Monday, April 9, 2012

Sweet and Spicy BLT Sandwich

After consuming way too much meat over the weekend (sausage, meatballs, chicken and bacon), I was in serious need for a vegetarian meal when I got home from work today. I remembered a recipe that I had been wanting to try from 101 cookbooks, and realized I had all the ingredients already (wonderful that I didn’t have to stop at the crowded store). So I hurried home and whipped up the marinade for the tempeh so it could work its magic until dinner time.

Sweet and Spicy BLT Sandwich |

Since Ryan isn't the biggest fan of soy products, he asked if he could have bacon on his instead of the tempeh. I told him that was perfectly fine, but wasn't sure about how it would pair with the other flavors. He was up for the taste-tester challenge though! 

Sweet and Spicy BLT Sandwich |

I know he always loves the combination of sweet and spicy so I added a few ingredients to the avocado, put mayonnaise on his sandwich and made a few tweaks. With either the marinated tempeh or bacon, all the flavors come together so well for a fantastic sandwich!

Sweet and Spicy BLT Sandwich |

Sweet and Spicy BLT Sandwich

Yields: 4 sandwiches

If using Tempeh:
8 oz. package of tempeh, sliced
3 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T maple syrup
3 T adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers

If using Bacon:
12 slices of maple cured bacon (use your favorite kind)

Remaining ingredients:
2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 T good maple syrup 
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt 
1 avocado, mashed with a fork 
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and finely chopped
fresh lemon juice
Whole romaine lettuce leaves 
8 slices of good quality whole grain bread, toasted 
Lite mayonnaise (optional) 
If doing a vegetarian sandwich, combine the ingredients and pour over the slices of tempeh in a pan. Ideally all the slices of tempeh should be covered. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the tomatoes, maple syrup, olive oil and salt in a small bowl and pour onto a lined cookie sheet (I used parchment paper). Make sure all tomatoes are facing upward and spread evenly across the cookie sheet. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty here!
Roast the tomatoes for about 35-40 minutes in the oven, gently tossing twice during the cooking time. When tossing, make sure to keep the tomatoes cut-side facing upward - your goal here is to just make sure the tomatoes aren’t sticking. Once the tomatoes are done cooking, turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes in the oven while preparing the other ingredients (for up to an hour). 

While the tomatoes are cooking, cook the bacon or tempeh (or both). For the bacon, cook to desired crispiness. For the tempeh, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and cook the tempeh slices a few minutes on each side (they should be lightly browned).

In a small bowl, mash the avocado and add the chopped jalapeno and a few drops of lemon juice (to your taste liking) and mix well. 

Toast the bread and wash the lettuce leaves. Assemble sandwiches by spreading the avocado mixture on one piece of bread, mayonnaise on the other (if using). Evenly divide the tomatoes among 4 sandwiches and pile on the bacon (or tempeh) and lettuce.

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