Ahh, back to school time!
I found myself staring at a sea of notebooks, binders and highlighters the other day while in the drug store, and I’m 25. No classes starting for me… yet I was mesmerized by all the new school supplies.
I think there is something about this time of year that gets us “gearing up” to go back to school, or maybe back to reality because summer is coming to an end and fall festivities are on the way. (NOOO say it ain’t so!)
I love when it is about to transition to fall. I notice I get more organized and value schedules and order a bit more compared to the season of long summer nights. I start to get in routines with my work, my fitness routines, and my meal planning and prepping. I’m more of a homebody in the fall and winter months, and spend more time cooking and preparing meals rather than eating out.
Working from home, I love that I have the ability to take a break from my computer, and make a delicious lunch rather than eat something out of Tupperware at my corporate desk. I use this afternoon brain break as a way to refuel (literally), and typically chop up a fresh salad, or make myself a sandwich. I tryyyy, to eat lunch without my computer or phone. Emphasis on TRY. 🙂
Which brings me to today’s recipe – a VEGAN Eggplant Bacon BLT. I partnered with Ozery Bakery to celebrate not only National Sandwich Month, but Back to School and got in the kitchen to perfect this creative take on a classic BLT.
To make a mean sandwich you need the following:
amazing bread – more on Ozery Bakery’s options below)
a spread or sauce – Cause, WHO WANTS A DRY BORING SANDWICH?!?)
crunch – amazing what a difference a crispy lettuce leaf can make
plus flavorful fillings, in this case, eggplant bacon.
What’s Ozery Bakery?
Ozery Bakery is the brand behind my latest bread obsession, and it’s a family owned business that started as a sandwich shop over 20 years ago and is now sold throughout the US. I pick mine up at Whole Foods! While Ozery Bakery products aren’t gluten-free (I’m not 100 percent and firm believer in balance), they are non-GMO and contain no preservatives. They don’t add ingredients for color, extend shelf-life etc. For that reason, they’re best kept in the freezer or refrigerator for freshness, and until ready to use. They contain REAL food.
I like their rounds, The One Buns, are the best – no crust! I’ve always been like a picky 5 year old when it comes to crust, no thanks! I got a chance to try a couple of
I love the Organic Pre-Sliced One Buns best, because I like to eat as Organic as possible, but the multi-grain and flax are great as well.
I like that all of the One Bun products were super thin. Less bread means more sandwich flavor.
This is where things get interesting. When going vegetarian or vegan, it’s tough to imagine a substitute for the salty sweet taste of bacon, but it’s amazing what a little creativity and liquid smoke can do.
In the spirit of back to school, I wanted to make a sandwich that was a healthier take on a classic comforting lunchtime combo. Tomato are still ripe and delicious, and kids love bacon… perfect.
By combining paprika, maple and a hint of liquid smoke, the eggplant takes on the salty sweet flavor bacon lovers adore. Pan frying the pieces in oil brings that crispy-ness, but if you’d prefer not to fry, you can try baking them!
- 1 Japanese eggplant OR 2 baby eggplants (large eggplants do not create thin slices)
- 1 tablespoon Tamara or liquid aminos
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-4 Ozery Bakery One Bun Organic Rounds
- 4-8 slices of eggplant bacon
- fresh tomato, sliced
- lettuce, tuscan kale, or arugula
- vegan mayo
- First slice the eggplant by trimming the stem from the eggplant and using a vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips of eggplant by peeling vertically. Toss any pieces that are very seedy, or contain the peel of the eggplant. Next lay the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Combine the tamari, smoked paprika, maple syrup, and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Brush the eggplant slices on one side with the mixture, flip, and brush the other side. Next heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 3-4 strips of bacon at a time, and fry until crispy.
- Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined baking sheet and continue until all pieces are fried. Assemble BLT immediately, while hot!
- Toast the Ozery Bakery One Bun, spread some vegan mayo on each side and top with tomato, lettuce or arugula and eggplant bacon!
To learn more about Ozery Bakery’s Products, head here. Or, be sure to follow them on Social – Instagram and Facebook.
This post was sponsored by Ozery Bakery, but as always, opinions are my own.