I swear, every year there are more and more vegan Christmas options in the many high street coffee shops and lunch meal deals. 2019 is no different! Every day for the last week or so, my husband has come home and boasted about how he’s tried another Christmas-themed vegan sandwich for his lunch! So, since I was very jealous, we went down the shops today and bought every, single, one.
Yep, that’s right! ALL THE SANDWICHES! Our haul was:
- Vegan No Salmon, No Cream Cheese, from Boots
- Vegan Christmas Feast, from Boots
- Vegan Christmas Market, from Boots
- Vegan Christmas Dinner, from Caffè Nero
- Veggies Under Vests, from Costa Coffee
- The Very Mery Christmas Lunch, from Pret a Manger
- Very Merry Vegan Wrap, from Starbucks
There was only one thing for it: a vegan Christmas sandwich showdown.
We had a pretty low list of requirements from our sandwiches. They had to:
- be totally vegan
- be from a Christmas range
- involve bread of some description
And with that in mind, we’ll dive in. I’ve divided this into ‘his’ and ‘hers’ opinions, with a summary at the end of the overall winners and loser. TLDR: click here to skip to the end.
THE Vegan Christmas Sandwich Showdown, 2019
Vegan Christmas Feast, from Boots
His: White bread instead of brown put this sandwich on the back foot from the start and the uninspiring stuffing filling didn’t do much to salvage it but I liked the crispy fried onions. The value you get from Boots is very good but there are better sandwiches out there. 2 stars.
Hers: This one has a special place in my heart as the first one I tried on my own, pre-showdown. The stuffing is a nice touch, it really adds to the ‘feast’ angle, because if there’s one side dish that you’re guaranteed to find at many Christmas dinners, it’s stuffing! Overall though, there’s not much else to it. It mostly tastes like mayo and cranberry sauce (with a hint of stuffing) – on white bread. 3.5 stars.
Vegan Christmas Market, from Boots
His: Kudos to Boots for giving us a fake meat/plant protein option amid the endless falafel/stuffing. Unfortunately for me, I don’t like white bread and nor did I like the overpowering onion flavour. Onions are normally a complementary flavour to my Christmas market (vegan) bratwurst rather than the main event – 2 stars.
Hers: I’m generally not a fan of cold sausages in a sandwich, but this wasn’t bad. The onion chutney comes through the strongest – I didn’t even know it had cabbage and mustard in there until I looked it up after! Overall, quite nice. If I got one home again, I’d probably grill it. 3 stars.
Vegan No Salmon, No Cream Cheese, from Boots
His: My favourite of the boots range as the vegan cream cheese is very convincing and compliments the crunchy peeled carrot very nicely, in an interesting and tasty oatmeal bread. I never had salmon & cream cheese before going vegan, let alone at Christmas so it will be a shame when it retires after the festive period – 4 stars
Hers: I really wanted to like this one! But… no. Just.. no. It is nothing like salmon and nothing like cream cheese. So, they’re not wrong in the title but I feel it misleads those buying it into thinking it’ll be amazingly similar?! Perhaps that’s just me. And you can make really good vegan cream cheese! The strongest flavour in this was the herbs (chives, I think). So… a soft chive sandwich on white bread. 2 stars.
Vegan Christmas Dinner, from Caffè Nero
His: It’s hard to beat a panini-style toasted ciabatta so props to Nero for sticking with a tried & tested formula. The falafel filling held together well with the mild but noticeable cranberry & vegan mayo flavours. I won’t be singing about it from the rooftops, but it makes a pleasing festive lunch option – 3 stars.
Hers: This comes in a ciabatta roll, rather than sliced bread and is supposed to be served hot. We grabbed one to take home, so I heated it at home (badly). I can see how properly toasted this would be a really nice option. It has the classic vegan sandwich fallback of falafel, with the festive favourite addition of cranberry and mayo, plus there are some more veggies (the classic carrot! And some kale). Whilst not massively original, I really enjoyed it. Again, the cranberry was by far the strongest flavour, but it didn’t overwhelm the rest of the sandwich. 4 stars.
Veggies Under Vests, from Costa Coffee
His: Falafel again, but this time with a cranberry sauce that kinda dominates the whole sandwich. I really like the brown bread which holds the filling nicely, but this very sweet and reasonably enjoyable offering from Costa is just a little uninspiring – 3 stars.
Hers: More cranberries! Yep, another Christmas vegan sandwich featuring cranberry sauce. And falafel. But, bonus points for being on brown bread! Overall, quite a nice sandwich. There’s (again) carrot in this one, but a couple of layers which, in combination with the rest, work well together to make a good texture when you bite into it. 4 stars.
The Very Mery Christmas Lunch, from Pret a Manger
His: As a Pret fanboy I was already sure I’d like their Christmas sandwich, even though once again it’s falafel on the menu. It’s not just any falafel though, the pecans and chestnuts make the sandwich a crunchy dining experience, and the flavour that prevails most is the delicious caramelised pecans with the orange cranberry. An interesting and delightful mix of flavours, I just wish it wouldn’t fall apart so easily – 5 stars.
Hers: I realised two bites in that this contained pecans, which I’m allergic to! But: falafel. N/A.
Very Merry Vegan Wrap, from Starbucks
His: I’m not the biggest fan of off-the-shelf wraps, and unfortunately Starbucks didn’t do much to convince me otherwise. It’s not bad though, the slightly spicy and savoury flavours in the squash fritter and red cabbage made a nice change from the others. That’s a wrap for this one anyway – 3 stars.
Hers: I… am on the fence. Falafel! My old friend! However, this one comes in a beetroot wrap without the usual cranberry and mayo sauces. Because of that, the falafel took a bit more centre stage – and it is a nice falafel, but I couldn’t blame the soft, almost soggy, nature of the wrap on the sauce either. I also can’t say it’s a one-off because every time I have anything in-a-wrap at Starbucks, it feels like this. 2.5 stars.
The Winner: Pret got 5 stars from my husband, but it’s a useless option for nut allergy sufferers so I’m declaring the Caffè Nero option the winner!
The Loser: It’s largely subjective (okay, it’s entirely subjective), but the Starbucks wrap got two bad scores, so I’m putting that one at the bottom. Sorry Starbucks fans!