Tempeh BLTs with Kimchi, Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise {vegan option}

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.

If quick meals aren’t your thing, fell free to make your own tempeh bacon, mayonnaise, or heck, you can even make your own bread if you want your food extra-slow (I’d go with this, this or this).

Many thanks to Melissa and Ashley for hosting this virtual potluck! Check out the other yummies from the rest of the blogosphere below and at #SHOWERFORERIN:

The Fauxmartha | A Pasta Dish for Busy Hands
A Couple Cooks | Breakfast Parfait with Roasted Strawberries
Edible Perspective | Avocado Chickpea Pesto Salad Sandwiches
Eat This Poem | Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
Cookie and Kate | Brussels Sprouts Pizza
FoodieCrush | Beet, Avocado and Fried Goat Cheese Salad
Girl Versus Dough | Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
Dolly and Oatmeal | Chickpea Bean Bowl with Toasted Breadcrumbs + Dill
Food Loves Writing | Erin’s Veggie Burgers
With Food + Love | Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets
London Bakes | Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Pistachio Pesto
Flourishing Foodie | Glazed Tofu with Miso Ramen
This Homemade Life | Greek Chickpea Salad
My Name is Yeh | Creamed Spinach
Brooklyn Supper | One Pot Pasta Primavera

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, or Twitter. Subscribe to receive new posts via email, or become a sponsor.

Sexy Sandwiches:
Green Goddess Sandwiches
Toasted Pan Bagnat with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Arugula
Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches {vegan, raw, and gluten-free}

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

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
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:
tempeh bacon
sliced avocado
sliced tomato
sliced red onion

Top with the remaining slices of bread and devour.

50 thoughts on “Tempeh BLTs with Kimchi, Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise {vegan option}”

  1. Alana! Love love love a good tempeh sando. Would so love to whip this up on the spot! I also lol'd several times as I was reading this—particularly regarding the hand carved ice sculpture. I'm so with you, my friend. I grew up on Maui, the queen abode of slow living. When I transitioned to college on the east coast, I had to majorly change my lifestyle speed. I think I would be steamrolled in a restaurant kitchen—bring my handmade tortillas and ice sculptures any day! I'll be chipping away at it right there with you : ).

    1. Awwww! I'm so glad to meet a like-minded blogger, Lily. What am I doing in San Francisco? Get me to Hawaii!! (Speaking of which, I'm making haupia as we speak! Obviously fate!) Let's share a tempeh sando someday soon and see who can eat it more slowly. ;)

  2. You are so, so sweet and it's hard to believe it's only been a year since you emailed (it feels like we've been friends for so much longer!) And to tell you the truth, I think my meals post babe are going to be more like your normal quick meals but slightly adapted: send Mike for sushi, open sushi, eat sushi ;)

    I've been all about sandwiches recently and I truly think there is nothing better than a hearty veg sandwich (I'm also a lover of all things chipotle, so this really does sound like the perfect meal!)

    1. I'll have to try your adaptation sometime – genius! I know, I can't believe how the year has flown by. I'm so excited for the next phase, Erin! Sending you giant and gentle hugs from SF. xoxo

  3. Alanna, this is such a beautiful tribute to your friend. Both you and Erin are such incredible inspirations for me and so is this sandwich!! Total perfection.

  4. Alanna, I too have gotten sweet, generous {free} advice from Erin. She is one of the greats, isn't she?! This sandwich is really beautiful, the lighting hitting the sprouts – wow you are so talented my friend. All the love to you, xo!

  5. Such a sweet thing to do for a friend, and what an amazing friend she sounds like too! This sandwich will be welcome in our house for sure (perhaps with non-tempeh bacon for the Mr) as our usual 'quick food' is sushi or toast with avocado…(our family emblem is the sloth I'm sure…). Thanks for sharing Alanna and congratulations to Erin!

    1. Yes! Avocado toast is our other favorite "recipe" ;) . Hip hip for the sloths! Glad we're not alone in this fast-paced world. Mmm, I bet this would be killer with bacon bacon.

  6. Your story about Erin absolutely typifies everything I know about her. This is going to be one lucky baby boy. I'm loving this sandwich too – so many delicious flavours in one delicious bite!

  7. This is so lovely and Erin sounds like a total gem! I'm totally with you on being slow in the kitchen … it sometimes actually shocks me when I make something new that comes together quickly and I am teased to no end by my sisters when I invite them to dinner (will we eat before 10?!) hahah But honestly, sometimes a big hearty veggie sandwich is the best thing and yours looks amazing!

  8. I'm always looking for new and improved ways of eating tempeh! I love tofu, but have never fully experimented enough with tempeh. This sandwich looks so hearty, and your photographs always blow me away!!!

  9. What a sweet story of how you two met… and now this?! This sandwich! Nourishing, hearty and texture rich. That chipotle mayo, oh my!! I've not tried fakin bacon, but am certainly going to seek it out, now. I think I'll put it all on some slow multigrain too. Fabulous post, Alanna. All of it!

  10. Love this! I personally am addicted to that tempeh bacon (how do they make it soooo good?) and make BLTs non-stop for lunch in the summer with it but mine are pretty basic – can't wait to get fancy and try adding in kimchi and avocado!

    1. Ah, Thanks Shelly! I know, it's so tasty! It keeps reminding me of that smoked gouda with the dark rind. I would eat it all the time as a kid. They both have that smoky taste and dense texture. Yum!

  11. Oh goodness this sandwich is shmexy, Alanna! I think I've tried something LIKE chipotle mayo before and it was gooooood…and I'm not even a fan of mayo :P And I don't "know" Erin, but I'm so touched by the way she carries herself through your sweet anecdote! People like that are so precious in this crazy world.

    1. Ahhhh, shmank you Ellie! I just read this funny article on why people hate mayo, so interesting! Erin is amazing and I hope you get to meet her someday. :)

  12. This sandwich was off the charts incredible. Made it for lunch today, and all 6 of my kids and my husband gobbled it all right up. Wow, this will be on repeat here. Thank you for this bomb.com recipe.

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