Do I really even need to say anything else? Crispy (tempeh) bacon with cashew ranch dressing and mashed avocado and other magicalness? Maybe we can finally silence those haters who leave the, “this needs bacon!” comments when I post pictures of vegan food on social media… :)

I’m telling you – if you’ve never had tempeh bacon, your life is woefully incomplete. This stuff is incredible, and crispy, and delicious. Plus, you’ll be so surprised at how easy it is to make: all we do is take thinly sliced tempeh (a super-healthy protein made from whole soybeans), marinate it in a special maple/soy sauce, and then bake for 15 minutes until crunchy. Done. Add that onto some yummy whole wheat bread with cashew ranch, avocado, and (of course) lettuce and tomato. Oh, your coworkers are going to be so jealous tomorrow at lunch.

Vegan BLT

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari / soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 4 romaine leaves
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • Pinch of salt

Vegan BLT Cutting Board

Step One

Make the tempeh bacon! Cut the tempeh into very thin strips (just barely thick enough to hold together) and place in a large baking dish or other surface. Then, pour about 2 tablespoons of each: tamari or soy sauce, vegetable oil, and maple syrup. Also sprinkle on a tablespoon of smoked paprika. Let this marinate for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 400º F.

After about 30 minutes, transfer the slices of tempeh to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, then flip each slice and bake for another 8 minutes or so until they start to blacken. Remove from the oven just when they’re on the border of becoming charred for maximum crispiness.

Maple Tempeh Bacon

Step Two

If you’ve been reading my website lately, you know how much I love cashew-based dressings & sauces. This time, we’re adding some spices to give it a ranch dressing type of feel. To make this one, combine 1/4 cup cashews in a blender with 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried dill, and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and slather onto one slice of bread for each sandwich.

A note on bread: I used a fairly unhealthy white sourdough bread here to give the photos a nice effect. But when I make this myself, I almost always use a healthy, whole-grain bread like the Ezekiel brand and I hope you will as well!

Step Three

In a bowl, mash one avocado with a fork and a pinch of salt. Spread this onto the other slice of bread for each sandwich.

Step Four

Put the sandwich together by adding a few romaine leaves onto the bottom piece of bread, followed by a generous amount of the tempeh bacon, then a few tomato slices, and finally the top slice of bread with avocado.

Vegan BLT Knife