The following recipe was a smash hit when made at my house just a few weeks ago. I was craving a hearty classic but wanted a non meat substitute for the BLT. I try my best to find meat substitutes where and when I can. I am by no means a vegetarian but when dating a vegetarian it is necessary to accommodate to the follies of a loved one. This adventures into vegetarian cooking and especially meat substitutes have greatly opened up my cooking catalog. I found this recipe thanks to some guidance from a dear friend and accomplished home cook.
The recipe calls for tempeh. Tempeh is a soy product similar to tofu, but the process of making this protein filled meat substitute is a little different. Instead of using a soymilk and a coagulant to make tofu you use a whole soy bean and a mold (yes a fungus) to create your soy cake. This whole soy bean product has a more nutty flavor and a better texture for sandwich use then its brethren tofu. Like tofu, tempeh will marinate very easily and therefore can be flavored with any number of spices and sauces.
I followed this recipe to the letter (with a few additions of my own) and found that adobe gave the tempeh the right amount of meaty flavor and texture I was looking for in this sandwich. The Roasted tomatoes were a little trickier then the recipe leads on. So after a few tries I gave up and just used some raw cherry tomatoes. I did make some Balsamic red onions to go with the sandwich. To make balsamic red onions all you need to do is slice onions just thick enough for them to sauté nicely in just a little oil. When the onions have gone from bitter to sweet add just a splash of balsamic vinegar and let it reduce with the onions stirring frequently to cover all of the onions. This will take just a couple of minutes while your Tempeh is roasting in the oven.
Recipe found at http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/tlt-sandwich-recipe.html Heidi and 101cookbook is a great source for all kinds of vegetarian recipes.
TLT Sandwich Recipe
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shoyu sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or maple syrup)
3 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
8 ounces of tempeh, cut into 1/3-inch thick strips
1 small basket of cherry tomatoes (2 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or maple syrup)
scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 small head of romaine lettuce, cored, then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1-2 large avocados, mashed with a pinch of salt just before assembling
4 or 8 extra-thin slices of hearty whole grain bread, well toasted
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, shoyu, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and adobo sauce. Pour 1/3 of the tempeh marinade into an 8×8 baking dish (or something comparable) – you want a dish that is just big enough to hold the tempeh in a single layer – this way it will be fully enveloped by the marinade. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover and keep in the refrigerator for a couple hours, overnight or until ready to use.
While the tempeh is marinating, go ahead and roast the tomatoes. Cut each tomato in half and arrange them in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together the olive oil, sugar, and salt and pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, finishing with each tomato facing cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet.
When the tempeh is done marinating heat a large pan over medium-high heat and cook the tempeh slices for a few minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches if you don’t have a big enough pan. Set the tempeh slices aside until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
To assemble each sandwich take one slice of bread and slather a generous layer of mashed avocado. Place a small helping of the shredded lettuce on top of the avocado, a few tomatoes, then a few slices of the tempeh, and more tomatoes. Enjoy either open faced or topped with another avocado-slathered bread slice.
Makes four sandwiches.
This is just a start of the vegetarian recipes that I will continue to source. I am big fan of finding new and interesting ways to cook classics and to be able to give our vegetarian friends a option at the dinner table that doesn’t consist of steamed veggies and pasta.
Thank You Heather for the chance to explore cooking with you.
Eat well your body will appreciate it!