One of the best things about the holidays is the plethora of amazing food that can be enjoyed every day of the festive season, not just on December 25.
Something to look forward to each December is the slew of takeaway treats that makes staying vegan as easy as (mince) pie. Think thick-cut bread stuffed with plant-based pigs in blankets, baguettes spilling over with vegan turkey and stuffing, and parsnip ribbons in seeded bread.
A feast for the senses and a treat for the tummy, we tried a host of vegan Christmas sandwiches that are available now. We’ve given our honest review, and scored each one out of five.
Here’s what we thought…
Coffee shop vegan Christmas sandwiches
Taking a less traveled path for festive fullness, Costa opted for a “P’gs & Blankets Panini” this year. Take our advice and wait the extra minute to have it toasted, as it’s so much better warm. This is largely due to the fact that it prevents the cheese-style sauce from being a claggy mistake.
Included alongside the faux pork goodies comes a herby stuffing and cranberry chutney, both of which bring the festive notes to the front of your palate, in a good way.
Score: 3/5. The bacon feels like an unnecessary addition and is a rather unappealing gray color too. Ditch that, and we are in business.
The “Vegan Festive Feast Panini” promises a lot with the name. However, we were disappointed. The flavor was generally very muted, meaning that out of the faux turkey, stuffing, and red cabbage, all we could taste was the cabbage. Pickled in mulled wine, the veg did all of the heavy lifting here, and it would have been better just to have that in a toastie.
Score: 2/5. Less of a feast, and more of a mission to find any flavor other than cabbage. Bah humbug!
Pret A Manger
It’s not unusual for Pret A Manger to take a left-field approach to Christmas flavors. This year, it didn’t disappoint with its “Festive Falafel & Squash” sandwich.
Instead of the usual plant-based turkey, vegans can enjoy a fully stacked sarnie filled with sweet potato falafel, butternut squash, pickled cabbage, and carrot all topped off with a healthy dollop of festive pesto, crispy onions, and mayo. If that sounds like a lot, imagine the mess we made eating it! However, the sandwich was worth the effort.
Score: 4/5. The only improvement might be if it could be served warm. But this is a real nitpick.
Partnering with THIS, Greggs has created a “Vegan Turkey-Free & Stuffing Baguette,” and it’s everything we hoped it would be. Filling and festive, but not trying too hard, the flavors were complimentary but simple. This means that the cranberry and port sauce don’t carry the whole sandwich. The addition of onion gravy was a good move too, as it helps to soften the baguette.
Score: 4/5. If we were being really choosy, we’d say a bit of veg would have made this a hands-down winner, but you don’t generally go to Greggs for vegetables!
Supermarket vegan Christmas sandwiches
Marks and Spencer
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That appears to be Marks and Spencer’s thinking, because it has rolled out its familiar “No Turkey Feast” again. However, as with previous years, it still tastes great, makes for a good meal deal, and donates proceeds to Shelter, a charity supporting those experiencing homelessness.
What’s nice is that the dressing has a smokey bacon flavor that adds extra Christmas cheer without packing in two helpings of plant-based meat. The turkey pieces are also generous and tasty and work well with the hearty dose of spinach.
Score: 4/5. A perennial favorite that is going nowhere.
The UK’s favorite supermarket has brought out a “No Beef Wellington Wrap” that delivers a big punch of meaty flavor. Happily, though, it does so while not playing into the expected sandwich tropes of turkey and cranberry. It’s earthy, thanks to the use of mushrooms, and very filling. It can also be purchased as part of a meal deal.
Score: 3/5. Points lost for using a wrap as the casing. They tend to get very soggy and that results in a bad mouthfeel that verges on cringe-inducing. In a regular sandwich, this would have been great.
Also jumping on the pigs in blankets trend, Sainsbury’s plumped for a porky vibe for its Plant Pioneers festive release. The “Vegan No Pigs Under Blankets” sandwich features malted bread, bacon mayo, cranberry chutney, and rashers of vegan bacon gently laid on top of meat-free bangers.
Thoughtfully crafted, the balance of meaty filling to sauces works well and stops the sandwich feeling too heavy. But, again, the lack of salad or veggies lets this one down.
Score: 3/5. A solid attempt but more work to be done for next year.
We were prepared to not like the Morrisons vegan Christmas sandwich just on the principle that it relies on hummus, but it’s actually great. The Plant Revolution “Very Merry Vegan” sarnie features an unusual combination of a vegetable fritter, parsnip hummus, and a spicy red cabbage chutney. The result is a snack that tastes great, doesn’t weigh you down, and definitely is not lacking for having no plant-based meat in it.
Score: 4.5/5. A great addition to the festive roster that honestly could have stood alone without the red cabbage.
We wish everybody would come up with some better names for these sandwiches, because you can only eat so many “festive feasts.” That gripe aside, Asda’s vegan wrap is a little lackluster.
The wrap itself feels soggy, the turkey pieces are lacking in much flavor and, again, the red cabbage is expected to bring all of the Christmas cheer. All in all, a fairly drab attempt at a holiday sandwich here.
Score: 2/5. Points retained for a generous helping of spinach which added back some crunch.
Bonus round: Amazon’s Christmas sandwich
We had no idea that Amazon Fresh offered a vegan Christmas sandwich as well, but what a pleasant surprise it was! Featuring layers of julienned parsnips and carrots, sprouts were included too before being topped with mulled wine cabbage and a chestnut stuffing.
It was well-balanced and, despite the lack of plant-based meat, very Christmassy indeed. It was the perfect antidote to overly rich recipes that can leave you sluggish for the afternoon.
Score: 4.5/5. Delicious and surprising, but let’s get fully recyclable packaging sorted please Amazon.