When I first became vegan about three years ago I steered clear of recipes that tried to mimic animal products. I was so against trying to create the taste, texture and sensation of animal products as I thought a vegan diet should be full of whole foods that are nutritious and can speak for themselves. But over the last year or so I have been more inclined to try things like the Beyond Meat burgers and Linda McCarthy vegan sausages, and I have been pleasantly satisfied. I think these types of foods should be treated as vegan junk food as they are full of preservatives and not the healthiest ingredients.
This vegan bacon however is a happy medium of nutritious whole foods and vegan fast food. Tofu is the base which is made my pressing soy bean curds together to form blocks. It is not the most unrefined but it is better than using the processed vegan fast foods that you get at the supermarket.
It is vital that you press the tofu to release and remove as much moisture as possible, this enables the tofu to absorb maximum amount of marinade and become crispy and chewy in texture. The marinade is full of delicious flavours, sticky sweetness from the maple syrup and BBQ sauce, smokiness from the liquid smoke and smoked paprika and saltiness from the miso and soy sauce.
The combination of pillowy seeded bread, creamy mayo, buttery romaine, sweet fresh tomatoes and the salty chewy bacon is just to die for.
1 HOUR 20 MINUTES. MAKES 5 OPEN FACED SANDWICHES
1 block extra firm tofu
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp miso paste
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs liquid smoke
1 tbs BBQ sauce
5 slices of toasted sour dough
5 tbs vegan mayo
bunch of roamine
1 large beef tomato
Firstly pre heat the oven to 230C/450F. Slice the block of extra firm tofu into 5 slices. Lay these slices out on a tea towel and cover with the other half of the towel. Place a chopping board on top and then place a heavy skillet or sauce pan on top to weigh the board down. Leave to remove moisture for 30 minutes.
Prepare the marinade. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow bowl or deep plate. When the tofu has been pressed, coat each piece of tofu generously and place on a lined baking sheet with baking paper. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Flip the tofu half way. Remove from oven after the 40 minutes and leave cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sandwiches.
Toast the bread. Spread a generous serving of mayo on each slice. Lay the romaine and two slices of beef tomato on each slice of bread. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Slice the tofu in to pieces at an angle. Place the pieces of one slab of tofu on each piece of bread. Top with shaved cucumber, heap hearts and another generous seasoning of salt and pepper.