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The Ultimate California Veggie Sandwich

The California Veggie Sandwich is a classic for a reason! With pesto, hummus, avocado, and tons of crunchy vegetables, it’s full of hearty and nourishing ingredients and West coast vibes. Vegan and easily gluten-free!

side view of a vegan california veggie sandwich at a picnic on a blanket

FAQs About This Recipe

What is a California veggie sandwich?

A traditional California veggie is a hearty lunch sandwich made with two slices of crusty whole grain bread, a flavorful spread like pesto, sprouts, red onion, avocado, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This combination of creamy and crunchy elements is very satisfying.

Where did the name come from?

California is a state known for its wide array of fresh produce. This sandwich is fully loaded with fresh vegetables, so this name is a natural fit when combined with the whole grain sourdough bread that really came to prominence in San Francisco.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Whole-grain bread – Something “crusty” like sourdough
  • Hummus – Any flavor you prefer
  • Avocado – Just a few slices
  • Pesto – See this basil pesto recipe for a make-your-own version, or try a sun dried tomato pesto variation (there is a how-to video for pesto linked below)
  • Cucumber – Cut very thinly
  • Tomato – Any variety, heirlooms will taste best once they’re in season
  • Red onion – Just a few thin slices
  • Sprouts – Traditional bean sprouts or pea shoots work well
overhead shot of two slices of bread with hummus and pesto on a black plate next to cucumbers and tomatoes

Ways to Customize The Ultimate California Veggie Sandwich

Feel free to use any kind of bread you enjoy, and of course anything gluten-free will work perfectly well! If you do not have access to all of these ingredients, that is totally fine. Store-bought pesto and hummus will be a real time saver. If you like paninis, this would be a great candidate for that treatment. Better yet, feel free to melt on some vegan cheese!

This really is my “ideal” lunch. It’s filling, satisfying, and full of a variety of flavors and textures. With nearly 19 grams of protein, it will keep you going for a while and is perfect for a packable picnic, hike, or beach visit! Honestly, it’s made even better served alongside some salt and vinegar kettle chips.

hands holding a vegan california veggie sandwich over a picnic

Other Hearty Veggie Sandwich Recipes To Try

I hope you love this recipe! Please leave a comment if you end up trying it, I love hearing your thoughts!

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hands holding a vegan california veggie sandwich over a picnic

The Ultimate California Veggie Sandwich

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 sandwich 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


The California Veggie Sandwich is a classic for a reason! With pesto, hummus, avocado, and tons of crunchy vegetables, it’s full of hearty and nourishing ingredients and West coast vibes. Vegan and easily gluten-free!


  • 2 slices of whole grain, crusty bread (use GF bread if gluten-free)
  • 2 TBS hummus
  • 1/4 of an avocado (a few slices)
  • 2 TBS basil pesto (video below)
  • 6 slices of cucumber, cut thinly
  • 3 thick slices of tomato (any kind is fine)
  • 3 rounds of sliced red onion, cut thinly 
  • 1/3 cup bean sprouts or pea shoots


  1. Spread hummus on one piece of bread and pesto on the other. 
  2. Layer cucumber slices on top of the hummus, fitting them across the bread with a slight overlap. Next, add avocado, tomato and red onion pieces. 
  3. To the side of the sandwich with pesto, add sprouts (pressing down so they stick a bit). Sandwich the two sides together and press to flatten slightly. Wrap sandwich in parchment if desired, tying with a piece of twine for a picnic vibe. 
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Sandwiching
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 sandwich
  • Calories: 522 calories
  • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Sodium: 969.5 milligrams
  • Fat: 14.8 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12.4 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 82.1 grams
  • Fiber: 8.3 grams
  • Protein: 18.6 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: lunch, sandwich, california,

side view of a vegan california veggie sandwich on crusty bread
side view of a red tomato on a vine on a table
Portrait of Emily Meyers, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Emily (Frigon) Meyers is the founder of Garlic Head, a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets while saving time and money. She is a lifelong vegetarian and 10+ year vegan. Garlic Head does not focus on labels - it focuses on creating food that everyone can enjoy.

Emily earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University along with degrees in Economics, Spanish, and Global Sustainability from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been featured on numerous podcasts and websites including The Food Institute, VegNews, Buzzfeed, and the Boston Globe.

Meet Emily here.

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  1. Phoebe says

    This vegan California veggie sandwich is what dreams are made of! Thank you for this recipe!!

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