‘Tis the season to eat sandwiches. With the holiday season in full swing, Plant Based News (PBN) brings you a rundown of our favorite vegan Christmas sandwiches, wraps, and toasties available to buy in 2023.
There were strong performers across the board this year. From Greggs and Waitrose to Co-op and Lidl, supermarkets and coffee shops are putting more effort into their vegan Christmas food. Soy-based turkey and cranberry sauce were as prominent as ever. Roasted veg was never far away. But there were also some surprises lurking beneath the oatmeal bread.
A vegan Christmas
This Christmas, all the major UK supermarkets and coffee shops have unveiled vegan ranges fit for the festivities. Awareness of the ethical, environmental, and health implications of eating animal products has never been higher. With more and more people now choosing plant-based food, the vegan Christmas sandwich offerings are getting better each year.
Shoppers’ appetites are certainly growing for plant-based alternatives to the cruelty of “traditional” Christmas foods such as turkey. From chestnut and butternut squash to pesto and falafel, we sampled an array of festive and not-so-festive flavors. Here are all the vegan Christmas sandwiches we recommend biting into as you rock around the Christmas tree.
The best vegan Christmas sandwiches 2023
Vegan turkey-based sandwiches
Plant Revolution No-Turkey and Stuffing (£2.85)
One of many No-Turkey and Stuffing sandwiches on show this year, this is a solid Christmas sandwich from Morrisons – but not one to set the pulse racing. The cranberry sauce is tasty enough but doesn’t do enough to compensate for the lackluster soy strips. And it’s missing the extra crunch that a handful of fresh spinach would have provided. Morrisons scooped top spot in PBN’s roundup in 2022. Not so much this year.
A festive feast… but not one that will live long in the memory – 2.5 / 5
Vegan Turkey-Free Festive Baguette (£3.70)
Returning for 2023, Greggs’ Vegan Festive Baguette is everything you would expect from the popular baker. Hearty and hot, you can almost hear jingle bells as you bite into these gravy-soaked soy-based sage and onion “turkey” goujons. Thankfully, the bread is strong enough not to sog. It’s a bready endurance challenge, for sure, but the herby goujons don’t get dull. Not the most aesthetically pleasing but a filling and flavorsome Christmas sandwich.
Tasty goujons in a crispy baguette. What’s not to like? – 4 / 5
Plant Made No Turkey Feast (£3.15)
Simple but effective, Boots has done well with its No Turkey Feast. The sandwich combines meat-free turkey strips with carrot and braised red cabbage but the star of the show is the cranberry chutney, which really brings the sandwich to life. By the end, the build-up of salt starts to overpower the sweetness of the cranberry. But it’s a good sandwich nonetheless.
A solid vegan Christmas sandwich – 3.5 / 5
Vegan Turkey and Trimmings Toastie (£4.25)
Following last year’s “P’gs & Blankets Panini,” Costa turned its attention to another meaty tradition in 2023, with its “Vegan Turkey and Trimmings Toastie.” With a lot of competition in the no-turkey category, this turned out to be one of the less enjoyable entries. The soy-based turkey got a little lost in the bland gravy, while the “trimmings” (stuffing) didn’t bring much to the party either. It’s not bad… and it’s better than eating an animal. But it didn’t live up to the hefty price tag.
Something hot for a cold winter’s lunch – 2.5 / 5
GRO Ho Ho No Turkey Feast (£3.25)
Another No Turkey Feast? You betcha. But this is a strong entry and a good contender for most creative use of soy-based chunks. There’s a lot going on here: roast carrot and parsnip, cranberry chutney, sage, onion and oat stuffing… and the flavors co-exist harmoniously. The spinach provides a satisfying bite and the wheat and oatmeal bread is chunky enough to hold everything together. Good job.
Colorful and crunchy, Co-op’s is one of the best supermarket sandwiches this year – 4.5 / 5
Veg as centerpiece
Pollen + Grace
Festive Stuffing + Winter Veg Wrap (£4.25)
Pollen + Grace is a food-to-go specialist stocked by many major supermarkets. Available from Sainsbury’s and WHSmith, this festive wrap shows what can be achieved with veg as the centerpiece. The flavors are a festive treat: mushroom, onion and sage stuffing, butternut squash, cranberry sauce. Even the red cabbage slaw is a worthwhile addition. The only drawback is that the wrap itself is unexciting and since it is cut in two the final bites are very bread heavy. But, on the whole, this is a wrap that lives up to the premium price point.
A strong Christmas wrap: 4 / 5
Ho Ho Pest-Ho and Veg (£3.65)
How to rank this wildcard entry from M&S? It’s a great sandwich: pesto and roasted veg is a safe combination. But is it festive enough? For those who have had enough stuffing to last until the New Year, this is a good choice. But if you’re still decking the halls, you might be left feeling a little short changed.
A Santa pun does not a Christmas sandwich make: 3 / 5
Plant Chef Root Vegetable & Chestnut Wrap (£2.75)
Roasted veg and chestnut sounds like a winning formula for a Christmas wrap. And it almost works for Tesco. The braised red cabbage, cranberry sauce, sage and onion stuffing all impress, while the beetroot and chia tortilla wrap gives it a Christmassy look. Yet, despite the abundance of ingredients, the whole experience feels very flat. The chestnut, which promises so much, isn’t strong enough.
Chestnut is a great choice but the flavors lack a punch – 3 / 5
PlantLiving Vegan Bubble & Squeak (£3.50)
Waitrose stood out from the crowd with this veg-focused sandwich. Savoy cabbage and parsnip, roasted butternut squash and spiced pickled red cabbage on sliced malted bread. The sauces – vegan mayo, mustard, and chili relish – work well together and don’t overpower everything else. A strong example of what you can achieve with just vegetables.
Good taste, good texture, good effort – 4 / 5
Falafel and Cranberry Wrap (£2.29)
A festive twist on a vegan classic? Or a vegan stereotype pretending to be festive? Let’s go with the more generous interpretation. The falafel and cranberry sauce are tasty, and the whole thing has a great texture. The beetroot and chia seed wrap looks Christmassy in the box and a little extra innovation comes in the form of spiced hummus and butternut squash. Falafel may be a cliché – but it’s a delicious one.
It’s tasty, it’s colorful… but is it festive enough? – 3.5 / 5