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Two halves of a vegan pesto sandwich sitting on top of each other on a plate.

Vegan Pesto Sandwich with Crispy Herb Tofu

  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


This hearty Vegan Pesto Sandwich is slathered with homemade red pesto and stuffed with air-fried crispy herb tofu. Easy to make and perfect for lunch.



Crispy Tofu

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 block (450g) extra firm tofu, drained and pat dry with a kitchen towel then cut into 4 length sized slabs

To Assemble Sandwich

  • 1 large ripe tomato, I used an heirloom and cut into slices
  • 12 cups baby spinach
  • 2 slices of hearty whole grain bread per sandwich (can make up to 4 sandwiches)
  • 12 tbsp of dairy-free red pesto or store bought pesto per sandwich
  • Salt


  1. To a shallow dish add your nutritional yeast, cornstarch, garlic, thyme and give a good mix to combine. Pour in the oil and soy sauce and mix again into a wet batter.
  2. Pat your tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel and cut the block into 4 slabs lengthwise. Take each tofu slab and coat evenly in the batter. Place the tofu in an air fryer basket and then cook at 400F for 15 minutes.
  3. Spread pesto on both slices of bread and then layer one slice with the spinach, the crispy tofu, and a slice or two of tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and then close the sandwich with the other slice of bread spread with pesto.
  4. If toasting your sandwich, place the sandwich in a panini press to warm through on both sides. Cook until golden on both sides, about 5-6 minutes (See notes for cooking without a panini press).


To make the sandwich without a panini press, you’ll need a skillet and a heavy bottom pot. Place your sandwich in the skillet and place the heavy bottom pot on top of it, gently pressing down on it as it cooks for 1-2 minutes or until crispy. Then with a spatula, flip the sandwich over and repeat the process with the heavy bottom pot to crisp up the other side.

You can make your panini with any bread you like, but going for an artisanal bread makes a big difference and will hold up to being pressed.

If you really want to get your bread crispy, brush the outside of the sandwich with a garlic infused olive oil before placing in the panini press.

You can choose different veggies for your sandwich like thinly sliced zucchini or roasted bell pepper. You can also add vegan cheese if you want a gooey center.

Keywords: vegan pesto sandwich, crispy air-fryer tofu