Like most children, I grew up eating tuna salad sandwiches. It was always such an easy meal for my mom to whip together with little effort and once I became old enough, it was one of the first things I started making for myself. Though I never cared for seafood as a child, canned tuna was just one of those staples I didn’t even think of as seafood, I just liked it in a sandwich. Now that I’m all grown up and have eliminated all animal products from my diet, I miss some of the staples from my childhood, not for the content but for the ease of preparation and the satisfaction they brought me. I’m a firm believer that anything can be veganized and when I started seeing chickpea “tuna” recipes showing up around the web, I decided to make my own based on the ingredients I used as a child. Easy. Robin Robertson has a similar chickpea “tuna” recipe posted online on Vegan Planet that I used for inspiration, it was the closest to what I remember from my youth. This recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare and keeps well in the fridge for days though I doubt it will last that long, it’s so tasty I take a bite every time I walk by the fridge.
Although I love to cook as much as possible, every once in awhile I get home late, tired and ready to eat immediately, just like everybody else. On those days I love slapping together a fast sandwich and this particular one seems to make more appearances than the rest so I figured the recipe might be worthy of posting. After always pulling out three jars from the fridge just to make this sandwich, I finally made a dijonnaise relish that I keep handy for this particular creation. I rarely use ‘fake meats’ in my cooking or diet but I do have a soft spot for tofurkey and have convinced many that they wouldn’t be missing much if they made the switch from cruelty turkey to tofurkey. I always use either spelt or sprouted wheat bread but you’re welcome to use whatever bread you prefer.
2 slices of bread, preferably sprouted wheat
4 slices of Tofurkey deli slices (I used peppered)
1/2 roma tomato, sliced thin
1 romaine leaf, broken into smaller pieces
mayonnaise, to taste (1-2 tbsp)
dijon mustard, to taste (1-3 tsp)
dill relish, to taste (1-3 tsp)
dash of salt (optional)
1. Toast bread according to your darkness preference
2. Spread mayo, mustard and dill relish on both sides of bread until evenly distributed
3. Layer 2 slices of Tofurkey deli slices on each side of bread
4. Layer lettuce and tomatoes on one side of bread, sprinkling a dash of sea salt on tomatoes (optional)
5. Stack sides together, being careful not to let the tomatoes or lettuce fall off
5. Slice diagonally and enjoy!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
This is my favorite sandwich, hands down. It’s nutritious, spicy, simple and delicious! I first had a version of it in Madison, WI back in 2000. I religiously frequented the restaurant where I had it and always walked away with a huge smile, shocked that a simple sandwich could make me so happy. Ever since creating my own version I have convinced many that being vegan isn’t all that bad. The secret to the marinade is the liquid smoke. My life changed once I discovered that magical little ingredient. I generally prepare this marinade if I have time to kill when cooking a completely separate meal and let the tempeh sit in the fridge marinating until ready to use. I have also made this sandwich with extra firm tofu instead of tempeh. The result is a smokier, crispier more bacon-like flavor. I decided I preferred the ‘meatier’ texture of the tempeh but it’s awesome either way.
Tempeh Lettuce Tomato Sandwich (TLT) with Chipotle Mayonnaise
6 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
1/2 cup of warm or boiling water
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 package of tempeh ( I prefer turtle island’s spicy veggie tempeh), cut into 15 strips (divide into fifths then slice into thirds)
1. Bring water to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Reduce heat and add sliced tempeh and poach for 10 minutes to increase digestibility and the ability to absorb a marinade (optional).
2. Mix all marinade ingredients together in an airtight container. Add sliced tempeh and marinate for minimum 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
Servings per sandwich:
2 Slices of toasted bread (I use spelt or sprouted wheat)
1 roma tomato, sliced
2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and torn into small pieces
2 tbsp Chipotle mayonnaise (recipe listed separately)
5 slices of marinated and fried tempeh
salt and pepper (optional)
1. Once tempeh is marinated, heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a cast iron (or non-stick) pan over medium high heat
2. Add tempeh and cook until browned (about 5 minutes) then flip and brown the other side
3. Once cooked, place on plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil
4. Spread chipotle mayo on both sides of toasted bread
5. Layer 5 slices of tempeh on one slice of bread then top with the lettuce pieces and sliced tomato. Add a dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper to the tomatoes, if you prefer
6. Top with the other slice of bread and cut in half
Total Prep Time: 10-15 minutes to prepare marinade, 10-15 minutes to prepare sandwich
Servings: Marinated tempeh can make up to 5 sandwiches
- If you prefer tofu, simply slice tofu into thin, 1-inch wide pieces and fry in the same way
- I’ve made this by baking instead of frying the tempeh and it comes out great
- When out of chipotle mayo I’ve had this with plain mayo and it’s quite tasty served that way as well