This interpretation of the iconic BLT has plenty of crunchy appeal. Crisping seasoned tempeh in the oven is a stellar “facon” alternative to traditional bacon without the overload of fatty calories. Although the tomato vinaigrette can be made two days ahead if chilled, it’s best used warmed or at room temperature, and the chives should be stirred in just before serving.
Make and take
Each of these sandwich-salad hybrids can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. To take them to go for workday lunches, proteins such as tuna or chicken can be prepared ahead of time and tossed with vegetables in your transport containers. To avoid unappetizing soggy greens, however, keep dressings separate and add to salads just before serving.
Up in smoke
If you’re not using liquid smoke for the tempeh marinade, consider applying smoked paprika for a little smoky essence.
1 – 8 oz (250 g) package tempeh, very thinly sliced
3 Tbsp (45 mL) low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp (30 mL) apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
2 tsp (10 mL) liquid smoke (optional)
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1/3 cup (80 mL) camelina or extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika, divided
4 cups (1 L) cubed whole grain bread
1 tsp (5 mL) Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 pint (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped chives
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
8 cups (2 L) chopped romaine lettuce
Place tempeh slices in large shallow container. In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and cumin. Pour mixture over tempeh slices. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Remove tempeh from marinade and lay slices on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with 2 tsp (10 mL) oil and dust with half of paprika. Bake for 12 minutes or until darkened. Flip tempeh slices, brush tops with another 2 tsp (10 mL) oil, and dust with remaining paprika. Bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy. When cool enough to handle, break tempeh “bacon” into pieces.
Raise oven temperature to 350 F (180 C). In large bowl, toss bread with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil and Italian seasoning or Herbes de Provence. Squeeze gently so bread absorbs oil. Spread out on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, stirring once halfway, until golden brown and crispy.
Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil in skillet. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until golden. Add tomatoes and heat until softened and beginning to release juices, about 3 minutes. Place tomato mixture in bowl and stir in remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) oil, red wine vinegar, chives, and pepper.
Divide romaine lettuce among serving plates and top with tomato mixture, tempeh, and croutons if desired.