The Vegetarian BLT

Vegetarian BLT | A Couple Cooks

Vegetarian BLT | A Couple Cooks

Vegetarian BLT | A Couple Cooks

Vegetarian BLT | A Couple Cooks

Vegetarian BLT | A Couple Cooks

Growing season has just begun here in the Midwest. Kale, greens, radishes, and pea shoots have all made their entrance (try this kale caesar for a seasonal spring recipe). But it seems like ages to go before those luscious summer tomatoes.

While we wait for summer to arrive, here’s a recipe to mimic the juicy freshness of a summer tomato using our favorite fire-roasted canned tomatoes instead. It’s also vegetarian, if you so choose. Meat-eaters can feel free to sub in real.bacon on this BLT, but here we’re sharing our recipe for vegetarian bacon using tempeh, a soy product that’s a bit firmer and more flavorful than tofu. While tempeh bacon doesn’t taste exactly like the real deal, with the smoky marinade, it’s the closest we’ve gotten to mimicking the bacon taste using a protein fit for a sandwich.

While we’re on the subject, have you tried coconut bacon? Roasting coconut flakes with a smoky marinade somehow creates a mouth-feel incredibly close to real bacon. The flakes don’t work well in sandwich form, but they’re perfect for a salad, or just snacking (ours disappeared quickly). Try this recipe from Cookie and Kate; we also hope to post a version on our site in the future.

Travel Update: We’re in the midst of a 1-week vacation to Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. We’ve hit Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Arches National Park, and the views have been spectacular! We’re now driving to Denver from Moab, UT. Check out our Instagram feed for some shots from the trip.

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The Vegetarian BLT


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4

Description

For a non-vegetarian version, skip the tempeh and go for bacon.


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 3 grinds black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 8-ounce package tempeh
  • 8 slices bread
  • 15-ounce can Muir Glen diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 8 leaves Bibb lettuce
  • Mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1½ tablespoons liquid smoke, 1 tablespoon Sriracha, ¼ teaspoon cumin, 3 grinds black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup.
  2. Cut the tempeh in half; stand each piece up on its edge and cut into thirds. Lay the three pieces down on top of each other and cut in thirds again, to make 18 slices that are ¼” thick, 1” wide and 3” long. Place the strips in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over the tempeh. Let sit for 30 minutes (or more, if time). Remove the tempeh and reserve the marinade from the bottom of the dish.
  3. Heat a griddle to medium heat. Place the tempeh strips on the griddle and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned. Turn off the heat, then brush both sides of each piece with the reserved marinade.
  4. Lightly toast 8 slices of bread. Drain the canned tomatoes and let them sit in a colander for a few minutes to remove excess liquid. Prepare 8 leaves of Bibb lettuce.
  5. To serve, spread mayonnaise on each bread slice. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and slices of tempeh. Top with a final bread slice and serve immediately. (Tip: Placing the lettuce below the tomatoes shields the bread from any remaining tomato liquid. Try to make the sandwich immediately before you serve it to avoid soggy bread.)

This post is sponsored by Muir Glen. Product opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors of A Couple Cooks! 

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.

17 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    April 13, 2015 at 8:03 am

    What an awesome idea to use tempeh in a BLT. The smoky flavors here sound delicious. The pictures of your road trip look amazing. Enjoy your vacation!

  • Reply
    Erin@WellPlated
    April 13, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I am SO eager for ripe tomatoes and happy to have this flavorful sammie to tide me over in the meantime. Also, coconut bacon??? Where have you been all my life.

  • Reply
    Chris
    April 13, 2015 at 10:17 am

    This sandwich is making me hungry… and I just had breakfast! What a great idea to use tempeh. I am going to try it with the family and see what they think. Fingers crossed!

  • Reply
    lynsey | lynseylovesfood.com
    April 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

    what a great idea to use the fire roasted tomatoes! Tomatoes this time of year just pale in comparison to the real-deal height of summer ones and leave yo with a less than stellar sandwich. Going to try for sure. xo

  • Reply
    S Lauren | Modern Granola
    April 13, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I love tempeh! What a great idea to use it instead of bacon in a BLT! This sounds so good right now!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    April 13, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    This sandwich sounds so yummy! I love using tempeh for veg BLT’s! Yum!

  • Reply
    Letty/Letty's Kitchen
    April 14, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Everything about this TLT sandwich is awesome. Love the out-of-season sub for fresh tomatoes. Of course the tempeh doctored up with liquid smoke.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      April 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Letty! We love smoky flavor so this is the next best thing to smoked meat :)

  • Reply
    Kasey
    April 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    You guys! WHAT??! This looks amazing. Also I’ve been following your Insta — your trip looks soo fun. It’s giving me a major travel bug :) x

    • Reply
      Sonja
      April 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Kasey! :) We had a blast on the trip. We’ll have to come out your way sometime too! xoxo

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    April 16, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I love the look of this! Fire roasted tomatoes on a sandwich sound amazing.

  • Reply
    Christy@SweetandSavoring
    April 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I love veggie BLTs, never had one with roasted tomatoes before. I had a feta, lettuce and tomato sandwich on vacation in Maine last year that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. Sandwiches are the best. Hope your trip is going well!

  • Reply
    Nina at FocusedonFit.com
    April 25, 2015 at 6:23 am

    As a vegetatian for almost 5 years, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never tried to prepare tempeh myself. This recipe seems easy to be my first…yum! I do miss a BLT from time to time!

  • Reply
    Vicky
    April 27, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I made this yesterday and it was amazing!!! My husband said it’s the best vegetarian sandwich he’s ever had… and I would have to agree. This will be on a weekly rotation. Thanks for posting!! <3

    • Reply
      Sonja
      April 27, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      You are so welcome! That is wonderful feedback – thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Maddie
    May 1, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Do you recommend a particular brand of liquid smoke? I’ve never used it. Also, do you think I could get that same smoky flavor/effect through the use of a little extra liquid and some black cardamom?

    • Reply
      Alex
      May 1, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Hi! We don’t have a particular brand to recommend — just check the ingredients and make sure there aren’t any crazy chemicals :) However, I think that the black cardamom sounds delish!

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