Let’s Get Cooking: Chinese Vegetarian Sandwich with Sesame Sauce

This is a convenient, modern adaptation of a sort of ‘Chinese sandwich’ that is traditionally made with flat wholemeal bread which requires special ovens and a lot of experience to prepare properly.  Instead, we substitute any heavy, high quality wholegrain bakery bread, thinly sliced and toasted, and this provides equally good, if not better, results.  The key to any good sandwich, besides fresh ingredients, is the spread, and in Chinese sandwiches sesame paste is the key to the spread.


  • 3 thin slices of heavy wholegrain bread, toasted
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 12-15 fresh celery leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced


  • 35 g. (1/4 cup) raw sunflower seeds, presoaked at least 3 hours (or overnight) in cool water and drained
  • 2 tablespoons dark Chinese sesame paste (or tahini) blended with 3 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. To prepare the spread, place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend to a smooth paste.  Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
  2. To assemble the sandwich, slice and toast the bread.  Place a slice of toast on a plate and cover with one-quarter of the spread.  Arrange half the tomato, chopped celery leaves, lettuce and onions on top of the spread.  Top with a second slice of toast spread–side down, then cover the top of that slice with spread and arrange remaining vegetables on it.  Complete the sandwich with the third slice of toast placed spread–side down.
  3. Cut in half with sharp knife, or serve whole.

As with all sandwiches, you may improvise and experiment with a variety of different fillings, as well as different types of wholemeal toast (sourdough rye is especially good with the Chinese sesame spread).  As long as you use the basic sesame sauce, or some version of it, as your spread, the sandwich will taste ‘Chinese.’ It will also have the unique health virtues of Chinese food, for sesame paste is a very potent source of nutritional elements.

Serves 1

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Assembling time: 5 minutes

[ From https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6997/10-Reasons-to-Eat-Tahini.html

10 Health Benefits of Tahini [ground sesame seeds]
  • It’s rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesiumpotassium and iron.
  • It’s a good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.
  • It’s one of the best sources of calcium out there.
  • It’s high in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15. + more]

Be healthy — and Enjoy.   

Aloha, Renee

From: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking, Daniel Reid, Periplus Mini Cookbooks, p. 8.


About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

3 responses to “Let’s Get Cooking: Chinese Vegetarian Sandwich with Sesame Sauce”

  1. Rosita says :

    it simply seems delicious. I’ve missed A LOT ur “Let’s Get Cooking” posts, as a newbie in cooking and fussy eater myself 😅😅😅 it makes me curious about trying new foods and getting to practice cooking 🙂 well, basically Young Adult Survival Skills, right?! 🤟🏼 Also, I’m training more and more my skills in arts (I’m NOT pro yet, tho!), and I’ve made a DeviantArt acc, already got 20 points there — soon to make a PayPal acc, so I can exchange such points into real money and be economically independent from my PAWrents’, hopefully. Adulthood ain’t so bad, tho. BTW, it seems I’ve got a new puppy (a black, Island Dog X Bully Kutta mix), and it’s gonna be our 2nd dog at apartment, aside from Cleo — can’t have any more pets in apartment, sadly —, wha’ a cork of a gift I got! Puppy’s name is gonna be Gili, means “Happiness” in Hebrew, and, honestly, it fits her quite well. Anyway, guess who here is entering in uni next yr, PAWsibly in August or so? U’re talking to her!! 😁As I choose a course in which I’ll be working — and debating — with ppl A LOT, I’ll be a voice for disabled (I’m disabled myself) as well as other minorities and pariah & primitive dogs worldwide and other animals (I might work at environmental area of it, TBH) ❤️ Hope y’all are fine.
    With much love,

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: Congratulations on getting Gili; she is sure to bring you joy. And congratulations on going to university. You will have much opportunity to grow and question and find new paths there. You are already creative in many ways and are fluent in at least two languages that I know about and have a love of animals and our Earth. So you are one of the young people who will work on creating a better world. We know there is much to do. So it will be interesting to see how your interests and skills develop. Good luck with everything. Be happy in the moment too. We are good; thanks for checking. I’ll look for another good recipe for you. Aloha, Renee

      • Rosita says :

        Thanks, love❣️❣️❣️ Can’t wait for y’all to make InstaGram so we can keep in touch with more frequency 🤟🏼 I’d also love properly learning a 3rd language – already learnt a few Indonesian words thro InstaGram friends -, and am quite interested in learning French, tho.. I will go for it, as is useful for path field I’m considering to get in, within Laws’ course! 🙂 BTW, my DeviantArt (DA) acc is Tropical-Woof, if y’all wanna give it a look 😜
        With much love,

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