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Meat-Free Favorites : Pan Bagnat

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By Elena Johnson

Pan Bagnat is a delicious and hearty sandwich – perfect for bringing on a picnic or serving at a pool party. The style of sandwich comes from the south of France (literal translation: bathed bread) where the bread and ingredients are drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette before being wrapped and pressed overnight. The end result is layers of flavorful ingredients compressed into a compact, rich meal. Often calling for anchovies, sardines, or tuna, my version includes a vegetarian chickpea salad that is somewhat reminiscent of tuna salad. Any leftover chickpea salad can be made into sandwiches as well – or served on top of fresh lettuce for a filling salad.

Pan Bagnat

Pan Bagnat


Pan Bagnat

8 servings

Chickpea Salad:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¼ cup egg-free mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dulse or other seaweed flakes/powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. black pepper


  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil

1 large focaccia

1 large tomato, sliced

¼ tsp. salt

½ cup oil-cured olives, pitted and cut in half

2 cups red leaf lettuce, torn

Make the chickpea salad: In a large bowl, mash chickpeas well with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, green onion, dulse, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Make the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Assemble the sandwich: Slice the focaccia in half horizontally. Drizzle a tablespoon of vinaigrette on the cut side of each half. Arrange tomato slices on the bottom half and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt. Scatter the olives over the tomato layer. Spread a layer of chickpea salad over the tomato and olives. You may have some of the mixture leftover depending on the size of the focaccia. Drizzle a little vinaigrette across the chickpea salad layer and top with the lettuce. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the lettuce. Cover with the top of the focaccia and press down. Wrap the entire focaccia tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator with a heavy pan on top to press the sandwich’s layers together. Leave overnight or at least a few hours. When ready to serve, unwrap the sandwich and cut crosswise into individual portions.

About the Author

Elena Johnson

Elena Johnson

Elena Johnson is a second-generation Filipino American living in Baltimore, MD. As a vegan chef and caterer she has been reinventing her family’s recipes and sharing these vegetarian versions of Filipino comfort food with friends, relatives, and those unfamiliar with the flavors of the Philippines. Elena is also the Special Projects Manager at Compassion Over Killing, a national animal advocacy organization focusing on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promoting vegetarian eating as a way to build a kinder world for all. Elena combines her passion for vegetarian food with a love of teaching by offering cooking demonstrations to the public. To learn more about why she went veg, visit TryVeg.com. Questions/feedback: email ejohnson@cok.net.

About the Author

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