Back when I was vegetarian instead of vegan, I used to love grilled cheese sandwiches. The oily crunchiness of the fried bread and the gooey cheese just provide so much satisfaction. I liked dipping my grilled cheese in ketchup, with the contrast of the hot salty sandwich and the cool sweet ketchup. There's a grilled cheese sandwich restaurant near my new place. That's right -- a restaurant that sells only grilled cheese sandwiches. I would say that it's cruelly taunting me, except that I know a secret. Shhhh, come close and I'll whisper it to you: you can make a grilled anything sandwich. It doesn't need to be cheese. There are plenty of other things that taste just as amazing in a grilled sandwich. And plenty of other things that don't. Trust me, I've done a lot of grilled sandwich experimenting. So far, I've hit on three different grilled sandwiches that I keep coming back to. (1) Avocado, (2) peanut butter, and (3) refried beans. The last one on that list is the one I want to tell you about today.
Grilled refried bean sandwiches are every bit as good, in my opinion, as grilled cheese sandwiches. They satisfy all the same needs, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual. They feature oily crunchy bread, soft satisfying insides, and are very dipable in ketchup. They would be served in every diner worth mentioning if we lived in a world where every diner was vegan.
Recipe: Grilled refried bean sandwich
Yields 1 sandwich -- multiply recipe as needed
2 slices of bread
1/4 cup refried beans (homemade or from a can)
1 tbs salsa
1/2 tbs margarine or butter
1/2 tbs vegenaise or mayonaise (optional)
1. Butter one side of both slices of bread.
2. On the unbuttered side of one of the slices of bread, spread the mayonaise (if using). On top of this, spread the refried beans. Finally, spread the salsa on top of the beans.
3. Close the sandwich such that both buttered sides of the bread are facing outwards.
4. Fry the sandwich lightly, about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
5. Enjoy served with ketchup or more salsa as well as a side of pickles!