11 July 2011

Taste Test: Vegan BLT

99.9% of my food choices are fueled by cravings.  
That extra .1%?  It's reserved for the instance that I crave something I just can't have.  
Like a BLT.  

I haven't had a BLT in over 6 years.  Yet, oddly enough, it's all I can think about lately.  I blame blog world and food network for taunting me with this fabulous sandwich laced with crispy forbidden bacon. Yes i'm entirely too dramatic for my own good.  I could have bacon if I wanted to... but I don't want bacon... I just want a stinkin' BLT!

maple bacon tempeh

I wanted this silly sandwich so badly that I broke down and decided to try my first ever slice-o-tempeh.  This was the only variety of fakin' bacon I could find, and it seemed pretty harmless hiding out in its little cardboard box.  

But Wait... What on earth is tempeh!?

Tempeh (/ˈtɛm.peɪ/) is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh has a complex flavor that has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. [Thanks Wikipedia!]

But did it work?

tempeh blt sandwich

Yes!!!
Consider my craving crisis [finally!] adverted.

Pan-fried fakin' bacon, vegan mayo, toasted sourdough, crispy romaine lettuce and garden grown roma tomatoes are a match made in BLT heaven!  Seriously.  I expected to hate it so much that I had a back-up lunch ready.  So you can imagine my surprise when I realized it rocked!  The tempeh bacon was super hearty and crisped up around the edges while staying tender and meaty in the center.  Total success!  Which is fabulous... because now I can stop contemplating changing my entire diet/lifestyle over a sandwich.  Phew.

vegan tempeh bacon lettuce tomato sandwich blt

Have you tried tempeh before? 

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72 comments:

  1. a BLT is perhaps my favorite sandwich ever. and thankfully I LOVE tempeh! and garden fresh romas? Mmm!  this looks delicious, girl! 

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  2. mrsfishkitchenMonday, July 11, 2011

    I've never tried tempeh, but I do have to say this sandwich looks di-vine!

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  3. I like tempeh, but I LOVE my Niman Ranch bacon (free range, yadda yadda).  I'll try this stuff, but I can guarantee I'll never give up bacon.  I don't like BLTs, though - I don't like to mix my bacon with stuff. 

    So what's the deal, and maybe I already know the answer, but I'm having a brain fart - are you a hardcore vegetarian?

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  4. Mmm, I looove BLT's! I haven't had bacon for years either, but I've seriously been considering buying a local, organic, nitrite-free  variety for the past few weeks. (IF I'm going to do bacon, it better be the good stuff!). But maybe I'll ease into it by starting with the tempeh version? You've definitely piqued my interest, Jenn! Thanks for the inspiration! xoxo
    (p.s. you don't love me MORE! haha...can we call it a tie?) :-p

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  5. I ADORE TEMPEH!! but i can't eat the marinated ones due to gluten. but its fun to make my own marinae. bacon goodness!

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  6. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! 

    tempeh "bacon"?! no friggen way!!! how did i not know about this...i LOOOOVE tempeh. tempeh sammies are my absolute fav-o. well second to portabella anyway. i'm SO trying this!

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  7. I've never tried tempeh but always been so curious about it! I've seen it on restaurant menus and been tempted, but too afraid to "waste" money if I didn't end up liking it. Maybe I'll try some tempeh bacon!

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  8. Yum! That version of bacon is the best I've found so far! Breakfast is much more exciting now that it can still smell like bacon. 

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  9. I LOVE tempeh! I love the complex taste, plus it's really high in protein and surprisingly, really filling :-)  I even eat it raw (well, from the package...)

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  10. I have tried Tempeh but never tempeh bacon. I am really curious to try it!

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  11. Liz @ Something To Chew OnMonday, July 11, 2011

    No, I never have! But I've always been intrigued. I think I may need to give this a shot :)

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  12. never had it before! this looks amazing though ;)

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  13. haha i love that you posted about this. this is seriously my favorite tempeh product ever and i go through a pack a week. the best combo ever is bacon tempeh with avocado, fig jam, hummus, and sprouts. eat it and die happy.

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  14. YUM. I love tempeh! I've never had any pre-flavored kinds before. This seems like it would be uber tasty. I know they don't sell it in my local store, but maybe the next time i'm in Austin i'll search for it at Whole Foods. That store is looooove. Nom nom nom.

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  15. I have to try this one out!  Their coconut curry has been my go-to so far.

    Recently I decided I like tempeh much better than tofu.  Now I need to remember this while impulse-buyng at Whole Paycheck...

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  16. i've never heard of that!! but now i want to try it!

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  17. Once upon a time...ten years ago I flirted with veganism.  Now, I am a traditional foodie in transition who is also a part-time raw foodist that loves all things gluten-free and the weekly dash of bacon-y goodness...

    For those of you flirting with the dark side...the Applegate Farms has a nitrate, GFCF version that's $$, but dang good.   

    I had tempeh years ago, but I don't do soy products at all this state of my life, save for soy lecithin, because that emulsifier is in everything chocolate!!!

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  18. Okay well I've only been meat free for almost a year now...but now I'm craving your sandwich! I'm going to have to find some bacon flavored temph! P.s. not that you need tips from a veggie newbie but a few times when I've craved bacon I've picked it up, looked at it, smelt it, and that was it I set it back down:) Bacon, ribs, and chicken wings are the only thing that have looked good to me-go figure- man food!

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  19. Ooh, it's the same for me with tuna mayonnaise sandwiches.  I have random cravings for them all the time, and I've never been able to find a substitute.  They were my favourite food when I was really young (5-7) and I ate one every day I think!  I just wish there was a good substitute that didn't involve, you know...tuna!

    xxx

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  20. I'm always hesitant to try 'faux meats', but I have to admit I LOVE Morningstar breakfast veggie sausages!! I'm going to seek this out because bacon is one thing I miss ~ what I wouldn't give for a BLT right now ;-D

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  21. awesome! This looks delicious! I'll have to give tempeh a try if I'm ever craving a BLT

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  22. I don't think I've ever done tempeh in any form...

    I heart me some bacon... don't think I could switch it up to the other stuff. However, I don't find it that bad because I rarely take the time to actually make it... such a mess!

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  23. Lindsay @ The Lean Green BeanTuesday, July 12, 2011

    i tried tempeh when i was on my no meat kick last year. not the bacon form though. i liked grating it/crumbling it and adding it to my spaghetti sauce with veggies!

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  24. That looks super yummy :)!!!

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  25. That looks wonderful! I have never tried tempeh before, I have never known what to do with it! I suppose a quick search on the Internet could solve that problem quite easily... but I guess I was being lazy haha
    I want to try this recipe now, thank you for posting it :)

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  26. ooo interesting! i really want to try this. im a big bacon fan but we never buy it because it's so high in fat. xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams

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  27. I get those cravings too but I have yet to try a tempeh bacon!  Usually I do the soy thing and it is a bit weird.  Thanks for being the guinea pig on this one!!  :)

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  28. This is one of my most favorite sandwiches in the history of the world! :-) Add a slice of avocado and YUM.

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  29. LOL I love that you had a back-up lunch ready :)

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  30. Ooooh, I love tempeh, but I've never seen it in faux bacon form!! Yum! 

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  31. I'd consider changing my entire diet over a sandwich that looked that good ;) I'm glad you were able to satisfy your cravings, because those are no fun when they keep naggin' at ya.

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  32. I actually have this sandwich on my recipe page, i really love tempeh!
    Glad you loved it, totally squashes the craving huh? :)

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  33. Glad to hear the tempeh BLT was a success!  I've never tried it but I see it on the menu at vegetarian friendly restaurants often--sounds interesting :)

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  34. Yea! Glad you kicked your craving. I made this with tempeh for my hubby and he didn't even ask questions :)

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  35. I haven't tried it, but I think I'll have to now!  I just can't bring myself to eat real bacon (my inner vegetarian, as Abigail calls it!) but sometimes you really want food that REQUIRES it... perfect solution!

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  36. This looks Too yummy and I've been wanting one myself.  I've used MorningStar Farms bacon in the past and it's delicious.  I should probably try to find the tempeh but it's not easy to find in my area.  Thanks for the push!

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  37. YUM!  I make something very similar with veggie bacon and avocado  - SO GOOD! 

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  38. ooo, i want to try!!!

    but you know i don't have the willpower to actually avoid bacon, so perhaps i'll stick with old faithful :)

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  39. I still have yet to try it, and I'm so skeptical. BUT I WANNA.

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  40. I love tempeh, the first time I tried it was in a "TLC" sandwich...same idea as a blt. It sounds so nasty how it is made but it is so good! I would love to make my own sammie like this!

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  41. I seriously need to try tempeh, but Im so nervous!! I dont want to buy it and hate it, then have to throw it away. Want to just send me a sanwhich to sample? ;)

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  42. I have never tried tempeh....I am a little shy on buying it.  I do not really care for tofu, and I can't stand the "veggie dogs" I had purchased to try.  Which makes it hard to make a tempeh purchase because I am afraid I may not like it.

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  43. YUM! I seriously need to try this!

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  44. Oh my - that.  looks.  AMAZING!  I just bought tempeh to try for the first time!  I'm super exciting!

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  45. Hmmmmmm Maybe I should try this kind of tempeh.  I tried a different (plain) type and wasn't a huge fan.  but I WANT to like it.  Also, <3 <3 <3 BLTs..

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  46. Ahh, I LOVE BLTS! WE make them 2 or 3 times a month here, but Im always looking for healthier options so maybe I should try this. :)

    <3Chelsea Elizabeth
    http://www.organizedxxmess.blogspot.com

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  47. The truth is that I cannot stand anything that is soy-based. Actually, my skin and stomach can't stand it! So I will just have to take your word for it! The sandwich does look fabulous!

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  48. Alexa @ SimpleEatsTuesday, July 12, 2011

    I'm still so nervous about tempeh. This looks fantastic though, I'll have to try the bacon!

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  49. I love tempeh! It's pretty expensive, so I don't buy it too often, but I'm always glad when I do.

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  50. You're so brave...I'm not a huge tempeh fan.  I'm too scared!  

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  51. Yum!  I love TLT's!  I have not tried the Smokey Maple Bacon flavor.  Will have to pick some up next time I see it.

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  52. i've never heard or tried it... but it does look delsih!

    and you photos are fab too! they're so bright and crisp!

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  53. That's my FAVE tempeh bacon! I cook it until it is nice and crispy, just like "real" bacon and it's so delicious!!

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  54. Hello, I'm from Indonesia. Tempe (that's how we call it)  is a staple in our diet. We cook this stuff in almost  every imaginable way. Deep fried with/without crispy coating , stir fried, included in coconut milk-based soup, made into nuggets, thrown in to salads, etc. It's a snack as well as side dish that accompany a meal of rice and veggies. When I lived overseas I tried frozen tempe and didn't like it because the taste is not quite like what I'm used to. I think tempe is best served in a thick meaty cut to really savor its taste.

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  55. I used to hate BLTs, but ever since giving up meat I've been craving weird meaty things (like hotdogs, which always grossed me out). I haven't been able to find tempeh bacon (only the weirdly painted veggie bacon strips, which creep me out, too). But I'm dying to try making it! It seems VegNews posts a recipe for either tempeh or eggplant bacon in nearly every issue. Maybe one day I'll make the $3 investment and buy some liquid smoke so I can eat yummy FaconLTs. 

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  56. Oh my word. Wishing I could try tempeh right now...because no, I've never tried it, but it looks fantastic!

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  57. Looks delish!  I hadn't had a "club sandwich" in over 10 years since I've been a vegetarian.  I had a fake one with tempeh at a local restaurant last year.  Oh my gosh it was satisfying :o)

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  58. Ah, I am SO ready to be done with my thesis so I can stop being behind on my blogs:( Almost............there. Wow, I am excited to hear that the tempeh bacon was so good! I know Jason at Cook Train Eat Race cooks with tempeh all the time, but I haven't done it yet. I need to start branching out:)

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  59. I'm dying at "fakin' bacon'!! I've never heard of it before.  But that sandwich looks so seriously delicious that I'd certainly be willing to eat tempeh!  :)

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  60. Forgot the avocado and red onion. I make this on a regular basis!!!
    That tempeh is the best out there!! 

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  61. But then it wouldn't be a BLT silly! haha =) So delish! <3 avo makes everything fantabulous! Its true

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  62. love your blog! I'm a newcomer! I'd love it if you linked up some of your great ideas to Lovely Little Snippets!
    Stefanie
    lovelylittlesnippets.blogspot.com

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  63. I have tried tempehbefore and found it to bvery tasty.  Mine was barbequed kabobs that were marked down.  I ate them and enjoyed them.  Was really surprised.  So I know how you felt when you tasted this.

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  64. I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, but I don't eat any pork and I also miss BLTs.  I love tempeh and I can't wait to try this.

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  65. It doesnt have that same crunch -- but the tempeh bacon totally has the flavor down pact so when you toast the bread -- viola! crunch! =) hope you love it!

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  66. LOVE tempeh... I got the brick of spicy veggie tempeh, cut little strips, pan fried, then made tacos. Yes, TACOS. Tempeh, pico, plain greek yogurt, avocado, shredded romaine and a spash of chipotle tobasco on a soft taco sized tortilla. Mmmm. 
    P.S. I'm a T-Rex, trying to go Brontosaurus, so no clue if everything in there is bronto-friendly.

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  67. Is this tempeh also gluten-free?

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  68. I think it contains wheat =( Many tempehs are gluten-free though!

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  69. This may seem like a very simple thing but how in the WORLD do you toast
    your sourdough to look that tasty? Every time I try, I burn the crust
    and the center is still nice and soft.

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  70. Are you using a toaster or toaster oven? My toaster is the woooooorst so I use the oven for now until I finally convince myself to buy a new toaster! lol -- I almost always have issues with random burning and uncooked parts a lot when I use my pop-up toaster, I feel ya!

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