Relive the days of the blue plate special with a hot open faced sandwich. This classic sandwich gets a vegan makeover with seitan and gravy.
It’s total comfort food that’s great for a chilly night. Plus, it’s perfect for repurposing holiday leftovers!
Growing up, one of my favorite dinners was hot open faced turkey sandwiches (also called hot turkey sandwiches).
The carb-on-carb action of mashed potatoes on bread doused with gravy really satisfied when the temperatures dropped.
The recipe basically involved compiling, which makes for some very quick & easy weeknight dining.
Open faced sandwiches use just one slice of bread. Then they’re covered in toppings with no second piece of bread to block its “face.”
This hearty sandwich can’t be picked up & eaten like most sandwiches. It requires a knife and fork.
The smush of the mashed potatoes and bread combine with savory gravy, and underneath, toothsome seitan. I especially love how the yeasty flavor of the bread stands out from underneath.
The coziness is at an 11 at least.
Great way to repurpose leftovers
At the holidays, we are often flush with leftovers. By taking odds and ends we can repurpose them into something even better than the sum of its parts.
Pull out any seitan, gravy, and mashed potatoes from the refrigerator & reheat.
I like to use thin slices of my homemade seitan chicken. But any vegan chick’n or turk’y will work here as well.
By the way, seitan, gravy, mashed potatoes, and bread are also freezer-friendly. So it’s easy to make a bunch, and throw the separate components into the freezer for future meals to thaw, heat, and enjoy.
What kind of bread should I use?
Any kind of bread works for a hot open faced sandwich. I use the whole grain slices that I typically have on hand for sandwiches. (You can see my preferred bread on my list of favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products.)
However, you could easily go with white bread for the nostalgia factor. Sourdough would also be nice here.
The bread texture is best when it is still soft. So if yours is a little stale, I recommend either warming the bread in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, toasting it in a dry skillet, or popping it into the toaster oven until just warmed.
How to make it
Here’s what you will need for this sandwich.
Cut seitan chicken into thin slices. Warm the seitan in a skillet with a little oil.
Once the slices have browned, add them to a slice of bread. Top with a dollop of mashed potatoes. And finish with a generous ladling of vegan turkey gravy.
If you’re so inclined, garnish with sliced green onions.
Make it your own
It’s easy to modify an open faced sandwich by swapping out ingredients or using store-bought instead of homemade.
- Instead of using homemade seitan, use sliced holiday roast, vegan turkey deli slices (like Tofurky), fully cooked vegan turk’y cutlets, roasted chickpeas, or air fried chick’n strips.
- Instead of pouring gravy over the seitan, add chunks of seitan to the gravy. Then pour that over the mashed potatoes & bread.
- Replace the mashed potatoes with vegan stuffing or do half potatoes/half stuffing.
- Replace vegan turkey gravy with seitan bacon gravy, creamy cashew gravy with chestnuts, or store-bought vegan gravy.
- Vary the bread by using whole grain, whole wheat, white, or sourdough.
- Skip the bread and mashed potatoes, and put the gravy & seitan over an air fryer baked potato.
What to serve with it
This is a substantive, filling sandwich that could easily be a full meal on its own. But it also goes great with a lighter side.
Here are some side dish recipes that pair well with it:
- Sautéed kale
- Roasted cabbage
- Broccolini with garlic
- Easy collard greens
- Salad with persimmons & delicata squash
- Fall salad with apples & candied pecans
- Orange cranberry sauce or cranberry salsa
Hot open faced sandwich with seitan & gravy
- Bring a non-stick skillet to a medium heat with oil. Put the thinly sliced seitan chicken in the skillet and cook until browned on one side. Then flip with a spatula, and let the other side cook a couple minutes more, until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To serve, put one slice of bread on each individual plate. Top each piece of bread with a few slices of browned seitan, about ½ cup of vegan mashed potatoes, and about ¼ cup of vegan turkey gravy (or more if desired). Finish with a sprinkling of green onions as an optional garnish. Serve right away.