Winner: Kale & Mushroom Sandwich
Restaurant: Found, Chicago
Sandwich creator: Chef Nicole Pederson
Inspiration: “I wanted to make a sandwich that was full-flavored, satisfying and appealing to meat eaters.”
Key ingredients: Kale-mushroom mixture, tofu, sautéed squash, pesto, tofu, garlic, olive oil.
Why it’s special: The kale-mushroom combination is earthy and hearty.
Food cost: 30 percent
What the judges said: It’s not often a vegetarian this or that catches the eye of us knuckle-dragging meat eaters. But when the K & M Sandwich is delivered to a table near you, it makes you want it as badly as your high school girlfriend (boyfriend) who got away. And then you order the sandwich and it completely satisfies, unlike that heartbreaker Veronica.
• Farmer’s Daughter: Farmers Fishers Bakers, Washington, DC
• Vegetarian Grilled Panini: The Great Blue Heron Bar & Grill, Blaine, WA