Air Fryer Vegan Melts

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Delicious crunchy, gooey, veggie-packed sandwiches, air fried to crunchy, melty perfection – this sandwich has tons of cheesy vegan flavor!

A stack of vegan melts with tomatoes and onions, perfect for the air fryer.
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A vegan sandwich with tomatoes and onions on a plate.

Vegan “Cheesy” Air Fryer Sandwiches

This is a grown-up grilled cheese – for a vegan diet!

We’re combining vegan sliced “meat” and vegan cheese with fresh tomatoes, onion, chives and herbs for an unforgettable sandwich that is full of nostalgic ham and cheese flavor – without the meat.

Our family loves meat and cheese, but we’re Greek Orthodox, and in our church we fast from animal products throughout the year at different periods – so I have to have inventive, easy, and delicious vegan dishes to get my kids through. Since we do eat meat and cheese, vegan dishes need to taste great when I make them – and it’s really important to find flavors of vegan replacements that you like. I personally prefer minimally processed cheeses and meat replacements – and try to stick to oatmilk (for dairy) and bean (for “meat”) based substitutes.

You might have to play around with brands you like to find the perfect fit – but once you do, this recipe is a standout!

A stack of delicious vegan melts with vegetables on top, cooked in an air fryer.

How to Make Vegan Air Fryer Sandwiches

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Sourdough Vegan Bread: Provides a sturdy base with a tangy flavor and crispy texture when air-fried.
  • Vegan Ham Slices: Mimic the texture and savory taste of traditional ham, adding protein and depth of flavor.
  • Vegan Cheese Slices: Melts to create a creamy and cheesy layer, binding the sandwich together.
  • Red Onion: Adds a sweet and sharp flavor, providing a contrast to the richness of the other ingredients.
  • Grated Vegan Cheese: Enhances the cheesy taste and helps hold the ingredients together when melted.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Bring a burst of juicy sweetness and acidity, adding freshness and moisture to the melts.
  • Olive Oil: Coats the bread and other ingredients, helping them crisp up and develop a golden brown crust.
  • Chopped Chives: Infuse a mild onion flavor and a touch of freshness, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Freshly Ground Pepper: Adds a spicy kick and depth of flavor to balance the richness of the melts.
  • Dill: Provides a subtle herbal aroma and flavor, complementing the other ingredients without overpowering them.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use this process:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Take one slice of sourdough bread and spread a thin layer of olive oil on one side. Repeat with the other slice. Place the oiled side of one slice of bread facing down in the air fryer basket.
  1. Layer the vegan ham and cheese slices on top of the bread slice, thinly slice the onion and sliced cherry tomatoes and add them on top of the cheese.
  1. Sprinkle grated vegan cheese, chopped dill and chives on top of the vegetables. Place the second slice of bread on top of the sandwich, with the oiled side facing up. 
  1. Lightly press down on the sandwich to ensure it stays together and place the sandwich in the air fryer basket. Place the air fryer basket in the preheated air fryer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Carefully remove the sandwich from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula. 
  1. Allow the sandwich to cool for a minute or two before serving. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally and serve hot. Enjoy your delicious Air Fryer Vegan Cheese and Ham Sandwich!
A vegan sandwich with tomatoes and onions, perfect for a quick meal.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Air Fryer Sandwiches

Choose the Right Bread: Opt for a sturdy bread like sourdough, whole grain, or artisan bread. This will hold up well in the air fryer and provide a satisfying texture.

Use Vegan Cheese Slices: Look for vegan cheese slices that melt well and have a good flavor. This will ensure your grilled cheese is creamy and delicious. You can also try shredding your favorite vegan cheese for added meltability.

Add Flavorful Ingredients: Enhance your grilled cheese with flavorful additions like sliced tomatoes, avocado, caramelized onions, or vegan deli slices. These ingredients will add depth of flavor and texture to your sandwich.

Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating your air fryer ensures that it’s hot and ready to go when you add your sandwich. This helps to achieve a crispy exterior while melting the cheese evenly.

Brush with Oil or Vegan Butter: Lightly brush the outside of your sandwich with olive oil or melted vegan butter before placing it in the air fryer. This helps to create a golden brown crust and adds a delicious buttery flavor.

Flip Halfway Through Cooking: To ensure even cooking, flip your grilled cheese halfway through the cooking time. This helps to crisp up both sides of the sandwich and melt the cheese evenly.

Experiment with Seasonings: Sprinkle your grilled cheese with seasonings like garlic powder, Italian herbs, or smoked paprika before air frying for added flavor.

Monitor Cooking Time: Keep an eye on your grilled cheese as it cooks in the air fryer to prevent burning. Cooking times may vary depending on the type of bread and cheese you use, so adjust as needed.

Let it Rest Before Serving: Allow your grilled cheese to cool for a minute or two before slicing and serving. This gives the cheese a chance to set slightly, making it easier to handle and enjoy.

A vegan ham and cheese sandwich with tomatoes and dill.

FAQs

Is vegan ham healthy?

Vegan ham can be a part of a healthy diet, especially when compared to traditional ham, which is high in saturated fat and sodium. Vegan ham is often made from plant-based ingredients like tofu, seitan, or tempeh, which can provide protein and other nutrients.

Where can I buy vegan ham?

Vegan ham is available at many grocery stores, health food stores, and online retailers that specialize in plant-based products. Look for brands like Tofurky, Lightlife, or Field Roast in the refrigerated or frozen section.

What is vegan cheese made of?

Vegan cheese is typically made from plant-based ingredients like nuts (such as cashews or almonds), soy protein, coconut oil, tapioca starch, and nutritional yeast. These ingredients are blended together to create a creamy and cheesy texture similar to dairy cheese.

Can I make this recipe without an air fryer?

Yes, you can make vegan ham and cheese sandwiches using a stovetop skillet or panini press. Simply assemble the sandwich with your desired ingredients and cook it over medium heat until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted, flipping halfway through.

What can I use if I don’t eat soy?

If you’re avoiding soy, you can use alternative plant-based proteins like seitan or tempeh for the “ham” portion of the sandwich. For cheese, look for soy-free vegan cheese options made from ingredients like oats (my favorite), nuts or coconut oil.

Can I freeze these sandwiches?

While it’s best to enjoy vegan ham and cheese sandwiches fresh, you can freeze them for later consumption. Wrap the sandwiches tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. To reheat, thaw the sandwiches in the refrigerator overnight and then cook them in the air fryer or skillet until warmed through.

How can I prevent sticking in my air fryer?

To prevent vegan cheese from sticking to the air fryer basket, you can lightly coat the basket with cooking spray or oil before placing the sandwiches inside. You can also use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to line the basket for easier cleanup.

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

Yes, you can make gluten-free vegan ham and cheese sandwiches by using gluten-free bread and ensuring that all other ingredients are certified gluten-free. Additionally, you can use gluten-free vegan cheese and vegan ham alternatives made from gluten-free grains like quinoa or rice.

A stack of vegan sandwiches on a plate.

What to Serve With Vegan Air Fryer Sandwiches

Sweet Potato Fries: Their natural sweetness and crispy texture from the air fryer complement the savory flavors of the sandwich, offering a healthy, colorful side. Also try garlic butter roasted potatoes!

Kale Chips: Crispy kale chips provide a crunchy, nutritious alternative to traditional chips, adding a green, earthy flavor that pairs well with the vegan fillings.

Quinoa Salad: A light, protein-packed quinoa salad with fresh veggies and a lemony dressing can balance the sandwich with its refreshing taste and varied texture.

Avocado and Black Bean Salad: The creaminess of avocado and the heartiness of black beans add a satisfying, fiber-rich component that contrasts nicely with the sandwich’s texture. Try this mediterranean white bean salad!

Grilled Asparagus: Lightly seasoned and grilled asparagus spears offer a smoky, tender side that enhances the sandwich with a sophisticated, slightly bitter edge.

Zucchini Fries: Air-fried zucchini fries are a healthy, crunchy alternative to traditional fries, complementing the sandwich with their mild, slightly sweet flavor. Also try these baked zucchini chips!

Tomato Soup: A classic, creamy tomato soup can serve as a comforting, flavorful dip or complement to the sandwich, adding a rich, tangy contrast to the vegan ingredients.

Cucumber Salad: A chilled cucumber salad dressed in vinegar and herbs offers a cool, crisp, and refreshing side that cleanses the palate between bites of the sandwich.

Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers: Bell peppers stuffed with a vegan cheese and herb mixture provide a colorful, flavorful bite that adds both visual appeal and a creamy texture contrast to the meal.

Fruit Skewers: A simple side of fresh fruit skewers brings a sweet, juicy component that can lighten the meal and add a vibrant, refreshing finish to the dining experience.

Try these other sides:

A stack of vegan sandwiches with melty cheese and tomatoes.

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A stack of toasted sandwiches with tomatoes and cheese.
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Air Fryer Vegan Melts

Easy air fried vegan ham and cheese style sandwich packed with plant based flavor!
Course Lunch
Cuisine Vegan
Keyword air fryer sandwich, plant based grilled cheese, vegan melt
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 79kcal
Author Courtney ODell

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 slices Vegan ham
  • 2 slices Vegan cheese slices
  • ½ red Onion
  • 2 tbsp grated vegan cheese
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp chopped chives
  • tbsp freshly grounded pepper
  • 1 tbsp dill

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Take one slice of sourdough bread and spread a thin layer of olive oil on one side. Repeat with the other slice. Place the oiled side of one slice of bread facing down in the air fryer basket.
  • Layer the vegan ham and cheese slices on top of the bread slice, thinly slice the onion and sliced cherry tomatoes and add them on top of the cheese.
  • Sprinkle grated vegan cheese, chopped dill and chives on top of the vegetables. Place the second slice of bread on top of the sandwich, with the oiled side facing up.
  • Lightly press down on the sandwich to ensure it stays together and place the sandwich in the air fryer basket. Place the air fryer basket in the preheated air fryer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Carefully remove the sandwich from the air fryer using tongs or a spatula.
  • Allow the sandwich to cool for a minute or two before serving. Cut the sandwich in half diagonally and serve hot. Enjoy your delicious Air Fryer Vegan Cheese and Ham Sandwich!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 182IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.3mg

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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