Before I was vegan, one of my favorite sandwiches was the Pan-bagnat at Vie de France. I don’t think they offer it anymore, but it was basically tuna, green beans, and salad greens all drenched in an amazing garlic dressing. The best part was the french bread it was served on – it was like a baguette, but in a flat, round shape. I think the sandwich probably came with things like tomatoes and olives, but being picky, I always got it without those ingredients.
We went to the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night to see Star Wars in Concert, and I wanted to try a new sandwich for our picnic. For some reason I thought of Pan-bagnat, and I figured I’d try my hand at making a vegan version. I subbed a chickpea spread for the tuna, using 2 cans of chickpeas, 1 large minced shallot, lots of lemon juice, a couple heaping tablespoons of Vegenaise, a tablespoon or so of Dijon mustard and salt and pepper.
To make the dressing, I grated a clove of garlic on a microplane and mixed that with olive oil, red wine vinegar (maybe a couple tablespoons of each?) and salt and pepper to taste. I also added a tiny touch of agave because the garlic was pretty strong, though it had mellowed out by the time we ate the sandwich.
I spread the chickpea mixture out on a large halved Ciabatta loaf (after removing some of the inside of the bread to make room for the fillings) and layered on sliced red onion, cooked green beans and thinly sliced tomato. I seasoned that up with some salt and pepper, and then brushed the dressing on the top half of the bread and over the fillings. I topped the whole thing off with some baby greens, and then wrapped it up in plastic wrap and let it marinate at room temperature for a couple hours.
I was really happy with how this sandwich turned out, and I’ll definitely be making it again. I think next time I might use a baguette instead of Ciabatta, only because the bread was really chewy, and I think a crisp crust might work better. Even with the chewy bread, though, I’m so happy to have this sandwich back in my life!