Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches | picklesnhoney.com

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches | picklesnhoney.com

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches, or Vegan Caprese Tartines if you’re fancy. I actually only learned what a tartine is a few years ago, after we left San Francisco and had been frequenting the famous bakery by the same name for months. Better late than never, right?

Before I gush about my new favorite sandwich tartine, I have to confess that I am perhaps a little delirious with the exhaustion from moving, and the stress that comes with buying your first home. All-in-all, things went smoothly despite several fire drills along the way, and as I look around me at the light pouring into our new, open, and beautiful space, I keep asking, “Is this real? Do I actually live here now?” It’s so different from our last apartment in the best possible ways.

And that last rental apartment. Things ended on a rather sour note, unfortunately. In our five years total there (two pre-San Francisco, and three post-SF), we really did make it a point to treat it as our own—from re-painting the walls white (and purchasing several hundred dollars worth of supplies to do so), to regularly shoveling the snow around the front and back of the building, to watering the plants and taking out the building’s recycling when the landlord was in Israel for weeks at a time. He was appreciative and would leave us baked goods or gift cards as a thank you, and we gently reminded him multiple times that he needed to turn on the heat in the winter, overlooked it when it took him a year to fix a wasp infestation that made our porch unusable, or when he would schedule construction projects without notice that dragged on for a full year and started at 8am even on Sundays. We also used the back door to take the dogs outside after his wife complained that they made the entryway smell (insulting and completely untrue). Basically, we let a lot of things slide over the years because we thought he was a nice guy despite his difficult wife, and that’s just part of being a good neighbor.

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches | picklesnhoney.com

When we moved out on Friday, I spent several hours cleaning the apartment, and then we came back Saturday morning and spent another half day scrubbing it down some more. It was the casual exchange we had made for our landlord letting us stay on a few extra days to accommodate our condo close date. And after we finished cleaning, we walked upstairs to his place to turn in our keys and do a final walkthrough, saying to each other how we were leaving the apartment in so much better condition than we found it. Our landlord didn’t answer his door, though we could hear his cell phone and footsteps inside and see his car parked outside.

After numerous calls, we finally got through to him late Sunday afternoon and were told that he was disappointed with how we left the place and would be taking a substantial amount of money from our security deposit. We swallowed our pride and went back that night to clean it to his liking, where I was greeted by his very unpleasant wife, who pointed to two crumbs in the fridge, rust on the old stove she swore was our fault, discoloration on the 100+ year old bathroom tiles and inside the lid of the toilet, among many, many other ridiculous things—it was immediately apparent that there was no winning. When we pointed out that the apartment had not been professionally cleaned before we moved in (something I never saw them do to any of the units in the five years we were there), she denied it and insisted it was spotless. Aaron and I scrubbed for another two and a half hours and then left after the owner returned to shyly tell us he would be mailing us our security deposit.

The experience reminded me of a few lessons I’ve learned several times in life, and which will hopefully stick this time:

1.  People often get weird when you end a lease or leave a job, even if you felt like there was a mutual friendship there.

2.  Any time money is involved, you need to remember it’s a business transaction and keep a level of formality. All it takes is one passive aggressive exchange to create ill-will and the whole thing can go south fast.

3.  Take photos as documentation. You never know when you’ll need to reference them.

4.  Don’t underestimate the comfort a good meal can bring when you’re emotionally and physically spent. Especially a good sandwich.

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches | picklesnhoney.com

This vegan caprese tartine is based on one of my favorite salad recipes from a couple of years ago. For my latest rendition, I used both avocado and pressed, extra firm tofu in place of the mozzarella, and dressed it all up with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar reduction. It’s one very messy, very comforting sandwich that’s super quick to assemble. Serve it atop your favorite toasted sandwich bread, sit in the sunshine, and I think there’s a good chance you’ll feel more centered after you eat it.

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Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches | picklesnhoney.com

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches

Gluten Free, Vegan,

Serves: 2


Prep Time: 1 hour 5 mins

Your favorite caprese salad, veganized and in sandwich form. With creamy avocado and chewy, dense, pressed tofu--I promise you won't miss the cheese.

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches | picklesnhoney.com

Open-Faced Vegan Caprese Sandwiches

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Ingredients

  • 4 slices of your favorite sandwich bread, toasted
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 3/4 block extra firm tofu, pressed for at least 1 hour
  • 14-16 fresh basil leaves
  • 2-4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar reduction
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Cuisine: Gluten Free, Vegan Servings: 2

Prep Time: 1 hour 5 mins

Your favorite caprese salad, veganized and in sandwich form. With creamy avocado and chewy, dense, pressed tofu--I promise you won't miss the cheese.

Instructions

  • Slice the tomato, avocado, and tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices, and arrange them atop the bread, with tofu as the bottom layer, followed by tomato and then avocado.
  • Thinly slice the fresh basil and arrange over the avocado.
  • Drizzle the open-faced sandwiches with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Copyright © 2019 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

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  1. Oh, boy. So our last (and final) apartment: Our lease was up in September, but we started moving our stuff out in August, because that’s when we had settlement on our house. We still kept a few possessions in the apartment, however, and paid the rent for August. When we want back to pick up the rest of our stuff, someone else was living in the apartment! Our landlord had moved our stuff to the basement and leased the apartment to someone else. It was a nightmare getting our money back. Thankfully, they gave it to us when we threatened legal action. Never. renting. again! [/rant]

    On a much happier note, these sandwiches look delicious! I love anything caprese. 🙂

  2. valentina says

    This recipe is so beautiful and I’m sure so delicious!

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Valentina! You have such a beautiful name. 🙂

  3. Jennifer says

    My old apartment was pretty gnarly. They wouldn’t replace rotting windows, some were painted shut, etc. It was mostly bad since we had to threaten to sue to get things fixed. And when we did get it fixed, other things got broken. Our faucet broke, and when we came home it worked, but tiles were broken. We took lots of photos. We got our deposit back, but I have a feeling it was because we complained so much over two years.

    1. Amanda says

      I’m sorry your last apartment was so terrible! I understand landlords wanting to be frugal about repairs, but damaging other things in the process makes no sense!

      1. Jennifer says

        Our problem was that our apartment was part of a business that had several other properties. The other properties were taking in more money, so they catered to them first. My husband had a similar problem, there was mold that they never fixed, power washed the building without telling us (and got lots of water in the apartment), and never had a working oven. So in our current apartment when people complain we are just “no, this is the best thing you’ll ever get for you money!”

  4. I’ve totally had experiences like that with jobs where everything was fine until I wanted to move on. It was like nothing good had existed there before! It’s frustrating but understandable on some level. You have a good perspective on it though!

    These look delicious and look truly comforting 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      It’s so unfortunate that jobs/leases/whatever have to end in an awkward way! There’s just no need for it, and you never know when you’re going to run into that person again.

  5. Kait says

    Yuuuuuuuuuum!

    Also boo landlords! Feeling super grateful for the amazing owns we’ve had. 🙂
    *knocks on wood*

  6. Ugh, that’s the worst! I can imagine it was the last thing you wanted to be doing when you had a whole new place to set up. Glad he finally gave it to you, time to move on! Congrats on the new place 🙂

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