This simple Tempeh BLT is a packable lunch option full of vegan protein and delicious flavors! Eggplant “bacon” adds variety and avocado and pesto infuse even more flavor. Great for work or school lunches!
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.
How To Cook Tempeh & How to Make Tempeh Taste Good
Tempeh is a very versatile protein that is full of fermented food benefits. I actually prefer it over tofu, as no pressing is required!
Tempeh is easily crumbled to add texture to meals like stir fry and scrambles. Many recipes will recommend you steam the tempeh to remove bitterness, but I have not found that necessary.
The key to a quality taste is in the marinade. The longer you let it soak, the more the tempeh will absorb delicious flavors.
How to Make a Vegan Tempeh BLT
This sandwich comes together in no time at all, once all elements are prepped. We even marinate the eggplant “bacon” and tempeh in the same dish! To make things even easier I used a pre-made pesto for topping; feel free to sub in your favorite sandwich spread.
I love adding avocado here as well; the creaminess is a perfect contrast to crispy eggplant strips.
While it would be easy to sub store-bought vegan bacon (as there are so many varieties these days), I love using tempeh in a more creative fashion. A smoky soy sauce/tamari dressing transforms the tempeh into something truly crave-able. It really transforms this sandwich.
How to Make Eggplant Bacon
This eggplant “bacon” will not fool anyone with its taste, but it adds a fun layer to this sandwich and incorporates even more plant-based benefits.
Eggplant is one of those vegetables I typically struggle to find a use for. This sandwich is my current favorite method!
After searing in a cast iron skillet, it takes on a meat-like texture that is very satisfying.
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!
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.
Into sandwiches? Give this Avocado White Bean Salad Sandwich a try next!
For the sandwich
1 block tempeh
1 small eggplant
1/4 cup pre-made pesto
1/4 cup tahini
1 ripe avocado, cut into slices
A few handfuls of sprouts or fresh herbs
8 slices bread of choice, toasted
For the marinade
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 TBS maple syrup
2 TBS apple cider or red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 TBS ketchup (optional)
Pinches of salt and pepper
- Water or broth to thin
- Carefully slice your tempeh into 8- 10 strips. Slice eggplant into similarly sized strips and set aside.
- 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 at leas 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and oil a cast iron skillet. Add your marinated eggplant and tempeh in an even layer, avoiding overlap. You will need to do this in a few batches.
- Sear the eggplant and tempeh strips for about five minutes per side, until browned. Remove from heat and set aside, finishing remaining slices.
- Combine your pesto + tahini in a small bowl for spreading.
- Assemble your sandwiches with all ingredients. Spread pesto tahini on toasted bread and top with eggplant bacon, tempeh, sliced avocado, and sprouts. Enjoy!
Pin this Tempeh BLT