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