This simple vegan BLT sandwich is made with sweet and savoury vegan tempeh bacon, crispy lettuce, tomato and creamy avocado. Learn about tempeh and how to make this delicious meatless “bacon”. This sandwich is perfect for a packed lunch, easy dinner or a meal on the go.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a soy product that originated from Indonesia. It’s made from whole or chopped soybeans that are fermented into the form of a cake. Other examples of fermented foods include miso, kombucha and pickles. But unlike these foods tempeh does not have a strong sour or tangy flavour. It has more of a nutty flavour.
Tofu is different from tempeh as tofu is produced from soy milk that has been formed into curds (similar to how cheese is made), which are then pressed to extract water. Also, depending on the amount of coagulants added to the soy milk, the resulting tofu texture can range from silky to extra firm.
Both tempeh and tofu can be used similarly in many meatless recipes, however due to the fermentation process, many find tempeh to be easier to digest. Also, since the soybeans are kept in whole form while making tempeh, some may find the texture more appealing.
Can I make tempeh at home?
Yes, you can. All you need are soybeans, tempeh starter, vinegar, an oven (or very warm place) and a vented container. After visiting Indonesia and trying some delicious tempeh recipes, I became obsessed! I started researching and making my own tempeh as soon as I returned home.
The great thing too is that you can use almost any legume to make tempeh. I’ve made both soy and soy-free tempeh using lentils and chickpeas, by following this simple video by Vegan Lovlie.
You can also check your local grocery stores for tempeh. For my Jamaican readers, Spice of Life makes tempeh from soybeans, chickpeas and black-eyed peas. I’ve used tempeh in my Vegan Butter “Chicken” recipe which was ah-mazing! Give it a try some day!
How to make tempeh bacon
- First cut 100g/3.5oz tempeh into thick slices.
- Next, in a shallow dish, add 1 tbsp liquid aminos or soy-free coconut aminos, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup or agave, 1/4 tsp ground chipotle, a pinch of cumin and black pepper to taste. Chipotle gives tempeh bacon it’s smokiness but also makes it spicy. You could use smoked paprika or liquid smoke instead.
- Add tempeh slices and marinate for about 15 mins.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or make this oil-free if you’re using a non-stick pan.
- Add tempeh and reserve the marinade. Cook for about 2 mins on each side until nicely browned then pour in leftover marinade or 2 tbsps water. Reduce heat and cook until sauce evaporates and caramelises.
What’s a vegan BLT sandwich?
The Vegan BLT sandwich is a vegan version of the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Some variations of this vegan sandwich also includes avocado or hummus as a substitute for mayo and different types of plant based bacon made from coconut, tempeh or eggplant. The TTLA sandwich, which contains tempeh bacon, tomato, lettuce and avocado has recently been made even more popular by Whole Foods in North America.
What kind of bread should I use for a vegan BLT?
You can use any sandwich bread you prefer. But I do recommend a good quality bread such as a sourdough loaf for the best flavour. I go into details about sourdough bread and why it’s so good in this post. Toasting the bread is optional but also recommended for the vegan BLT sandwich.
What goes well with a vegan BLT sandwich?
You can serve this sandwich on its own for lunch or a snack or serve it with chips, potato salad, or soup on the side.
What other ways can I use tempeh bacon?
- in wraps
- salad toppings
- vegan burgers
- on mashed or baked potatoes
- with tofu scramble for a savoury breakfast
Other recipes to try with tempeh:
- Vegan Butter “Chicken” with Cauliflower and Tempeh
- Vegan Jamaican Curry “Chicken”
- The Ultimate Savoury Vegan Breakfast for Dinner
Vegan Tempeh Bacon Sandwich (Vegan BLT with Avocado)
To Assemble the Sandwiches:
- 4 bread slices, toasted
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 4 large lettuce leaves
- Cut tempeh into thick slices.
- In a shallow dish, mix the remaining ingredients except the oil then add tempeh. Marinate for about 15 mins.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or you can make this oil-free if you’re using a non-stick pan.
- Add the tempeh slices while reserving the marinade. Cook tempeh for about 2 mins on each side until nicely browned then pour in leftover marinade or 2 tbsps water. Reduce heat and cook until sauce evaporates and caramelises.
- Build your sandwich with the toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, avocado and you’re good to go!
- Info on where to find tempeh or how to make it is found in the post above.
- Chipotle gives tempeh bacon a smoky flavour but it also makes it spicy. You could use smoked paprika or liquid smoke instead.
- Liquid aminos is similar to soy sauce and is made from soybeans. For a soy-free option try coconut aminos.
- More tempeh recipes: Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe with Cauliflower and Tempeh
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon Disclosure