Sub, Hoagie, Hero, Grinder, Italian, it’s called by many names, but in Hoboken, New Jersey, it’s also called a Blimpie. In 1964, three school friends took the slice of their lives by reintroducing the American sub in a much bigger, thicker, and more loaded version that they called after a blimp. However, over the course of 57 years, Blimpie has undergone major industrial catastrophes that almost put them out of business a couple of times. Once a world-renowned brand with over 2,000 locations, now dwindled to around 150 (2021) scattered across the states and a few other nations.
So Blimpie is no longer a big name brand in the world, and it isn’t a big vegan-friendly restaurant either as their menu items are quite short of deli vegan meals. However, you can ask for a vegetarian sub like the veggie & cheese just without the cheese or make your own sandwich or salad. They have a variety of dairy-free bread and sauces, but they don’t have vegan substitutes for meat. The worst part is they have a veggie “pattie” that contains milk and eggs, and you can’t take those binders out of the patty at all.
The Blimpie website is kind of outdated so you’d have to look into different sources and scraps on the web just to get full and clear details about them, but you can also check out their Instagram/Facebook page or simply send them an email for queries. Anyway, without further ado, here’s a quick guide on which vegan-friendly items you can have at Blimpie and how to customize your own 100% plant-based meal.
Do note that products and options may vary from one franchise to another, but their bread and sauces are standardized.
Vegan Options At Blimpie
Let’s start with the items that are already vegan without any alterations.
Surprise, there’s just one! The plain bluffin served at Blimpie’s is their only readily vegan food and is available as a breakfast item. It’s literally just the sandwich bread and one serving contains 130 cal, 1 g fat, 25 g carbs, and 4~5 g protein. You can ask for a spread of avocado or guacamole when they’re available just to add a little savor and “meat” to the plain bread. Spicy sauces like Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce are available too.
What Can Be Made Vegan
Now let’s go over the items that can be veganized.
Veggie & Cheese
Just ask without the bed of cheese (Italian provolone) and you should be alright with a stack of lettuce, tomatoes, onion, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, vinegar, oil, and oregano. You can add some more veggies that are available, and you can also opt for a change of sauce which we’ll get to later.
According to submarine sandwich lore, Italian provolone was necessary to be put on top and bottom of the sandwich filling so the structure would be more stable and the bread won’t get soggy from the precipitating veggies and meat. This simply means that if we, vegans, want an authentic submarine sandwich, the best one we ought to look for is the ones with plant-based cheeses and not variants that simply take away the cheese. If you’re not a fan of plant-based cheese either, then that’s not a problem at all.
Don’t be fooled by the VegiMax sub at Blimpie, this is made out of their veggie “pattie” that is most suitable for vegetarians, not vegans because it contains eggs and dairy as binding and thickening agents.
Coleslaw salad is naturally mixed with egg mayonnaise, and the same is true at Blimpie’s, so you can order this one but exchange the mayonnaise with a different dressing such as their Light Italian Dressing or Red Wine Vinegar.
Order without the cheese on top and a dairy- or egg-free sauce and it’s a simple bowl of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and onions; avocado can be added too, for an additional price I reckon.
Usually served with mayonnaise, you can make do with a different dressing or sauce like Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Sauce or Yellow Mustard.
Mixed with wedges of hard-boiled eggs, just ask for no eggs and you’ll be fine. May contain cold cuts so make sure to get rid of those too and ask for dairy- and egg-free dressing.
Customize Your Vegan Meal
Fortunately, Blimpie’s give you the privilege to create your own meal. Although the option isn’t available all the time across other franchises, and the ingredients may vary from area to area. So always check on your server for those options, especially for the vegetables and fruits that are available.
They also have nutrition and allergen info tables from their website and on-site, so you can ask for those to know more about their food items, ingredients, and macros.
- White Italian
- Whole Grain Wheat
Be careful when focusing too much on the allergen information, remember to also look into the name or description of the product such as Honey Oat bread, which may be egg- and dairy-free, but it contains honey from bees, which are also animals, and ultimately makes it non-vegan.
- Traditional Flour
Dressings And Sauces
- Blimpie Special Sauce
- Light Italian Dressing
- Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce
- Oil Blend
- Red Wine Vinegar
- Spicy Brown Mustard
- Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Sauce
- Yellow Mustard
- Bagged Potato Chips
The veggies may vary from area to area and season to season, but you can count that the traditional ones would be available much of the time: Mushrooms, Iceberg Lettuce, Pineapple, Sliced Onions, Green Peppers, Olives, Sliced Jalapenos, Banana Peppers, Avocado (premium), Guacamole (premium), and Tomatoes.
Their soups, pizza, and desserts aren’t vegan. None can be veganized as the original recipes call for eggs, milk, buttermilk, or cheese, and again, they don’t provide any substitutes for those.
You can also decide how your sandwich/wrap should be cooked: cold, slightly toasted, medium, or crispy. At least you can enjoy a hearty, vegan meal by choosing the make-your-own-Blimpie option, but the lack of a savory and “meaty” feel in a sub just doesn’t seem to cut it, right?
Best Vegan-Friendly Sandwich Shops
Blimpie is said to be the second-largest sub sandwich company in the US, only after Subway, and that the uniqueness of this diner chain having a friendlier approach compared to its competitor, sets it apart. However, ideally, they’re almost just the same, Blimpie existed long before Subway came into the picture, but ever since the hardships that Blimpie had gone through, it’s a surprise how they’re still standing behind Subway.
Well, enough about the big dogs of the league, they neither have vegan meats nor cheeses that I’m looking for anyway. So, with some reference from VegNews, here’s a couple of vegan-friendly sandwich restaurants that would give the bang for your buck, buckle up vegans, it’s time for a roller coaster crave-fest.
If you’re around California, lucky you because they serve the special Porque Maria, which is a vegan rendition of Monte Cristo. Smoked sliced tofu, cashew “gruyere” cheese, and arugula on toasted sourdough, with powdered sugar, jam, and fresh fruit, you won’t go wrong with this sandwich, my mouth’s already watering!
Another roller from southern California, Freesoul is known for its awesomely delicious vegan sandwiches and meals that have plant-based scrambled eggs, chicken, tuna, bacon, and smoked ham. Yet, what they’re best known for is their prime Panini Portobello Sandwich that is made with pure love, I mean, portobello mushrooms, peppers, artichokes, mixed greens, and a thick, savory pesto spread. You definitely should come to visit the place if you’re near, it’s awesome and the vegan substitutes are amazing.
Whole Foods Market’s TTLA
See, I’ve shed you some mercy by including a must-try sandwich that is available anywhere near you. TTLA stands for Tempeh Bacon, Tomato, Lettuce, and Avocado sandwich (I’m not drooling!), and was made popular by vegan actress – Tabitha Brown. The stuff is smothered with a smooth vegan garlic aioli that melts in your mouth. This is the chance to veganize your meathead!
Tempeh bacon is a crispy vegan substitute for cruel bacon that’s made of fermented soybeans and packs a load of health benefits, even better than the original. This is why it’s highly advised by Healthline that it be included in a person’s diet, regardless of their lifestyle. For example, a 3 oz serving of tempeh gives you 162 cal, 15 g protein, 9 g carbs, and 9 g fat. How’s that for an extremely protein-rich superfood?
There’s no argument that tempeh bacon sandwich is a whole lot better in taste, health, and love for the environment than animal bacon.
Are you a fan of crispy, savory, and oh-so crunchy chick’n? Atlas Monroe’s got you covered! They are a forever 100% vegan manufacturing company that ships out incredibly tasty vegan meats like chick’n, ribs, and also cheese. They have locations at North Lauderdale, FL, Dallas, TX, Bay Area/San Jose, and Sacramento, CA. So whether you’re from the east, central, or west of the country, they can ship to you. You won’t regret it, swear!
Blimpie has a long history as a tough competitor in the sub sandwich industry, but history and popularity don’t make foods taste any better. Yes, their service is friendly and comfortable, and making your own version of a vegan Blimpie may be intriguing, but honestly, Blimpie isn’t one of the best places for vegans. The vegan options are awfully limited, and the lack of plant-based meat and cheese substitutes is what crosses this brand off your vegan food list. Subway isn’t any better either.
However, this is alright since Blimpie never intended to be a haven for vegans, so we shouldn’t rain down on them too much. Fortunately, a ton of other restaurants and food chains are heavenly handouts to vegans for being 100% plant-based and vegan-friendly. So, I advise you to just forget about Blimpie and Subway if you’re really looking for a place to eat real, authentic, and savory hero, meats, cheese, sauce, and all.
So, that’s it for this article and please do check out our vegan-friendly recommendations. We aren’t associated with any of them, however.