Friday, February 21, 2014

Veganising the Louisiana Po'Boy Sandwich | American Sandwich Recipes

Back in 2012. I saw a program on PBS about Sandwich favorites found across the USA. The program was  called Sandwiches That You Will Like. It was a deliciously well made program with favorites from many American stated being featured. One of the sandwiches that intrigued me both for its history and its saucy taste was the Louisiana Po'Boy!! The original Po'Boy Sandwich is a New Orleans favorite that is made with a spiced meat, chicken, or fried seafood filling of choice. This filling is stuffed into a French Baguette like loaf famous for a soft fluffy interior and crusty exterior. If you like your Po'Boy dressed, it comes with salad vegetables including lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise. Onions tend to be optional and the Po'Boys made with meat are accompanied with a coarsely ground mustard and/or gravy too.

The term Po'Boy itself has an interesting origin. While fried seafood sandwiches were popular in New Orleans from the 1800's, the term Po'Boy is meant to refer to a particular kind of sandwich. In 1929, restaurant owners Benny and Clovis Martin served their colleagues from a streetcar company (where they were formally employed) sandwiches free of cost for four months during a strike at the company. Benny and Clovis often referred to the strikers as poor boys, and this name soon became synonymous with the sandwich they served them! Po'Boy is simply a shortened version of this term.

I loved the idea of this sandwich so much that I just had to come up with a vegetarian | vegan version of it!! So I started out with replacing the meat or seafood with Tofu, which I spiced with the classic Po'Boy spices. I then pan grilled it and served it salad and a delicious yogurt dip in a pita. The Po'Boy is all vegan, and you can simply use non-dairy yogurt versions in place of the Greek yogurt that I have used to make the dip!!

1 box Tofu (extra firm, not the silken variety)
1 tsp chili powder
Pinch granulated sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp olive oil
Pita pockets, as needed

For the Salad:
8 lettuce leaves, washed and drained
1 onion, sliced fine
4 red radish, sliced fine
1 carrot, sliced fine

For the dip:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (non-dairy yogurt, if vegan)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

  1. Remove the tofu from the box, place on a thick kitchen towel to drain water. 
  2. Then wrap in multiple sheets of paper towel and place under a heavy pan for at least 4 four hours. This will allow all the excess water to be drained and the tofu block to compress and firm.
  3. Remove pan, and the kitchen towels that wrap the tofu block.
  4. Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  5. Prepare the seasoning for the tofu slices by mixing together the chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, salt to taste, and no more than a pinch of sugar.
  6. Toss the tofu slices in this mix making sure they are well coated on all sides.
  7. Warm a table spoon of olive oil in a pan. Place slices in it. Cook on a medium low heat, adding oil as needed until both sides are well done.
  8. Remove onto a kitchen towel to drain of excess oil.
  9. Prepare the dip by whisking together the Greek yogurt with the spices, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  10. Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces, the toss all salad ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
  11. Divide the pitas into halves, warm on a griddle, then stuff each pocket with some tossed salad, a good helping of dip, and a couple of slices of the cooked tofu.
  12. Enjoy warm with more salad and dip.
Vegan Recipe

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  1. wow very interesting and filling po boy sandwich :) love the spiced shallow fried tofu :) Sandwich Looks fantastic dear

    1. Thanks Manjula, I was also surprised by how tasty this sandwich turned out!

  2. Hello Aparna, This sandwich is worth giving a try.The filling sounds great. I will try to make pita bread at home and enjoy them all the more. Genius idea to veganise the recipe :)

  3. Home made pita is the best Namita! And it's really easy to bake!


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