Vegan BLT

My very vegan BLT is a toothsome, wholesome treat that is just as tasty and nowhere near as fat- and animal-loaded as the original thing. Even better, it has an Indian spice twist.

I did not want to try to replicate here the exact tastes of bacon,  tomato, and mayonnaise, which are of course the building blocks of a typical BLT. (If I want that, I can always slap on some tofu bacon, vegan mayo, lettuce and tomato on a bun.) Instead, I wanted to infuse the wonderful flavors of the fading summer into my version  (which is a BLTT, really).

So into my sandwich went some maddeningly fragrant Basil chutney, ginger-garlic marinated and baked Tofu, green Tomatoes, and good old Lettuce. I went one step further to make it healthier by cradling it all in a whole-wheat, homemade, pillowy hamburger bun (recipe to come).

This has been a tough and rough week for me, so this is going to be a super-short post. We lost our angelic cat, Pubm, to cancer this past Wednesday. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know –from my posts and from Desi’s pictures of her– just how wonderful she was and how much she meant to us. We feel lucky to have had her in our lives, and we are glad she went in the home she loved so much, by her dad who loves her with all his heart.

Many thanks to all the readers and friends who wrote in with their best wishes and prayers for her.

Vegan BLT (Basil, Lettuce, Tofu and Green Tomato) Sandwich

Ingredients:

For the Basil Chutney:

1 cup basil leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

1 jalapeno or other green chili (I used half a habanero for the wonderful flavor).

1 clove garlic

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and process to a fine paste. Add water if it’s too thick.

For the Tofu:

1 block of extra firm tofu. Press our all the water you can by swaddling it in a paper napkin or cheescloth, then placing it in a strainer with a weight on it, like a saucepan. Leave it alone for at least 2 hours or longer, for most of the water to strain out. Slice horizontally to get three slices, and then halve each slice to get six slices.

1 tbsp ginger juice (Grate ginger, place in a strainer, and press out the juice)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

Mix the ginger juice, garlic, turmeric and salt in a deep dish. Place the tofu slices in the marinade, turn over, and let them sit there for at least 30 minutes.

Spray oil in a baking dish. Place the tofu slices, a few centimeters apart, in it and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for at least 30 minutes or until the tofu feels firm on the outside.

For the Indian-spiced Green Tomatoes:

1 large green tomato. Slice it in 1/4-inch-thick rings (you should have about six. If you are using bigger or smaller tomatoes, use less or more)

1/2 cup garbanzo bean or chickpea flour (besan)

1/4 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

1/2 tsp red chilli powder, like cayenne or, for less heat, paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric

Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients, except the tomatoes, and add enough water to make a pancake-consistency batter.

Heat a nonstick or cast-iron griddle. Spray with some oil.

Dip each tomato slice into the batter, coat evenly on both sides, and cook on the griddle until each side turns golden-brown.

To assemble the sandwich:

Slit six whole-wheat buns down the middle. Slather each side with the basil chutney.

Layer on the tofu, tomato and lettuce.

Eat.

For a just-as-delicious variation, try using my Fried Green Tomatoes instead of the Indian-spiced green tomatoes.
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This is one of my favorite pictures of Pubm– she loved to nap on the newspaper. And she had good taste: it usually was the New York Times! :)

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.