I’m even sharing the recipe.
Credit: Whole Foods

Ever since I heard about Whole Foods’ viral vegan BLT sandwich I’ve been determined to try it. The sandwich layers tempeh bacon strips, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and vegan garlic mayo onto cushy slices of ciabatta bread.

I’m a die-hard avocado lover (what millennial isn’t?) and I’ve been vegetarian for almost 13 years—so when I found my local Whole Foods wasn’t yet serving the sandwich, I knew I had to make my own version at home.

The result was just as good as I hoped it would be. The avocado and mayo mixture lends a creamy, garlicky bite, while the lettuce and tomato bring freshness. And we can’t forget the star of the sandwich—the tempeh bacon—which was surprisingly flavorful.

The tempeh bacon strips are actually way easier to use and much tastier than expected. I’ve never had real bacon before, but I have tried brands that attempt to really replicate bacon and it usually looks and tastes like plastic. Using smoky tempeh says “I’m trying to replace bacon,” but not “I’m trying to be bacon.” Does tempeh bacon really taste like bacon? Probably not. But it’s meaty, smoky, and delicious, so who cares?

The tempeh bacon uses pretty simple ingredients like fermented soybeans, soy sauce, cider vinegar, cane syrup, smoke flavor, beet powder, dried onions, and spices. Plus, four slices are only 140 calories and 5 grams of fat, compared to four slices of cured, pan-fried bacon for 215 calories and 16 grams of fat, according to the USDA.

I’ll be making this sandwich for lunch all week long. Give it a try, and join the viral #TTLAChallenge.

Credit: Arielle Weg

Ingredients for two sandwiches:

  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil 1 package of tempeh bacon strips (I used Lightlife’s Organic Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh Strips, which is the brand Whole Foods uses.)
  • 4 slices of your favorite bread (I am eternally wed to Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane, but the original recipe is made on white ciabatta.)
  • 1 small Avocado
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic vegan mayo (Either a store-bought version or the homemade one below)
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 6 slices
  • 6 Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional additional toppings: pickles, red onion, etc.

Ingredients for roasted garlic mayo:

  • 3 large garlic cloves (you can use more if you want it extra garlicky)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan mayonnaise (Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo is great)
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
Credit: Arielle Weg

How to make the sandwiches:

  1. To make the roasted garlic mayo: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap garlic cloves in aluminum foil. Once oven has heated, roast garlic for 40 minutes. Remove roasted garlic from package. Using a fork, mash garlic into a paste. Mix in vegan mayonnaise and lemon juice.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place tempeh slices in oil, cooking two to three minutes or until browned. Flip slices and repeat.
  3. Remove tempeh slices from oil, and let drain onto a paper towel lined plate.
  4. If desired, toast bread slices. Scoop out avocado. In a small bowl, mash avocado and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread on two slices of bread.
  5. Spread garlic mayonnaise evenly on remaining two slices.
  6. Layer four bacon slices over each avocado-topped bread slice. Top with three tomato slices each and three lettuce leaves each. Cover with bread, slice sandwich in half, and enjoy!

Tip: Wrap cut halves of the second sandwich individually in plastic wrap for lunch the next day!