So, my vegetarian summer is almost over.
Or, is it?
I have had so many people ask me recently what I’m going to do when my summer challenge is over. Will I stick with it and become a vegetarian for life? Will I at least eat fish? How can I not have bacon in my life?
All very good questions. The answer is: I don’t know. I haven’t decided. I still have a couple weeks to go. Bear with me.
In the meantime, I’m lovin’ it.
One of my favorite summer meals is a classic BLT. When the tomatoes are so perfect and in season, there is nothing better.
This past weekend I really wanted one. So, I decided to give it my all and make one I could love as a vegetarian.
I succeeded. I loved this sandwich. It was hearty, filling and delicious.
However, it was definitely not a classic BLT.
First of all, I didn’t use lettuce. I used kale (I LOVE kale). I massaged my kale. Have you tried this? You should. I’ll tell you how below.
Secondly, I didn’t have a big juicy tomato, I had little tomatoes. So I made a tomato/basil salad.
Then there is the obvious change – bacon. Ahh…sweet bacon. I decided to try tempeh bacon. I will not try to tell you that it taste just like regular bacon and you’ll never know the difference. It doesn’t and you will. It was good, meaty and worked in this dish, but it was no subsitute for real bacon.
Oh, and I was out of mayo. I know, this is starting to not sound anything like a BLT, right? That’s why it’s a badass version.
Instead of mayo, I mixed some plain greek yogurt with some mashed avocado and a little salt and lemon juice. Yum.
This is not your mama’s BLT. This is a amped up version that will keep you going. I served mine open face because that way it seemed like more and I like that.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but it goes fast and took me less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Badass Vegetarian BLT
Note: I will never know if you use regular bacon. I’m confident it would be awesome. You could just call that a badass BLT.
4 strips tempeh bacon, cooked in skillet (follow package instructions)
2 cups kale, chopped (I used lacinto kale but any variety would work. Tear it away from the stem first and discard the stem)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 c. plain greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (if you have a great big Brandywine – use it instead. They were made for BLT’s)
1 Tbsp Basil, chopped
4 thick slices good quality whole grain bread. ( I got some 12-grain levain at the Farmer’s Market that was perfect.)
Salt and Pepper
For the Kale:
Place your chopped kale in a bowl and top with lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale with your hands for about 2-3 minutes until the kale gets a little soft and starts to break down a bit. Set aside.
For the tomatoes:
Put your tomatoes in a bowl with the basil and a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
For the “mayo”:
Combine the yogurt with about a 1/3 of the avocado, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Mash and mix and set aside.
Lay out each bread slice (I did not toast mine because it just didn’t need it, but feel free to toast yours)
Spread a tablespoon or two of the “mayo” on each slice. Top with a layer of massaged kale followed by a layer of the tomato salad, followed by slices of avocado (from the other 2/3 you have left). Top the sandwich with the 1 slice of cooked tempeh bacon per piece of bread.
You can now call yourself a badass vegetarian. Congrats.