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Twisted’s definitive ranking of 2023’s vegan high-street Christmas sandwiches

18/12/2023

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman

05m read

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Some of you might be aware that here at Twisted we like to rank festive sarnies every year – but what about the best vegan Christmas sandwiches?

Plant-based eaters deserve a cracking Christmas sarnie, too, so on top of 16 meaty sarnies, we also tucked into 12 of the high-street’s best (and worst) vegan Christmas sandwiches, too.

It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

A selection of the vegan sandwiches we tried (Credit: Twisted)

In the interest of fairness, we asked everybody from our chefs to our videographers to get in on the ranking, and we all had no idea where any of the sandwiches were from. The only thing we were considering were two essential factors: Taste, and Overall Festive Vibes.

Ordered from bottom to top, here’s our analysis of this year’s selection:

Sainsburys Plant Pioneers No Pigs Under Blankets

Sainsbury's offer a festive sarnie stuffed with meat alternatives (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 5.5

Christmassy-ness: 3

Average Score: 4.3

The Verdict: The Sainsbury's vegan Christmas sandwich is full of plant-based meat, but not much else.

It's basically a malted bread sarnie packed full of vegan sausages (made from mushroom and wheat protein), plant-based bacon (made from wheat and pea protein), baconaise, cranberry chutney and onion.

The festive bells and whistles might be on the ingredients list, but they got lost in a sea of meat substitutes.

Would we scran this on a hangover? Absolutely.

However, bacon is the dominant flavour – a Christmas sandwich it is not.

Lidl Vegan Falafel and Cranberry Wrap

Lidl brought a falafel wrap to the table (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 6.5

Christmassy-ness: 2.5

Average Score: 4.5

The Verdict: Falafel is a somewhat predictable vegan option at the best of times, but at Christmas? It's undoubtedly a little laclustre.

We had no problem with Lidl turning a Christmas sandwich into a wrap – in fact, we salute the inventiveness (and loved its purple hue thanks to the beetroot and chia seed).

However, it has to be said that the only festive nods were a butternut squash falafel ball and a dollop of cranberry sauce, and as Twisted Green brand lead, Mia, so eloquently put it: "cranberry sauce does not a Christmas sandwich make."

We're firm believers that humous also does not belong in a Christmas sandwich, even if it's a vegan one. Saying that, as a falafel wrap goes, it was actually perfectly nice.

Tesco Plant Chef Spiced Butternut Squash and Chestnut

Tesco's vegan Christmas offering was a butternut and chestnut wrap (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 8

Christmassy-ness: 2

Average Score: 5

The Verdict: Another vegan Christmas wrap, this time from Tesco.

This one actually scored high on the taste test. Twisted's editor, Joanna, noted it was a "lovely veg packed wrap" and Creative Production Lead Alice praised its "really nice, curried flavour."

It came filled with butternut squash, chestnut, red cabbage, vegan mayo and spinach, but ultimately its downfall was that half of these festive flavours failed to come through.

Squash might be common a vegan centrepiece over the holidays, but alone it doesn't sing Christmas, and the chestnut and red cabbage got a little lost, here.

Still, props to Tesco for doing something different amongst a sea of fake meat!

Morrisons Plant Revolution Vegan No Turkey and Stuffing Sandwich

Morrisons' Plant Revolution is packed with plant protein and stuffing (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 4.5

Christmassy-ness: 6

Average Score: 5.3

The Verdict: If Tesco lost out on a higher score because it strayed from the rest of the pack, Morrisons earned its middling position for playing it safe.

Hey, nobody said nailing a Christmas sandwich was easy!

The vegan turkey and stuffing sandwich came with succulent soy pieces, sage and onion stuffing and cranberry chutney, in oatmeal bread.

No components of this sandwich were a miss, but none were a major hit either.

It delivered what we expected from a vegan Christmas sandwich, but on balance it wasn't one of the best of the day.

Co-op GRO No Turkey Feast Christmas Sandwich

The Co-op vegan Christmas sandwich is a turkey alternative (Credit: Co-op)

Taste: 4

Christmassy-ness: 6.5

Average Score: 5.3

The Verdict: Co-op came joint seventh, alongside Morrisons.

Their turkey-less feast comes filled with soya protein pieces, roasted carrots and parsnips, spinach and a sage, onion and oat stuffing and a cranberry chutney, which was rather the dominant flavour here.

There was no mistaking that this was a Christmas sandwich, but that was only really down to its cranberry sweetness.

The pea protein was a nice texture but didn't add much flavour on its own. As for the salad? It was a perfectly pleasant addition, but a festive slaw would have taken this up a notch, and balanced out the cranberry.

Aldi Plant Menu Vegan Festive Feast Christmas Sandwich

Aldi's Plant Menu offers up a colourful vegan sandwich (Credit: Aldi)

Taste: 5.5

Christmassy-ness: 6

Average Score: 6

The Verdict: All the taste testers agreed that this one was a welcome splash of colour in a sea of beige, so props to Aldi for that!

This sandwich was packed with veg – there was red cabbage, a parsnip fritter, and spinach alongside a vegan sage and onion mayo.

The fritter could have done with a hint more seasoning and overall the sandwich felt a little dry, although the red cabbage that was present was really tasty, added a crunch and almost tasted pickled.

We have to commend Aldi for approaching the Christmas sandwich in a unique way, here, and the solid average score reflects that. 

Waitrose PlantLiving Vegan Bubble & Squeak Sandwich

Waitrose fill their festive sub with bubble and squeak (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 6.5

Christmassy-ness: 6

Average Score: 6.3

The Verdict: Waitrose's vegan Christmas sandwich also veers away from meat alternatives in favour of veg, and their bubble and squeak sarnie landed them in fifth place.

It's a malted bread sandwich filled with crumbled bubble and squeak (made out of potato, savoy cabbage and parsnip pieces), roasted butternut squash and pickled red cabbage, with spinach, chilli jam and vegan mayo.

Our videography manager Harry was quick to celebrate a veg packed sandwich done well, whilst Mia noted the whole thing "looked very Christmassy," too.

There could have been a bit more chilli jam and vegan mayo to balance out the veg patty, here, but all in all a decent festive sarnie.

Caffe Nero's Vegan Festive Feast Panini

Caffe Nero put a panini forward as their vegan option (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 7.5

Christmassy-ness: 5.5

Average Score: 6.5

The Verdict: Caffe Nero had some of the freshest bread of the all our contenders (a crunchy sourdough panini), and the sandwich was moist and overall pretty darn enjoyable.

The turkey alternative had a super realistic texture and actually had flavour – they use the super popular THIS products – however, as far as festive notes go the team tasted red cabbage and little else.

Caffe Nero say that there was also an apple, sage and onion stuffing in there, too, although, truth be told, this got a little swamped by the other ingredients.

Still, it's a perfectly nice panini that we'd order again – just maybe not as Christmassy as some of the others.

M&S Ho Ho Pesto and Veg Christmas Sandwich

M&S have a new vegan sandwich this year (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 8

Christmassy-ness: 6

Average Score: 7

The Verdict: More veg! We love to see it.

Hear us out. Pesto might not be an obvious Christmas sandwich addition, but it was really welcome in this butternut squash sarnie from M&S.

The festive flavours actually still shone through thanks not only to the squash but to a flavour packed red cabbage slaw, and the pesto added a nuttiness which felt pretty reminiscent of a nut roast, when accompanied by all the right trimmings.

No, this isn't an imitation turkey sando and it isn't trying to be. You can find more festive options, sure, but considering the taste and this deserves joint third.

Pret's Christmas Nut Roast Sandwich

Pret's vegan nut roast sandwich is a real treat (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 6.5

Christmassy-ness: 7

Average Score: 7

The Verdict: Ah, Pret. They're boxed sandwich pros for a reason.

Their Christmas Nut Roast is a yearly favourite for many – Joanna clocked it instantly upon tasting, and noted it "slaps every time."

It's actually pretty similar in contents to M&S's offering, packed full of butternut squash, salad (this time rocket) and a pesto to pull it all together.

This one's made with chestnuts, pine nuts & rosemary, and tastes like you're biting into a vegan centrepiece.

There's also a vegan sage mayo, caramelised pecans and crispy onions in the mix here, although more sauciness wouldn't have gone amiss, and perhaps a tad less salad to balance it off.

Greggs' Vegan Festive Baguette

Breaded goujons, cranberry sauce and gravy. Yum (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 9

Christmassy-ness: 7

Average Score: 8

The Verdict: Greggs are swiftly becoming Twisted favourites when it comes to our Christmas sandwich rankings.

They landed third place in our meat sarnie tasting and now they've only gone and bagged second in the vegan leaderboard for 2023, so if you haven't tried their Christmas subs then get to know!

Their plant-based festive baguette is served hot and comes with plant-based goujons which were breaded in a sage and onion crumb.

The fact the fake meat pieces were breaded made this feel like more of a treat, and you really got a whack of Christmas flavour from the crumb.

There was a decent amount of texture to this meat alternative too, and it was by far the best of the day. Plus, the cranberry and onion relish was dolloped on plentifully.

Nobody's reinventing the wheel here, just doing the basics very well.

Costa Vegan Turkey and Trimmings Toastie

Costa's vegan Christmas toastie was our 2023 winner (Credit: Twisted)

Taste: 8

Christmassy-ness: 9.5

Average Score: 8.8

The Verdict: Our winner for 2023 is Costa, who ultimately smashed it on both festive notes and the overall flavour.

The Costa Vegan Turkey and Trimmings Toastie was "moist, soft and moreish", according to Harry – and pretty much all of our tasters, actually.

The meat alternative was succulent and a really convincing texture and ultimately the consensus was just that this was really bloody delicious.

Generous lashings of gravy, cranberry sauce and vegan mayonnaise balanced out the 'meatiness' nicely here, and made the sandwich feel like a proper festive mouthful.

The fact this was a hot offering no doubt added to the score too.

Well done Costa - this was a cracker.

Of course, we’re not saying this is the best vegan Christmas sandwich ever. There are independent sandwich shops which quite frankly thrash all of these on the ‘reg.

But if you’re looking to grab a quick and affordable plant-based Christmas sandwich on the high-street this year, then there are certainly some strong contenders out there.

And with that, we wish you a merry lunch-break!

Featured Image: Twisted

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