This Vegan BLT sandwich is made with homemade tempeh bacon, avocado, crisp lettuce, and juicy tomatoes. It doesn't get much better than that! Make your own vegan bacon with just a handful of ingredients. It's perfect on salads, in wraps, just eaten hot from the pan, or in this delicious vegetarian sandwich!
I haven't eaten meat for well over 25 years, but I do still love the smell of bacon. Mmmm. So sweet. So smoky. So delicious.
Luckily for those of us who don't eat meat, there are lots of amazing vegan bacon recipes out there, or "facon" if you will.
My friend Kellie from Food to Glow makes drool-worthy Eggplant Bacon.
Alissa from Connoisseurus Veg makes Bacon Roasted Chickpeas.
And I've even got an ancient Coconut Bacon recipe here on the blog.
So many delicious options for plant-based bacon!
Today I'm going to teach you how to make my favourite vegan bacon... Tempeh Bacon! And then we're going to call it into action and make some mega delicious Tempeh Bacon BLT Sandwiches. Yum!
What goes into tempeh bacon?
Ok, here's what you're going to need to make this vegan bacon recipe:
- Temeph --> This is the star of the show! Related: How to Cook Tempeh.
- Soy sauce --> I like using Bragg's Liquid Aminos here.
- Apple cider vinegar --> This is the one I use.
- Light brown sugar --> For that sweet bacon sweetness.
- Ground cumin --> Starting to build in some smoky flavour...
- Smoked paprika --> Even smokier...
- Liquid smoke --> The smokiest! You can grab a small bottle like this one on Amazon.
What's the deal with liquid smoke?
Liquid Smoke is the condensed smoke from burning wood, and you can find it in different varieties to match the types of wood. Hickory, mesquite, apple wood, etc.
I've looked into the process of making it, and liquid smoke is natural enough to be within my comfort zone, but if it squicks you out, or if you simply can't find it, it's totally fine to leave it out. There's enough other smoky stuff (smoked paprika, cumin) that this recipe will turn out just fine without it.
How do you make Tempeh Bacon?
First things first: let's make tempeh bacon!
Step 1: Make the smoky marinade. You'll combine the soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, and some water in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, and let this mixture boil for about two minutes. Then, turn off the heat and add the liquid smoke if you're using it.
Step 2: Slice your tempeh into thin strips, and place them in a single layer in a casserole dish. Pour the marinade over top, and make sure all of the tempeh is covered.
Now you're going to cover this, and set it aside to marinade for at least one hour, but you can also leave it overnight.
Step 3: Pre-heat your oven to 150°C / 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the parchment with olive oil.
Step 4: Drain the tempeh, and arrange the strips on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with more olive oil.
Step 5: Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tempeh is beginning to brown. Flip the slices and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until crisp.
Remove from the oven, and let the tempeh bacon cool slightly before you use it.
How can I use tempeh bacon?
Great question! You can anywhere you'd use "normal" bacon.
- Pile up a bunch of tempeh bacon beside your Vegan Banana Waffles.
- Crumble it up to make vegan bacon bits.
- Add it to vegan baked beans.
- Put some tempeh bacon on top of Vegan Corn Chowder.
- Or, make these tasty Tempeh Bacon BLT sandwiches!
Can I make tempeh bacon in advance?
You sure can! A batch will last about a week in your fridge, but you can also totally freeze it so you've got vegan bacon ready to go whenever you need.
You can also freeze marinated tempeh bacon strips and defrost them before baking so you've got hot, crisp vegan bacon whenever you want. What is better than that? Nothing, my friends. Nothing.
Hey Nutrition Lady, what's the deal with tempeh?
Tempeh is fermented soy food originally from Indonesia. It is fermented with the mold Rhizopus oligosporus in a process similar to cheese making.
The fermentation process makes digestion easier and nutrients like zinc, calcium, and iron are more bio available than in non-fermented soy products like tofu.
Tempeh is a great source of plant-based protein. Also, because the soy beans in tempeh are still in their whole form, all of the dietary fiber is still intact.
Tempeh is usually purchased in a cake-like form and can be sliced or crumbled, and is often steamed, seared, or stir-fried. Look for tempeh that is covered with a thin whitish bloom.
Sometimes it has a few black or grayish spots, which is totally fine, but it should have no evidence of pink, yellow, or blue colouration – a sign that it has become overly fermented.
Want to know more? Here is Everything You Need to Know About Tempeh!
Other recipes you might enjoy:
7 Vegan Tempeh Recipes
Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
Tempeh Bacon BLT
- 8 oz tempeh sliced into 20 - 24 very thin slices
- ¼ cup liquid aminos I use Braggs or low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon light brown sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup water
- 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke optional
Tempeh Bacon BLT Sandwiches
- 8 slices nice bread
- 2 avocados
- 1 to mato thickly sliced
- 4 leaves crisp lettuce I use good old iceberg
- regular or vegan mayonnaise optional
For the Tempeh Bacon
- Combine soy sauce (or liquid aminos), apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, smoked paprika, and water in a small saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 1-2 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Add the liquid smoke if you are using.
- Arrange the tempeh slices in a single layer in a casserole dish. Pour the marinade over the top, and give the dish a shake to ensure it is evenly distributed.
- Cover, and allow to marinate for at least one hour, but up to overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 150°C / 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the parchment with a bit of olive oil.
- Drain the tempeh slices and arrange on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil.
- Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the tempeh is beginning to brown. Flip the slices and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until crisp.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before using.
For Tempeh BLT Sandwiches
- Lightly toast the bread slices (optional, but recommended).
- Mash ½ of an avocado on one slice of bread, and if using, spread the other slice with mayonnaise (vegan or regular).
- Layer the tempeh bacon slices, lettuce, and tomato slices over the avocado. Top with the other slice of bread.
- Serve immediately.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
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Originally posted August 22, 2017. Last updated August 9, 2019.
Enjoy your site and have several of your recipes saved, Katie, Today, as our CA garden is offering up the last tomatoes and the first beautiful lettuce, I tried this tempeh bacon for BLT's. Both of us loved the flavor, and I'll surely make it again, but I couldn't get it to crisp. It browned a little in the first 15 minutes, but after flipping, it got a bit deeper brown, but stayed soft. Doubled the time to almost 20 minutes after flipping....and figured that was as crisp as it was going to get. Any suggestions?
Hey Martha. It's so hard to know without being there, and there are various factors at play from the humidity where you live to the brand of tempeh. Spontaneously I wonder if you brushed the tempeh with enough oil? Because it is the oil that would help it crisp up the most.
The marinade was delicious, I'll use that combination again. The tempeh turned out well, I used my air fryer. Sandwiches were tasty. Not completely sure I love tempeh yet though, it's the texture. I may learn to love it.
I think that tempeh is an acquired taste for many. Personally I love it, but I can see that it may take some time to come around to. The marinade would work great with tofu as well, though!
This recipe is delicious and one of my new favs!
I paired it with plantain chips and I can't wait to have the leftovers tonight!
Thank you so much!
yes I agree, bread gets such a bad rap! It doesn't deserve the blame. 🙂 I can't believe you get fresh bread delivered to your office. That sounds wonderful!
I love BLT sandwiches but haven't tried tempeh bacon. I'm on the hunt for it
Edyta at Innocent Delight
I never tried tempeh but I see it in my Trader Joe's and I'm tempted to get it. Now I have a great recipe for it. I got to go to the store.
Get it! Try it!
Whaat? There is someone else out there who loves bread as much as I do? Noooo! 🙂 Nice sandwiches! 🙂
Bread lovers unite!
Linda @ With A Blast
This looks so interesting, delicious and I love your photos !
Monica | Nourish & Fete
LOL, I'm with you - I mean, all the things your coworker listed are good, but truly good bread is at least as enjoyable, ha! Bread is one of the things we have been spoiled on since moving from the US to Belgium a couple of years ago. I swear the most ordinary, grocery-store bread here is lightyears beyond the best bread I've had in the US!!! This recipe looks fantastic. 🙂
I know what you mean! The bread back home just pales in comparison now.
I've just finished eating my way through my first ever batch if tempeh bacon (I made up a similar marinade of sweet, salty and smokey - just smoked paprika for the smoke) and it was really really good. I'll try your recipe next time 🙂
I love tempeh bacon! Such a fun and satisfying way to get in some plant-based protein!
I LOVE this post, and completely share your sentiments on bread. It hasn't done anything wrong; it's us that get carried away. And often on inferior bread. I also like your work strategy re the awesome Scandi bread table. We don't have quite as good a bread situation in the UK, but Edinburgh has a few outstanding artisan bakeries - pricey for everyday eating. Which makes it easier to not gorge on it I suppose. Anyway, your tempeh bacon sounds perfect. I do coconut bacon (more of a topping thing) and aubergine bacon but I need to make this. My family are tempeh-phobes so it will all be for me. Must have extras on salad rather than more bread. Easier said than done! ????????
Right??? Leave bread alone! It's innocent here! Going for top quality (and top price) artisan bread is another good strategy. We have a fantastic bakery just around the corner that does the most amazing levain (and knock of your socks cardamom buns as well, but I digress...) but those loaves aren't cheap. I buy them more for special occasions than anything else. Trying to avoid the office bread delivery, well that's another story!
Although I read about it all the time and it makes my mouth water, I have never tried to make tempeh bacon. It is definitely on my list to make this week.
Do it! It's so easy and delicious.