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A Vegetarian TLT Sandwich Inspired by the Classic BLT Sandwich

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A vegetarian TLT sandwich inspired by the classic BLT sandwich. This version includes jalapeno marinated tempeh and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, a bit of shredded lettuce, and plenty of guacamole on a large slice (or two slices) of bread.

At this time, no other sandwiches I make are more important than this. Instead of making classic BLT sandwiches, I made TLT-tempeh, lettuce and tomatoes. Not a primitive concept, but my secret is...every component needs to be delicious.

My version features jalapeno marinated tempeh and oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, with a little shredded lettuce and a large slice of avocado on a large slice (or two). For anyone who wants a rich, hearty, satisfying, nutritious and meatless lunch, this is hard to beat.

You need to plan ahead for the marinated tempeh and roasted tomatoes, but I guarantee that all the efforts are worth it. If you make more money, you can get a sandwich in a week. Tempeh is easy to find in most Whole Foods supermarkets or natural food stores-here is a link to another favorite tempeh recipe in case you are interested in other ways to use it.

I like to put this TLT sandwich on a large slice of ultra-thin whole-wheat walnut bread-toast until crisp. You can choose the traditional sandwich route, or you can enjoy it to your heart's content. Now I am thinking that the miniature version of these might be great bite-sized party food?

If you want more tempeh inspiration, don’t miss these tempeh recipes. Be sure to pay special attention to this spicy tempeh minced bowl and this tempeh taco salad.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shoyu sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
  • 8 ounces of tempeh, cut into 1/3-inch thick strips

Roasted Tomatoes:
  • 1 small basket of cherry tomatoes (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt

To Assemble:
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce, cored, then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
  • 1-2 large avocados, mashed with a pinch of salt just before assembling
  • 4 or 8 extra-thin slices of hearty whole grain bread, well toasted

  • Whisk together the 3 tablespoons of olive oil, shoyu, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and adobo sauce. Pour 1/3 of the tempeh marinade into an 8x8 baking dish (or something comparable) - you want a dish that is just big enough to hold the tempeh in a single layer - this way it will be fully enveloped by the marinade. Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the tempeh, cover and keep in the refrigerator for a couple hours, overnight or until ready to use.
  • While the tempeh is marinating, go ahead and roast the tomatoes. Heat the oven to 375F. Cut each tomato in half and arrange them in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together the olive oil, sugar, and salt and pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, finishing with each tomato facing cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet.
  • When the tempeh is done marinating heat a large pan over medium-high heat and cook the tempeh slices for a few minutes on each side. You may need to do this in batches if you don't have a big enough pan. Set the tempeh slices aside until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
  • To assemble each sandwich take one slice of bread and slather a generous layer of mashed avocado. Place a small helping of the shredded lettuce on top of the avocado, a few tomatoes, then a few slices of the tempeh, and more tomatoes. Enjoy either open faced or topped with another avocado-slathered bread slice.