This vegan BLT has all the smoky flavors of maple tempeh bacon, stacked with juicy tomatoes, lettuce, and a zesty garlic mayo.
BLT without bacon? Yes… sorta. Smoky maple tempeh bacon is the star of this sandwich, and I guarantee you will enjoy this one whether you eat vegan or not.
I have always loved making big sandwiches. There’s something about taking all those different textures – the toast, a spread, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes – and adding in the perfect protein. Tempeh has a delicious chew to it, and when marinated in maple syrup and liquid smoke? It emulates the best of warm summer days on a plate.
The best part about sandwiches is everyone can customize their toppings. They also pack really well for an impromptu picnic or enjoying at work. Let’s cook!
Ingredients for A Veggie BLT
This classic sandwich recipe takes the best of summer produce. All you need to cook is the tempeh bacon!
Bread: Any white or wheat bread works well for these BLTs! I love using sourdough for a bit of added flavor. You could also use rye or a sprouted grain bread for more oomph.
Tempeh Bacon: Smoky umami takes the lead here. This bacon has amazing chew with crispy edges.
Tomato: Beefsteak get their name because they are super meaty, and nice thick slices work well in this veggie BLT. Also check out the farmer’s market for heirloom varieties! And of course, nothing beats picking a tomato off the vine from the backyard and putting it on the sandwich still warm from the sun.
How to make A Vegetarian BLT
Make the bacon ahead of time and this sandwich will be ready in no time! You can enjoy the tempeh bacon cold if you made it previously, or feel free to reheat. It also takes just an hour to marinate and bake so you could do it all at once as long as you start early.
Step 1: Bacon
Make your tempeh bacon. It’s best to marinate for at least 30 minutes before baking (which also takes 30 minutes) so make sure to start well before lunchtime. You can also make it the day before and give it a quick reheat either in a skillet or the oven.
Step 2: Prep
Wash your lettuce leaves and shake gently to dry, or try dabbing off excess water with a lint-free towel. Slice the tomato as thick as you’d like. Remember a sharp serrated knife makes this easier. Pop your desired bread in the toaster and you’re just about ready.
Step 3: Sauce
Add garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper to your favorite plant-based mayo. It adds just a little bit extra to the sandwich and like a true deli experience.
Step 4: Assemble
Here’s the way I like to assemble my sandwich, but feel free to go in whichever order you like!
I like to spread the mayo first because it locks out the juices from the tomato that can make the bread soggy.
Then add some fresh summer tomatoes – salt and pepper can be sprinkled on here if you’d like.
Next up – crisp lettuce. I always love how cool and refreshing lettuce is on a sandwich.
And finally, the star of the tempeh BLT – bacon! Hot or cold, this protein has that amazing smoky flavor you will come to crave all summer long.
Layers Of Flavor: Try adding avocado slices for another extra flavor. Their creaminess will fit right in with the crisp lettuce and bacon.
Meal Prep: The bacon and mayo can both be made ahead and stored in the fridge. And if you like your bacon cold then these sandwiches will come together in five minutes.
Move Over Mayo: If you aren’t a fan of mayo, try mashed avocado, mustard, or even tangy barbecue sauce.
Cheese It Up: For a non-vegan (but so delicious) addition, add some grilled halloumi to this BLT!
What to serve with bLTs
A different kind of BLT deserves different kind of pairings! These recipes would be great with this plant-based BLT.
- Crispy Baked Avocado Fries, what’s a sandwich without fries on the side? Healthy fats will keep you full.
- Kale Chips satisfy that craving for something salty and crunchy (but obviously way healthier).
- Lavender Lemonade, to complete your summer meal, wash down your sandwich with homemade lemonade.
- Tempeh Bacon click for the recipe
- A few leaves butter lettuce
- 4 thick slices tomato about ¼ inch thick
- 4 slices bread sourdough or a sturdy white bread
- ¼ cup plant-based mayonnaise 60 g
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ tsp sweet paprika
- Pinch each salt and pepper
- Bacon: Make tempeh bacon (this can be done ahead of time and reheated on the stove).
- Prep: Prep remaining ingredients – wash and dry the lettuce, slice tomato, toast the bread.
- Sauce: Stir together mayonnaise, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Assemble: Onto 2 slices of the toasted bread, slather the mayo mixture and layer on tomatoes, lettuce (sprinkle tomato with salt and pepper for maximum yum), and "bacon". Top each with the final slice of bread (makes 2 sandwiches).