and saute for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until onions soften and begin to carmelize.
- To assemble your sandwiches- toast your bread, spread about 1 tablespoon of hummus on two pieces of bread, top with grilled tofu, crumbled feta, cherry tomatoes, arugula and your carmelized onions and red peppers. Add additional pesto if desired!
For homemade pesto-
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Note- this will make additional pesto so store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Add to your favourite meals including scrambled eggs, wraps and pasta!