Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato (TLT)

August 18, 2014

I really need to get back on that not-eating-everything-in-sight plan.  It was my dad’s 50th birthday on Sunday, so we had a whole weekend of celebrations.  A big party on Saturday (with so much food. so. so much food. and then cake. and ice cream. and delicious caramelly cracker things. I die) and then a Tiger’s game on Sunday at Comerica Park, followed by ALL OF THE GREEK FOOD.  Well, not all of it. I have leftovers for days.  Needless to say as I’m writing this (on Sunday night), I’m sun burned + sleepy + working hard to polish off the rest of Josh’s chocolate cake with cookie butter frosting and whiskey caramel sauce birthday cake.  I wish I could stop talking about/eating this cake.  It’s just too good for words.

Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato (TLT)

But just kidding, I’m going to keep eating everything in sight because we’re surprise-ish going to Oklahoma City this week.  I had a flight voucher that had to be used and Josh has a mom that needs a visit (almost a full decade after he last saw her!).  Send me all of your southern food recommendations, por favor.

Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato (TLT)

Meanwhile, I’m dreaming about this sandwich.  It has vegetables on it, so I could tell myself it’s healthy.  It also has tempeh, which is like my favorite thing to put on sandwiches ever, and yet for some reason I hardly ever work with it/eat it.  When I made this tempeh bacon, I vowed that this would change.  Tempeh isn’t too pricy and is a better way for me to eat soy (emphasis on for me, RE: thyroid issues. Consult your doctor and all that before thinking soy is the enemy please, people!).  While it doesn’t get crispy like I’m pretty sure real bacon is supposed to, all of the flavor is there with none of the actual meat.  Or the creepy, smoky meat smell that lingers in people’s houses for DAYS when they cook bacon, blech.

Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato (TLT)

Tempeh, Lettuce, and Tomato (TLT)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • 8 oz package tempeh
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (or liquid aminos + a pinch of salt)
  • 1 tbsp. liquid smoke
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 8 slices bread (any kind)
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Optional: mayo (regular, light, vegan, whatever you prefer)

  1. Slice the tempeh into ~ ¼ inch slices (Mine was a rectangle, so I cut short pieces and got 24 – 30).
  2. Combine all of the ingredients from maple syrup to paprika in a bowl or sealable plastic bag. Marinate 30 minutes to 24 hours.
  3. Over medium/high heat, add the tempeh slices to a skillet (greasing with EVOO or nonstick spray) with 2 tbsp. of marinade. Cook in batches if your skillet isn’t large enough to fit all of the slices at once. Flip after 2 – 3 minutes when the marinade has been reduced and cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes. The tempeh will get a little crispy but will not get as crispy as bacon.
  4. Assemble sandwiches with ¼ of the tempeh, lettuce, and slices of tomato on a slice of bread and top with an additional slice. Repeat to make 4 sandwiches total. Use mayo on bread, if desired.

Nutritional estimate not provided — this will vary greatly based on the bread you use.
Prep time assumes 30 minute marinade.
For a gluten free version, make sure your bread and soy sauce (or liquid aminos) are gluten free. For some reason, low sodium soy sauces have the best umami flavor for making faux meats, in my opinion.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 sandwich

Tagged with:

    How to Feed a Vegetarian | Hidden Fruits and Veggies Oct 10, 2014

    […] 6. Sandwiches: I know I’m not the only person who appreciates a good sandwich! If you let everyone build their own, everyone’s happy. Larger grocery and health food stores also carry faux-deli meats, like by Tofurky or Light Life, but I’m always happy with a double cheese sandwich with tomato and lettuce. If you’re in the mood for a specialty sandwich, like a Reuben, try to think of an easy swap for meat. I like sliced, sautéed mushrooms in place of corned beef on my Reubens and tempeh on my BLTs. […]

    Kelly @ Trial and Eater Aug 20, 2014

    I love your spin on this sandwich! I also agree with Pamela above – I love your elephant print napkin!

      Kelly Aug 20, 2014

      I’m glad everyone approves!! I have a big “I told you so” for Josh. He questioned when I’d ever use something like that 😀

      Kelly Aug 20, 2014

      Pier 1! It’s with the cloth napkins. 🙂

    cheri Aug 18, 2014

    HI Kelly, can you tell me what brand of tempeh you use? Thanks! great sandwich!

    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl Aug 18, 2014

    I want a big ol sandwich right now! Loving your pictures, too pretty! And hello Mr. Elephant – love that print!

      Kelly Aug 18, 2014

      I love it, too! I’ve been having to force myself not to use it every time I take a photo 😀 Pier 1 if you want one of your own!

    marcie Aug 18, 2014

    The birthday party sounded like a blast, and that cake? It sounds amazing! This sandwich looks delicious – love the creative TLT twist. 🙂

    Joanna @Makingmine Aug 18, 2014

    I keep talking to Hannah (Clean Eating Veggie Girl) about tempeh, but I still don’t get it haha! I think I just need to give it a try! This sandwich looks awesome and a great way to make the most of summer produce!

      Kelly Aug 18, 2014

      It sounds a little gross when you think about it (fermented soy beans? blech) but it doesn’t taste fermented, I promise! No sauerkrauty flavor… unless you cook it in sauerkraut, which is totally delicious. It actually has almost no flavor, kind of like tofu, while still packing a nutritional punch –so it’s the perfect vehicle for whatever flavor you want to throw at it. I like it more than tofu because you don’t have to press it or freeze it to get the texture you want; it’s good to go from the package (plus, it’s not processed, so a lot of negative effects people associate with soy do not apply here). I think with a little peer pressure, we could get Hannah to cook some up for you 🙂

    Em @ Love A Latte Aug 18, 2014

    Yeah this sandwich is just about my favorite kind of sandwich! I really need to make this more often because every time I do I fall in love all over again. Have a great trip!