TLT’s (Vegetarian BLT’s)

This is another one from the summer archives (don’t mind the sides of corn and watermelon).  I’m clearing out a lot of space in the chance to get all the upcoming holiday posts ready.  But, this is a good one.

BLT’s.  Oh, how I miss them.  At one point, BLT’s were a solid staple in my diet….especially the one from Jimmy John’s.  Oh, well.  And, to be honest with you, as I am not a huge fan of “fake meat”, a BLT was something that I didn’t think I could recreate with chance of even showing a little respect to the original.

But this recipe is the classiest and, dare I say, “sexiest”, version of a BLT I have ever made.  Yes, it’s a little bit of work.  Roasting tomatoes and marinating the tempeh (this is definitely a prep-ahead-of-time meal for a weeknight) isn’t a quick thing (but it’s oh so worth it), and, again, I have a lot of guilt posting this when getting your hands on some nice, fresh tomatoes may take some work.  And an avocado-mayo mash?  Well, ok, if I have to.  Skip the mayo and just keep the avocado mash if you want a skinnier version.  Top all of it onto some whole wheat crusty bread, and we’re good to go.

TLT’s (Vegetarian BLT’s)

Servings: about 4



For the marinade:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon or so of Liquid Smoke, optional, to taste

3 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers

8 ounces tempeh (I bought a “smoky” version), cut in strips

For the sandwiches:

2-3 Roma tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Sea salt, just a pinch

1 avocado, mashed

1/4 cup mayonnaise, optional


Whole wheat bread, toasted



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. For the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, adobo sauce, and Liquid Smoke (if using).

3. Pour about one-third of the marinade into an 8×8″ baking dish and place the tempeh in a single layer over the sauce.

4. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

5. For the roasted tomatoes: Slice each tomato and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish.

6. In another medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, and sea salt.  Pour this evenly over the tomatoes and lightly brush the tomatoes with a silicone brush to ensure that they are evenly covered by the oil mixture.

7. Bake for about 45 minutes or so, or until slightly shrunken.

8. For the sandwiches: Once the tempeh is done marinating, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

9. Add the slices of tempeh (be gentle, mine were very fragile and a few broke), and cook each one for a few minutes on each side.

10. For the avocado-mayo:  Gently mix together the mashed avocado and the mayonnaise until as smooth as possible. (It will still be lumpy, and that’s ok.)

11. To assemble the sandwiches:  Place a spoonful or two of the avocado-mayo on top of the toasted bread.  Top this with tempeh, spinach, and roasted tomatoes.  Enjoy.

Source:  Slightly adapted from 101cookbooks.


November 8, 2012 - 8:08 pm

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I need to get on this ASAP! What a fabulous recipe!

November 9, 2012 - 11:21 am

Erin@LawStudentsWife - Sexy is right! Good for you to say it 🙂
I’m always on the look out for good veggie subs for two sneaky meats: bacon and sausage. The marinaded tempeh is sounds delicious. Where did you find the “smoked” version?
I can’t wait to reach for one these some night this winter when I need a ray of summer sunshine!

November 11, 2012 - 11:48 am

Max @CupOfSeider - I don’t eat bacon (sad, I know) but it always smells soo good. This sarnie looks like a drool-worthy way to get my smokey fix 🙂

May 1, 2013 - 2:09 pm

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