Roasted eggplant, baked tofu vegan sandwich

Roasted eggplant, baked tofu vegan sandwich

Diets rich in plants, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, are said to promote health, wellness, and longevity, according to scientists and doctors. And those on a plant-based diet can live up to thirteen years longer. I’m not here to lecture you to become vegan, because I certainly am not, but I have transitioned to a diet that is about 80% plants, and it has helped me feel full, energized, healthy, and strong. One of the ways I stay satiated and satisfied is with sandwiches like my roasted eggplant, baked tofu vegan sandwich. It’s full of savory, sweet, spicy, and fresh notes which make this dish unforgettable. Plus, it has baked tofu in it, so you’re not missing the protein. If you’re looking to eat more plants without giving up on delicious sandwiches, I highly recommend you try this recipe. Let’s start cooking. 

About the ingredients 

Firm tofu: Highly recommend using extra firm or firm tofu for this recipe because we will be slicing this tofu block and it needs to stand up to the marinade and baking process.

Eggplant: You can either use Japanese or Italian eggplants for this recipe. I used Italian eggplant, which is darker and bigger that Japanese eggplants. Make sure you get an eggplant that is firm to the touch and has no blemishes. 

Herbs: I like to use a mixture of herbs to boost the flavor and freshness of this sandwich. I like using a combination of mint, parsley, cilantro, and dill in lieu of using lettuce. If you don’t have herbs, you can use spinach or arugula as a replacement. 

Walnuts: This is an optional ingredient, but I like the flavor and crunch of adding walnuts to this sandwich. Adding walnuts also gives the sandwich texture. By adding walnuts to this sandwich, it vaguely reminds me of Persian breakfast dishes that use ingredients like pita, walnuts, radishes, and cheese. 

Hummus: I like to add hummus on my bread to add moisture to the sandwich. I typically use the original flavor, chickpeas and tahini, but you can also use other flavors, which would be nice like garlic hummus and roasted red pepper hummus. 

Avocado: This adds a nice creaminess and richness to the sandwich. It’s a good replacement for cheese and it adds a nice flavor when pairs well with the sweet and savory tofu. 

Tamarind paste: Tart and slightly sweet, tamarind paste is the base for the tofu marinade. You can typically find it in the international aisle of a grocery store. If you don’t have it, you can just use soy sauce and you can add a little bit of maple syrup or sugar to help balance out the flavors. 

Soy sauce: Adds saltiness and umami to the marinade. Don’t skip this. I prefer to use the low sodium option.

Sriracha sauce: For a little heat and extra flavor, I use sriracha sauce for the marinade. 

Seasonings: To boost the flavors of the marinade, I love adding the delicate flavors of Chinese five spice powder, paprika, garlic, and black pepper. You can adjust and customize these seasonings to your liking. 

What is tamarind paste?

Tamarind paste is a concentrated flavor ingredient made from the pulp of the tamarind fruit. It comes from the pods of the tamarind tree, a legume native to Africa but now grown in many tropical areas. Growing up in a Bengali household, tamarind candy, which was sweet and tart, was a very popular treat. The fruit itself has a range of flavor depending on ripeness, but the pulp used for paste is typically sour and dark brown. Tamarind paste adds a tart, tangy depth to many dishes. It's used in cuisines around the world, including Indian curries, Thai pad thai sauce, Mexican candies, and Worcestershire sauce. You can find tamarind paste pre-made at most grocery stores, usually in the international aisle. It comes in a block, tub, or jar and can be thick, sticky, or in liquid form.

Is tofu a good replacement for deli meat?

If you’re watching your sodium, cholesterol, or calories, tofu can be a good replacement for deli meat. Here are some things to consider though when it comes to protein differences. Deli meat varies in protein content depending on the type. Turkey breast might have 8-10 grams of protein per ounce, while ham could have 5-7 grams. Tofu generally has around 8 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. So, portion size matters. You might have to eat more tofu to meet your protein requirements. 

Also, not all protein is the same. Deli meat provides complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids your body needs. Tofu, like most plant-based proteins, is an incomplete protein, meaning it lacks some essential amino acids. However, you can easily obtain all essential amino acids throughout the day by combining tofu with other plant-based sources like grains or nuts and seeds. Hence why in this recipe, we also have bread and walnuts in our sandwich. 

Some other differences to note, deli meat is often high in sodium and saturated fat, while tofu is low in both. Tofu is also a good source of calcium and iron, which are not typically abundant in deli meat.If you're looking for a deli meat substitute that mimics the texture more closely, there are also processed plant-based meat alternatives available that are designed to be high in protein.

Recipe: Roasted eggplant, baked tofu vegan sandwich 

  • Prep time: 30 to 45 minutes 
  • Bake time: 30 to 45 minutes 
  • Active cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Total cooking time: 1 hour and 50 minutes


  • 16-ounce block of firm tofu 
  • Medium-size Italian eggplant 
  • Sprigs of herbs like fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, and dill 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking spray
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons hummus 
  • 2 slices of sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts 
  • ½ avocado 
  • Salt and pepper to task

Tofu marinade 

  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste 
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce 
  • ½ teaspoon sriracha sauce 
  • ¼ teaspoon five-spice powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika 
  • ¼ cracked black pepper 
  • 1 clove minced garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar 


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2

Slice your eggplant into circles. If I’m using a medium Italian eggplant, I will generally get about 6 or 8 slices from an eggplant. You want to slice them into circles because it will stack better on your sandwich later.

Once the eggplant is sliced up, place them in a colander in the sink, or in a bowl with good drainage, and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the eggplant and massage the salt lightly into the eggplant flesh. The salt will help draw out any bitterness and extra moisture from the eggplant. Let the eggplant drain for 30 minutes. This should give you enough time to prep the tofu and marinade. You can also back off the eggplant in advance, or the day before, if you want to save time. 

Step 3

Drain and press your tofu block between two clean dish clothes or paper towels for 15 minutes. Then slice lengthwise so that you’re cutting thick slices from the block. I usually get 4 slices from a block of tofu. Set aside and start the marinade. 

Step 4

In a separate bowl, add your tofu marinade ingredients: tamarind paste, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, seasonings, garlic, and lemon juice. Mix well and then dunk your tofu into the mixture, coating well. You can either let the tofu marinade overnight, or you can let the tofu marinade for 10 to 30 minutes, if you’re in the rush.

Once the tofu has soaked up all those flavors, place the sliced tofu on an oiled and lined baking sheet. Top off the tofu with the remainder of the marinade. It should easily coat the tofu slices like a paste and should not be watery.

Place the tofu slices in the oven to bake for 30 to 45 minutes. You know the tofu is ready when the marinade on top looks cooked and crispy, almost like the way barbecue sauce looks on meat after roasting. You can cook the tofu in the oven at the same time as you are roasting your eggplant. 

Step 5

Line another baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and brush on some oil to prevent sticking. Then go to your eggplant, wiping the extra salt and water away from the slices with a paper towel. Place the dried slices onto your oiled baking sheet and coat them with a light drizzle of oil before putting them into the oven to bake for 30 minutes. You know the eggplant is done when the whites of the slices have caramelized on top. Remove both the eggplant and tofu from the oven and let them rest for 10 to 20 minutes. 

Step 6

Toast your choice of bread. I love using sourdough because it is gut healthy. Once your bread is toasted, smear either side with a layer of creamy hummus. I like to use the original flavor, which is just chickpeas and tahini, but you can use whatever flavor you want.

Then I add a layer of chopped walnuts to one slice of bread. I layer a handful of herbs on top. I like using fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, and dill here. All the herbs make the sandwich incredibly fragrant and refreshing. Then I add my baked tofu slice on top of the herbs, top that with my roasted eggplant, and spoon on my creamy avocado.

Adding some pickled red onions would be really nice here, if you have it. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the avocado and close the sandwich with your other bread slice. Then you just slice your sandwich and enjoy immediately. I recommend eating the whole sandwich as it taste best fresh. However, the leftover tofu and roasted eggplant can stay in the refrigerator for up to a week, 5 days, which is great for making salad sandwiches all week long. 

Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you think by adding your comment below! 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.