Cookbook Review: The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches | Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich Recipe

by Stephanie Weaver on August 1, 2011

Tempeh Bacon Lettuce Tomato SandwichTempeh strips marinated in a sweet and smoky sauce turn into a meaty substitute for candied bacon, perfect for a summer BLT with basil mayo.

In 1980 I was attending Parsons School of Design in New York. My friend Raul Martinez and I both had an evening language class at the New School. My challenge was to get us dinner for a dollar. I would pick up two day-old kaiser rolls and enough potato salad or coleslaw to round out that dollar. Dinner was potato salad sandwiches or coleslaw sandwiches.

chowmein sandwich

Chow mein sandwich. Photo by Matt Armendariz & Quirk Books. Used with permission.

Paging through Susan Russo’s The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches I came upon a “recipe” for a chow mein sandwich, and was transported back to NYC and dinner with Raul. While I wouldn’t recommend any of those three sandwiches from a nutrition perspective, I can recommend this book. Susan writes Food Blogga, one of the first food blogs I started reading. Her newest little book is as petite, charming, and informative as she is.

Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

Photo by Matt Armendariz & Quirk Books. Used with permission.

I make fewer sandwiches since going gluten-free, so it was fun to get new ideas from reading through the book. While our GF bread options are more limited, moms or dads will enjoy seeing how many variations of sandwiches they can make to brighten up a lunch box.

The book is packed with fun facts, original recipes and classic regional recipes about this most portable of foods. History, local lore, and lots of ideas for pairing ingredients made this book fun to read, and I loved the alphabetical layout. Gorgeous pix by photographer Matt Armendariz, food styling by Adam Pearson, and design by Jenny Kraemer make this an excellent reference book for food bloggers as well. WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK! See below for details.

The renovation: I started with a tempeh bacon recipe from Chef Wes at Blossoming Lotus restaurant in Portland, and have adapted it to make it smokier and more candied. Use the best summer tomatoes you can get, like a beefy heirloom tomato, soft and crisp butter lettuce, and your favorite mayo. I used Udi’s GF bread for this sandwich, as I like the floury crust that reminds me of ciabatta bread.

TBLT Sandwiches
Makes one sandwich

2 slices Udi’s GF multigrain bread
2 slices tomato
1-2 butter lettuce leaves
3 slices tempeh bacon (recipe below)
1-2 T. mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
1-2 basil leaves

Finely mince the basil and mix it with the mayo. Slice the tomato thickly and remove the seeds and goo from the slices. For a non-soggy sandwich, pat the slices dry with a clean kitchen towel. Toast the bread. Spread each slice with mayo, then build your sandwich. You can add a couple of slices of ripe avocado if you have them, just dial back on the mayo.

Tempeh Bacon

4 servings

8 oz (225 g) tempeh
2 T. (30 ml) olive oil
2 T. (30 ml) wheat-free tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos
2 T. (30 ml) maple syrup
1 t. (2 g) smoked paprika*
½ t. (1 g) smoked salt*
½ t. (2 g) smoky mesquite spice blend*
1 t. (2 g) sage leaves
1/4 t. liquid smoke, optional
freshly ground black pepper

Finely mince the sage leaves (or use ½ t. dried sage).

Mix all the ingredients except the tempeh in a large lidded container until smooth.

Slice the tempeh: Cut the block in half across its length. Slice into long strips about ⅓ inch wide (8 mm).

Add the tempeh to the marinade, mix well, then refrigerate at least an hour; overnight is best.

Heat a heavy non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray, then add the tempeh strips. They should sizzle a little when you add them. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip over. Add reserved marinade as needed to create a smoky, candied-style bacon replacement.

Notes: I have really been liking these three *smoky spices from Spice Islands, which were provided to me by the company. I was not paid for writing this post.

Here’s how the giveaway works:
I can only ship to U.S. addresses. You need to leave a comment on this post—with your email address—at the bottom to enter. To earn up to three additional entries, do the following:

Tweet this (or a version of it), then leave another comment saying you tweeted it:
I just entered to win a copy of Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by @FoodBlogga, hosted by @reciperenovator. You can too! http://bit.ly/oN3hVB

Follow my Facebook page, then leave a comment here stating you did so.

Follow FoodBlogga, then leave a comment here stating you did so.

Comments will close at midnight Pacific time on Friday, August 12th. I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winners. Once I’ve chosen the winners, I will contact you by email to get your address, and then ship you your prize. Good luck and thanks so much for reading! Thanks to Quirk Books for providing the books.

P.S. If you happen to know Raul Martinez, a graphic designer with a charming Cuban accent who loves vintage clothes and Akira Kurasawa movies, tell him he owes me a sandwich. :)

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