The perfect sandwich does exist. It’s a fried artichoke sandwich with simple cabbage slaw and vegan jalapeño ranch.
Traveling and finding new vegan eats is what I love, and one of my stand-out meals is from The Arbor in Vancouver. They have lots of scrumptious menu items, but the best one is the southern fried artichoke sandwich. If you’re ever out there, give it a try. This is an ode to that amazing sandwich. The battered and fried artichokes have a satisfying crunch and a kind of buttery and tangy bite to them that you’re going to love. And yes, it’s messy to eat, which is the best part!
Fried Artichoke Sandwiches
Artichokes get a kick with vegan jalapeño ranch in these sandwiches.
For the cabbage slaw
- 2½ cups finely shredded purple cabbage
- 1 batch Jalapeño Ranch, divided
- ½ tbsp lime juice (about half a lime)
For the fried artichokes
- 2-3 cups neutral oil, for frying
- 10-12 canned or jarred whole artichoke hearts
- 1¼ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, divided
- ¾ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1-1½ cups club soda
For the sandwiches
- 4 sesame seed buns
- 1 dill pickle, sliced into thin rounds
For the jalapeño ranch
- ¾ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp pickled jalapeños in brine (about ten slices)
- 1 tbsp lime juice (about half a lime)
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped chives
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp sea salt
For the slaw
To make the cabbage slaw, combine the purple cabbage with 1 tablespoon of the jalapeño ranch and all the lime juice in a mixing bowl. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the fried artichokes.
For the artichokes
To make the fried artichokes, in a deep fryer or in a large heavy-bottom pot with a thermometer attached heat the fryer oil to 360°F. If using a pot, it should be around a third full of oil. Set aside a large baking sheet with a wire rack on top to place the fried artichokes on. Do not rest them on paper towels as they will become soggy.
Drain the artichoke hearts from the can or jar and cut them in half if they’re whole. Gently squeeze out any excess water from the artichoke pieces by patting between paper towels or with a clean tea towel so that the artichokes aren’t super wet.
To a large mixing bowl, add ½ cup of the gluten-free flour. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ¾ cup of the flour, the cornstarch, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne.
Once the oil is to temperature, add 1 cup of the club soda to the flour mixture to start and gently whisk until combined. Add more club soda as needed to ensure the batter is loose enough to dip and dredge the artichokes but thick enough that it sticks and doesn’t run right off too much. (The amount of liquid varies, as I find gluten-free flours to have varying hydration levels.) Use one hand to coat 4 or 5 artichoke halves in the flour dredge and then coat one piece at a time in the liquid batter. Lift each piece from the batter and let the excess drip off. Quickly place the battered artichokes directly in the hot oil and fry the first batch for 4 to 6 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
Use a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs to place the artichokes onto the wire rack, and continue frying in batches.
For the jalapeño ranch
In a high-powered blender or small food processor combine the vegan mayonnaise, pickled jalapeños, lime juice, dill, chives, onion powder, black pepper, and sea salt and blend until very smooth.
Alternatively, you can finely chop the jalapeños and herbs and combine the ingredients in a bowl or jar.
For the sandwiches
To make the sandwiches, lightly toast the buns. Spread the remaining jalapeño ranch on the inside of the top and bottom buns. Add the purple cabbage slaw to the bottom bun and top with pickles, 4 or 5 fried artichoke pieces, and the top bun.
If you only make 1 or 2 sandwiches, you can freeze the remaining fried artichokes and serve them later. Let the fried artichokes cool completely, freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer, then put them in a freezer-safe bag or container. To cook the artichokes from frozen, preheat your oven to 400°F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway, until cooked through and crispy.
Related: The 9 Best Plant-Based Cookbooks to Buy Now And Love Forever
Reprinted with permission from Hot for Food All Day, by Lauren Toyota. Ten Speed Press 2021. All rights reserved.