This quick and easy Tempeh BLT Sandwich features air fried crispy tempeh bacon in a smoked maple marinade. The recipe is stacked with juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and creamy vegan mayo. The perfect weekday lunch idea!
There is nothing quite like a BLT; it’s simple, delicious and easy to make. However they’re obviously not vegan. Good thing for all of us, BLTs are very easy to make vegan. Replacing bacon with tempeh in a smoky maple marinade, this sandwich satisfies any BLT craving. But what even is tempeh bacon? Made by marinating thinly sliced tempeh and fried or baked until crispy. It can be used on sandwiches, wraps or anywhere else you’d use bacon.
Disclaimer: While this satisfies the craving, tempeh bacon has a very different taste and texture to non-vegan bacon.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a soy-based, plant-based protein that originated in Indonesia many centuries ago. It’s made with cooked and fermented soy beans and packed into a brick-like shape. Tempeh has been growing in popularity (in North America) over the last few years, and it’s readily available in many grocery stores.
Top tips for making the best vegan Tempeh BLT Sandwich:
- Let the tempeh marinade as long as you can. Tempeh is great at taking on flavour as long as you marinade it for long enough. We recommend
- Toast the bread. Every sandwich is better with toasted bread. It offers a delicious crunchy exterior and keeps the bread from going soggy.
- Salt the tomatoes. Salting the tomatoes not only intensifies the flavour of the tomato, but also draws out some of the moisture. This simple step is truly a game changer.
- Let the tempeh bacon get crispy. Tempeh can be polarizing for people not used to the taste and texture. We like to get tempeh bacon crispy for the most bacon-like experience.
Tempeh BLT Sandwich FAQ:
How long does tempeh take to cook?
This can change depending on the cooking method and temperature, but generally speaking 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy.
What does tempeh taste like?
Tempeh can be fairly divisive. You either love it or hate it and we LOVE IT. It has a mostly nutty flavour, with a hint of tang. It’s chewy and has a tougher bite than tofu. That’s why we love using it in place of bacon. It also takes on flavour really well when marinated.
Tempeh BLT Sandwich
- 4 slices bread
- 70 g (1 cup) lettuce, shredded
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 28 g (2 tbsp) vegan mayo
- 227 g tempeh
- 60 mL (¼ cup) soy sauce
- 45 mL (3 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) maple syrup
- 2 g (1 tsp) cumin
- 2 g (1 tsp) smoked paprika
- 1 g (½ tsp) garlic powder
- 10 mL (2 tsp) liquid smoke
- Thinly slice tempeh into strips no more than a 1/4" thick.
- To make the marinade combine soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder and liquid smoke in a shallow bowl or container. Whisk well to combine.
- Place tempeh strips to marinade and make sure they are all coated. If using a container, place on slide and gently shake to coat. Let is rest for a minimum 30 minutes but at least an hour is best.
- Once they have finished marinating you can bake or pan fry them, but we're opting to air fry them! Just place them in an air fryer and cook at 350F for 10-15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- To make the sandwich toast bread if desired and top with vegan mayo, shredded lettuce, tempeh bacon, and tomatoes. Enjoy!