25th Oct 2017
How on earth do you live without bacon? Definitely one of the top five questions that vegans and veggies get asked. Who says vegan food can’t get down and dirty with the big boys? This vegan take on the classic BLT is everything you could want from a sandwich. And it’s unbelievably delicious! I dare you to try it. Just once. You’ll be coming back for more, I promise you. Tempeh is simply soy beans, fermented and compressed.
You can buy tempeh, plain or smoked, from wholefood shops, South East Asian grocery stores and online suppliers. Unlike tofu, it contains the whole soy bean, so tempeh has much higher protein, vitamin and fibre contents, as well as more “bite” in its texture. Tempeh also tends to be less processed than tofu and it is much easier to source from non-GM organic soy beans.
Tempah “Bacon” Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich with Gochujang Mayonnaise
160g smoked tempeh, sliced lengthways into 5mm thick slices
125ml tamari or light soy sauce
2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
½ tbsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 tbsp pomace or vegetable oil
2 thick slices of your favourite bread, lightly toasted
handful of iceberg lettuce, sliced
handful of watercress or lamb’s lettuce
1 large ripe tomato, sliced
pickled chillies (optional)
Marinate the tempeh slices in the tamari or light soy sauce for 10 minutes.
Mix together the vegan mayonnaise and gochujang paste and set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the marinated tempeh slices. Fry gently until they start to brown and become a little crispy on the outside; about 3-4 minutes on each side. Place on paper towels to drain.
To build your sandwich, layer the bottom slice of toasted bread with the lettuce and watercress, then top with the tomato slices. Generously drizzle with gochujang mayonnaise, then layer the fried tempeh slices over the top. Top with the second slice of toasted bread. Add a few pickled chillies if you like it with a bit more kick.
Easy Vegan Mayonnaise
Aquafaba, or chickpea water, has been a revelation for me over the last year or two. Basically, the water in that tin of chickpeas has enough protein in it that it can be wildly transformed. Making macarons is a step too far for me, and it’s not that stable as meringue, but aquafaba mayo is very easy to make and much more cost-effective than the expensive shop-bought stuff.
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp liquid from a tin of chickpeas, plus 12 whole chickpeas
120ml vegetable oil
60ml extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Using a food processor or stick blender, blitz the garlic, lemon juice, mustard, chickpea liquid and chickpeas until completely smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the vegetable oil until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.
Transfer to a bowl, and whisk constantly while slowly pouring in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a clean jar or container. The mayo will keep for a week in the fridge.
Extracted from My Vegan Travels by Jackie Kearney (Ryland Peters & Small, approx €19). Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small.
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