Save a pig. Eat a soybean. The slogan still needs work. Luckily, the tofu does not.
This idea is inspired by the site 101 Cookbooks. The original recipe was for a “TLT,” a take on the beloved classic BLT. It featured tempeh though, which try as I might, I just cannot endorse. Tempeh and I are not friendly. So I have been making the sandwich with tofu ever since.
The thin strips soak in a marinade that is meant to recall an essence of bacon. If you really want a BLT, you had better use swine. But the liquid, which is smoky and a little spicy from the chipotle, sweet from the maple, and salty from the tamari, can easily hold its own.
If you welcome the TLT as a singular entity, it makes a wonderful vegetarian-friendly counterpoint, employing the usual sidekicks: lettuce, tomato, and mayo. The sandwich itself is not far off from the soy BLT MIT-based Clover Food Lab sells. Their mantra being, local fast food done a la vegetarian.
So, perhaps, save a BLT. Eat a TLT. It is not meant as a substitute for the adored piggy classic. But it makes a t.asty l.ittle t.ofu sandwich all its own.
Inspired by 101 Cookbooks
- 1½ tbsp olive oil (plus more for the pan)
- ¼ cup tamari (soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
- 4 to 5 tbsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers)
- about 14 ounces firm or extra firm tofu (1 block)
In a rectangular baking dish, mix together the oil, tamari, vinegar, brown sugar (or maple) and adobo sauce. (Use less adobo if you don't like spice.)
Slice the tofu into 4 or 5 rectangular slabs and then slice each slab into 3 pieces lengthwise, so you get long strips.
Lay the strips into the baking dish with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the fridge, ideally overnight.
Heat a medium sauté pan on medium to medium-high heat and add a glug of oil to the pan. Add half the tofu (or all of it, depending on the size of your pan) and half the marinade to the hot pan.
Cook the tofu for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the tofu starts to gather color on its underside.
Flip the tofu and cook until fairly firm to the touch (about 10 minutes in total). If the tofu starts to burn, turn the heat down. Wipe down the pan and repeat the process, if cooking in two batches.
Makes 12 to 15 strips
- I don’t need to tell you, you know how to make a BLT. Use your favorite bread with tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Sometimes I put a little lemon zest in the mayo. I like the TLT either on a brioche bun or in a pita.
- 21st Century Tofu and Chang Shing Tofu are two local brands.
- The sauce has a tendency to burn on you, so be sure to watch it and turn down the heat (or add a little more sauce to the pan) if needed.
- I like tamari, which is typically made solely from soybeans, so that is the sauce I stock.