By Carey Jones
Updated October 15, 2015
Credit: © Max Zagor

Vegetable sandwiches don't exactly have the best reputation. Whether piled with sprouts that get stuck in your teeth, or just made from bland heaps of vegetables, the "vegetarian" sandwich on a menu rarely gets you excited.

But that's starting to change. Vegetables are delicious, after all, and over the last few years, chefs have really come to embrace them on their own terms, highlighting vegetables on menus and experimenting with different modes of cooking and serving them. So why shouldn't that impulse extend to sandwiches?

Here are three sandwiches that could go head-to-head with any of their meatier counterparts, thanks to the attention to the vegetables inside.

Where to get them:

Porchlight, NYC: You'll find fried chicken and catfish po' boys among the Southern-inspired sandwiches at this bar and restaurant, but the Mean Green Poor Boy might be the most appealing of all—collard and mustard greens, smoked cheddar, pickled peppers, onion, and Creole mustard. "The mean green poor boy is inspired by my love for 'cooked down greens,' says chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois. "And no poor boy would be a poor boy at all without Leidenheimer Poor Boy bread from New Orleans."

Dirt Candy, NYC. This restaurant is all about celebrating vegetables' inherent deliciousness, so it's no surprise they can rock out a vegetarian-friendly sandwich, dubbed "The Greens"—with spicy stir-fried broccoli, grilled pea leaves, sesame, mint, and romaine.

Parson's Chicken & Fish, Chicago: Yes, despite the name, vegetarians can eat well here with the Vegetable Club: pickled beets, radishes, cukes, herbed cream cheese, pea shoots, and a sherry vinaigrette. Homemade potato chips seal the deal.