This vegan BLT sandwich is the TRUTH! Fresh tomatoes and a killer smokey sauce elevate this BLT to the head of the class.
Some years ago when I was working for Kraft Foods I had a research assignment where we visited Velveeta Cheese consumers to discuss and observe their Velveeta consumption habits. I remember visiting this African American gentleman in Kansas City. His profile said he was 45 years old, but physically he could have passed for 65.
Besides this, there were a few other things about the visit that stuck with me. One - he had a crazy vinyl collection which he observed me admiring to the point of handing me a vintage copy of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album. It wasn't lost on me that two heavy black Pink Floyd fans were in the same room in Kansas City.
The other thing that stood out was the size of guy's pill collection. At 45 he already had a crazy regimen involving at least 15 pills. His warning to me at the time was don't ever start taking pills. He mentioned that in his thirties he began taking medication for high blood pressure and that it wasn't long before he was popping prescribed pills for a host of other illnesses which eventually led to depression and the relayed pills to treat that. We didn't talk much about Velveeta except that he made a mean BLT with cheese and the melt was perfect!
- Portobello Mushroom Caps
- Maple Syrup
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Can of Smoked Chipotles with Adobo Sauce
- Smoked Sweet Paprika
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Dried Basil
- Black Kale ("lacinato)
Prepare the Mushrooms
Combine maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, adobo sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well.
Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the sauce and pour the rest over the mushrooms and let them marinate in the fridge for an hour. Flip as necessary to ensure all sides of the mushrooms marinate.
Pre-heat mushrooms to 400 degrees F.
Remove mushrooms from the marinade and spread on a foil-lined bakingsheet. Bake for 20 minutes flipping the mushrooms half-way.
Make the Sandwich
While the mushrooms are baking, slice the tomatoes then season with salt, pepper, and dried basil.
Toast the bread then assemble the sandwich using the reserved sauce as your sandwich spread. Layer on the tomatoes, kale, and mushrooms.
The "B" in BLT is actually for portobello mushrooms aka "Bellas" while the "L" is actually for Laccinato Kale aka Black Kale which I substitute for traditional lettuce.
Mushrooms make for a good meat substitute given their mouthfeel, texture, protein count, and low-calorie status. Because they are so low in energy density you can eat a lot without taking in many calories. Fake meat options like seitan and tofu have more protein but I'm not that guy as far as eating processed artificial meats.
It's widely accepted in research circles that there is a link between gut and mental health. Leafy greens such as Black Kale are high in folic acid and deficiencies in folate, as well as other B vitamins, have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
Lastly, when making this BLT sandwich, go for whole-grain bread. They contain more of the complex carbs that fuel the brain. Complex carbs release glucose slowly, helping you feel full longer and provides a steady source of fuel vs. that crash and burn feeling you get from sugar rushes.
I don't believe in calling anything that's not made with pork bacon. Bacon is pork and only pork, of this I am absolutely certain. There is no turkey bacon, Vegan bacon, etc. Let's stop the madness! Given this, I won't pretend in any way that portobello mushrooms taste better than bacon. That being said this version of a BLT sandwich wins and wins BIG.
My son, the skeptic and similar holder of the bacon is pork ideology, is a believer in this BLT. The smokey sauce is the key. I wanted to mimic the flavor you get from maple hardwood smoked bacon. I relied on smoke from two sources - the chipotle chiles and the paprika. Maple syrup gives the sweetness to balance them against the heat. These ingredients when roasted help provides that meaty essence from a flavor/taste standpoint. The mushrooms lose their moisture and the flavor is concentrated.
Vegan BLT Cooking Tips
- Marinate all sides of the portobellos fully
- Reserve some of the marinade to use as a sauce on the sandwich
- To clean avoid rinsing with water, otherwise, they'll become soggy when cooking. Just wipe them off with a damp cloth or paper towel.
- Cook longer than recommended cook time if you prefer a dryer, harder texture closer to crispy fried bacon
- Toast the bread before building the sandwich
Vegan BLT Meal Planning Tips
- When buying Portobello mushrooms, select ones that are firm and solid and smell fresh and earthy.
- Stems are edible so donâ€™t throw them away. Save them for another recipe especially in a stock
- Cover mushrooms with dry paper towels before refrigerating. Make sure to place them in a spot where they can breathe which help them last longer.
- I recommend making extra marinade to use as a sauce for the sandwich, however, another option would be to use this roasted red pepper sauce which I make weekly and keep on hand as an everyday condiment.
For other portobello recipes try this Grilled Portobello Mushrooms or Stuffed Portobellos.
MORE SANDWICH RECIPES
Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Grilled Cheese with Andouille Sausage
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- 1 large Portobello mushroom cap cut lengthwise into ½ inch slices
- ¼Â cupÂ maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of smoked chipotles
- ½ tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 to mato sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 1 bunch of lacinato kale stems removed and leaves chopped roughly
- Combine the maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, adobo sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Pour sauce over mushrooms and let marinate in the fridge for an hour. Flip as necessary to ensure all sides of the mushrooms marinate.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove mushrooms from marinade and spread on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes flipping the mushrooms half way. Alternatively heat coconut oil in a medium skillet and cook the mushrooms for 3 minutes, flip and cook for 3 more minutes.
- While mushrooms are cooking, season tomatoes with salt and pepper and dried basil.
- Assemble the sandwich using the reserved sauce as a sandwich spread.