Toasted bread piled high with tempeh bacon, kimchi, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and chipotle mayonnaise makes a speedy meal for busy people.
Today’s post is super special as it is part of a virtual baby shower potluck for Erin who, in addition to having created two beautiful bouncing cookbooks, a spectacular recipe website and (with Melissa) a web design company, is about to become a bonafide mama in a few weeks.
Erin is one of the kindest, most generous souls I’ve ever met. After stalking her site for several years, I cold-emailed her last spring when I was contemplating a cookbook offer and she wrote back 2 full pages of honest, genuine advice and feedback, then offered to come to San Francisco for the sole purpose of talking to me about it in person. Who does that?? In the midst of trying to meet her deadline for her second book, she welcomed me into her home in Sacramento, and after teaching me everything I could ever hope to learn about blogging, authoring and photography, Erin sent me away with a shopping bag full of homemade food, including the cherry scones and zucchini soba salad that are in her brand-spanking-new book. As if that weren’t enough, a few days later I received a package in the mail. I opened the giant box and Erin had filled it to the brim with bags and bags of spices and tea, and a sweet card. I for one wouldn’t mind having Erin as a mom!
Erin, I owe you much more than a sandwich. But since the theme of this here virtual potluck is extra-quick meals, it’ll have to do. When I first read those words, I had a small panic attack. If I shared the recipe for my usual quick meal it would read: Open sushi container. Eat sushi. Or maybe: Heat tamale. Eat tamale. Poetic if not bloggable.
In actuality, I’m quite slow at everything I do, particularly when it comes to cooking. And eating. The sloth is my spirit animal.
My best shot was a taco that required roasting carrots, soaking and cooking chickpeas, pounding herbs and garlic in a mortar and pestle, and serving it on a hand-carved ice sculpture. (Ok, just kidding about the ice sculpture… but maybe handmade tortillas.) But Sarah, who is the master of the quick meal (and soon to be the doctor of it as she’s finishing her Phd this month!!!), helped me brainstorm, and these sandwiches emerged the clear and quick winners.
With the help of some early tomatoes, I fry up some tempeh bacon and layer it on toasted bread slathered with chipotle mayonnaise. I add kimchi (we’ve been loving this turmeric habanero kimchi), arugula sprouts, little gems and avocado. The kimchi and chipotle give them quite a kick, and the tempeh makes them hearty and satisfying. We’ve been nomming them all week.
When Jay took his first bite he said, “Why would anyone eat anything else, ever?” causing me to wonder why I bothered making things like hand-rolled pasta from freshly milled chickpeas, or crème brulée, but hey. My face was full of sandwich so I couldn’t really respond.
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Tempeh BLTs with kimchi, Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise
Feel free to make these sandwiches to your taste – the exact measurements will vary depending on the size of your bread. I prefer a pan bread with a bit of character from either sourdough or whole grains / seeds. We’ve been using oatmeal molasses bread from Marla and Josey Baker’s Wonderbread (as pictured here).
Makes 2 sandwiches
2-3 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise (such as Spectrum Olive Oil) or vegan mayonnaise
1-3 teaspoons chipotle puree
2 teaspoons sunflower oil (or other mild cooking oil)
6-8 strips tempeh bacon, halved crosswise
4 slices sturdy pan bread, toasted
1 medium-sized, ripe avocado, halved, pitted, removed from peel, sliced
1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
several thin slices of red onion
1/4 cup kimchi
two handfuls sprouts (such as arugula sprouts)
4 small lettuce leaves (such as little gems)
Make the mayonnaise:
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and chipotle puree. Cover and chill until needed.
Make the sandwiches:
Heat the oil in a wide skillet set over medium heat until it shimmers, then add the tempeh strips and fry on the first side until golden, 1-2 minutes. Flip and fry on the second side until golden, 1-2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Spread the chipotle mayonnaise in a thin coat on each of the four slices of toasted bread. Top two of the slices with the ingredients:
sliced red onion
Top with the remaining slices of bread and devour.