The Best Plant-Based BLT You’ve Ever Had

 

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How are your Meatless Mondays going? For many, who would rather eschew meat than chew it, avoiding raiding the animal kingdom for a snack is no problem. But for those that are trying out veganism or vegetarianism, giving up some of their favourites can be a real struggle. Take the classic BLT for example. Today we look at a vegan reboot of this iconic sandwich that is just as delicious as the real thing.

Is the BLT the best sandwich ever invented? Probably; the combination of warm toasted bread, ripe, juicy tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and smoky bacon is pretty much impossible to beat. And don’t forget the mayonnaise! Good grief, if there’s no mayo what’s the point? A BLT is a great sandwich because it is basically a meal in itself, with carbs, protein, fat and veggies all duly represented. For those wishing to avoid animal products-the bacon and the eggs that are in the mayonnaise- replacing these two components is a bit of a challenge.

Henry’s-Tempeh-Soy-Red-Pepper-Tempeh-250-g

Finding an ersatz bacon isn’t too difficult, there are lots on the market but they are mostly a little underwhelming. My favourite bacon substitute comes together in minutes and is totally delicious. Tempeh  is a densely packed ‘cake’ made of pressed fermented whole soybeans that is high in protein and calcium and low in fat. It can be sliced thin and holds it shape very well. Making ‘tempeh bacon’ is super quick and easy and oh so delicious; in the time it takes to fry up a rasher of real bacon you could make tempeh bacon. So there’s the vegan B in your BLT.

 

makin' fakin' bacon

makin’ fakin’ bacon

 

Next we have to deal with the mayonnaise, a vital component of this great sandwich. Making your own vegan mayo is the only way to go. Making it at home allows you to use your favourite oil-maybe a combination of olive oil and sunflower oil, for example- and flavour it how you like. Your favourite milk substitute –soy or almond milk for example- emulsifies beautifully with the oil. For the acid you can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, or a little of both. A little salt and white pepper and you’re good to go. This is a great recipe to have up your sleeve as you never know when you’re going to run out of mayo, and you can whip up a cup of this-without eggs!- in about two minutes.

 

oil, vinegar, lemon juice, soy milk and salt; vegan mayo in a jiffy

oil, vinegar, lemon juice, soy milk and salt; vegan mayo in a jiffy

 

A BLT like this is so delicious you will find yourself making it intentionally instead of lamenting that you aren’t having the real thing. This is the real thing too, after all; real good, and real good for you!

 

Tempeh ”bacon” Makes four slices, good for two sandwiches

4 slices of tempeh, about ¼ inch thick

2 tbsp veg oil

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

½ teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast or ½ tsp salt

Add oil, liquid smoke, maple syrup and nutritional yeast or salt to a frying pan and stir to combine. Heat to medium high and add tempeh. Fry on both sides until nicely browned.

 

Vegan Mayonnaise Makes about 1 ½ cups

½ cup unsweetened soy milk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ cup evoo

½ cup sunflower oil

salt and white pepper to taste

 

Put the first 3 ingredients in the blender then give them a spin for a few seconds. Keeping the blender running, in a very slow steady stream, drizzle in the oil until thick, you may have to add a little more or less oil to achieve desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning or acid if desired.

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