Vegan “BLT” Sandwich

To be honest, this is not exactly a “BLT.” As in bacon + lettuce + tomato. Instead we have bacon (the eggplant variety, that is), avocado, tempeh, pesto, and sprouts.

But “BATPS” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

And would not work for search engine optimization. So here we are! My current favorite lunchtime treat.

This sandwich tastes fancy but actually comes together in no time at all, once all elements are prepped. The eggplant “bacon” and tempeh are even marinated in the same dish! To make things even easier I used a pre-made pesto for topping; this could easily be subbed with your favorite sandwich spread. See the process below:

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A lot of layers, but they come together very quickly!

This eggplant “bacon” will not fool anyone with its texture or taste, but it adds a fun layer to this sandwich and incorporates even more plant-based benefits. Also, it was sitting in my fridge and needed to be used😆

It is important to steam your tempeh before marinating to remove any bitterness. You could salt and rinse your eggplant for this same effect, but I actually did not find that necessary here.

You will have a lot of marinade left over so I recommend saving that for things like tofu or stir fry. It will keep for a few days in the fridge!

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The original inspiration for this sandwich was during a work trip to Raleigh, North Carolina. We visited The Remedy Diner and I had the “Tempeh Tantrum,” which was voted by PETA as one of the top five vegan sandwiches in the country. If you are ever in that area, it’s a must-visit.

I hope you enjoy this easy “Tempeh Tantrum” sandwich; the recipe makes about 4 servings. If you make it, please let me know on Instagram @garlic_head !

Ingredients:

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 1 small eggplant
  • For marinade: 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce, 3 TBS maple syrup, 2 TBS apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 TBS ketchup (optional), 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, water/broth to thin
  • 1/4 cup tahini and 1/4 cup pre-made pesto
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into slices
  • A few handfuls of sprouts
  • 8 slices bread of choice, toasted

Method:

  1. Begin by placing your tempeh in a skillet with one inch of water. Heat over medium and let steam for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. This removes bitterness.  Carefully slice your tempeh into 8- 10 strips. Slice your eggplant into similarly sized strips and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients for your marinade in a large Tupperware with a lid. Add enough water or broth so that when ingredients are placed inside they are mostly submerged. Add eggplant and tempeh to container, seal, and shake so that liquid coats all surfaces. Let marinate in the fridge for two hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a cast iron skillet. Add your marinated eggplant to an oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. You may want to check at the 20 minute mark to insure it does not burn.
  4. While eggplant is cooking, heat your skillet to medium. Sear tempeh strips for about five minutes per side, until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Combine your pesto + tahini in a small bowl for spreading.
  6. To assemble your sandwiches, follow the photos above! Spread pesto tahini on toasted bread and top with eggplant bacon, tempeh, sliced avocado, and sprouts. Enjoy!

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