Grilled tofu sandwiches are a staple of many vegetarian restaurants. If you haven't tried one yet, you're missing out: vegetarian restaurants have mastered the art of grilling tofu into a savory sandwich stuffer that is both filling and delicious.

A vegetarian grilled tofu sandwich (one that's not made with egg- or dairy-based condiments) also beats the popular grilled chicken sandwich hands down in heart healthy benefits. We researched the nutritional content of both the grilled tofu and grilled chicken sandwiches to compare the fat, cholesterol and calorie content of each. Here are several important health reasons to stop by a vegetarian restaurant the next time you're looking for a great sandwich.

Less Fat

Typically, vegetarian meals contain less fat than the corresponding meat-based entree. Grilled tofu sandwiches are no exception, beating the grilled chicken sandwich handily. Grilled chicken sandwiches average 13 grams of fat per serving while tofu versions average only 8 grams, a 38% reduction in total fat content. Tofu versions also contain less than half the saturated fat of the grilled chicken. Reducing your saturated fat intake has been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Fewer Calories

Calorie counts are also lower in grilled tofu sandwiches. Grilled chicken options averaged 392 calories per sandwich, whereas the grilled tofu averaged only 257 per sandwich. Over the course of the year, trading just one chicken sandwich per week for tofu will save you over 7,000 calories, equal to 2 pounds of body fat. If your doctor has suggested that you lose weight for health reasons, changing your sandwich filling might be a good lunch option.

Less Cholesterol

The biggest difference between the tofu and chicken sandwich lies in the cholesterol content. With zero milligrams of cholesterol per serving in any of the sandwich recipes we reviewed, the grilled tofu sandwich blasted away the grilled chicken, averaging 64 milligrams per serving. High cholesterol has been linked to arteriosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries," which in turn can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Tasty, high quality ingredients are a delicious side benefit of tofu sandwiches. Fresh veggies, sprouts, whole grain or artisan breads, natural oils and hand-blended sandwich spreads are frequent companions to the tofu on a vegetarian restaurant's grilled sandwich menu. Many vegetarian restaurants also use only organic ingredients, adding health benefits to the great taste.

Regardless of your taste preferences, you can find a tofu sandwich that will appeal to you. Each vegetarian restaurant has a sandwich recipe that is just as unique as the restaurant itself. Barbecue, Italian style, rosemary and oil, and lemon and herb are just a few of the many choices available. Replace your grilled chicken with a grilled tofu sandwich for a delicious, heart healthy lunch.

Vladmir Grinberg has been involved in the natural food industry since 2001. His organic, vegetarian restaurant, The Organic Grill , has been serving delicious, nutritious food to Manhattan's East Village for over 10 years. The Grilled Tofu Sandwich and the Chipotle Tofu Sandwich have been recognized as some of the best tofu sandwiches in NYC. To learn more go to

Mr. Grinberg has made it his mission to promote healthy food choices by educating readers about the benefits of natural and organic foods. To help make healthy food more convenient for busy people, Mr. Grinberg also started OrganicDirect, an organic food delivery service for the New York Metro area. For more information, visit