TLT’s are my go-to meal when I’m craving something savoury and delicious but I don’t want to cook. Even if I don’t have the ingredients on hand, remembering the grocery list: bread, vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato, tempeh bacon, is easy enough for even my most scatterbrained of days.
There’s not much to making a TLT. Pick your favourite tempeh bacon (store-bought or homemade) and fry it up. Lightly toast some sliced bread, spread with mayo and layer lettuce (I used romaine here but typically I’d buy iceberg or green leaf lettuce for TLT’s), sliced tomato, salt + pepper, and bacon. Close ‘er up and enjoy!
For mayo we used Hellman’s Carefully Crafted. We also love Earth Island’s (Follow Your Heart in the US) Original Vegenaise. I’ve tried making homemade vegan mayo, but so far I just haven’t loved the flavour enough to share.
For tempeh, Lightlife’s Smoky Tempeh Strips and Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Tempeh work great. Lightlife’s tempeh is similar in flavour to Tofurky’s but it has a finer texture and is sliced thinner. We also sliced and marinated some of Lightlife’s Organic Soy Tempeh in a sweet, salty + smoky sauce for a less bacon-y alternative.
You can also make a VLT (veganbacon lettuce tomato sandwich) with any vegan bacon you like best. Try tofu bacon, shiitake mushroom bacon, rice paper bacon, whatever you want! I’ve included a marinade recipe you can use if you like. It’s not bang on for bacon by any means, but it IS delicious in these sandwiches.
Want to upgrade your TLT? Add perfectly ripe, sliced avocado to take this classic sandwich to the next level. I didn’t have a ripe one on hand, but it is SO good. Seriously, do it.
Now the accompaniments. Fries or potato wedges are at the top of my list (those are Cavendish FlavourCrisp potato wedges and fries pictured, they make the BEST frozen to baked fries and wedges we’ve ever tried. Seriously, they’re like deep-fried deliciousness, but baked!) Crudité with vegan ranch is another favourite side for this sandwich. Or you could just say screw it and make 2 TLT’s. 👿
PS: Today is Day 7 of Vegan MoFo. Yay!!
- 2 slices bread
- 1–2 tbsp vegan mayo
- 1–2 leaves lettuce
- 2 slices tomato
- 4 slices tempeh bacon + oil for frying
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2–3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted
- 1/2–1 tsp liquid smoke
- black pepper, to taste
- 8 strips tempeh
- 1/2 tbsp vegan butter, canola, or olive oil
- Fry tempeh bacon according to package instructions, or until golden-brown and crisp.
- Lightly toast 2 slices of bread.
- Spread both slices with a light coat of mayo. On one slice, evenly layer lettuce, followed by tomato (sprinkle with salt and pepper) and then bacon slices. Top with second slice of bread and slice on a diagonal. Enjoy!
- Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, melted vegan butter, liquid smoke, and black pepper in a shallow dish.
- Add tempeh strips and ensure they’re well coated with marinade. Refrigerate overnight. Do not shake, flip gently with tongs if needed.
- To cook: Preheat skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tbsp vegan butter or oil and fry tempeh (plus remaining marinade) until crisp and browned to your liking.