Vegan BLT Salad: An Easy-To-Make Savory Salad For Summer BBQs
"Coconut bacon, lettuce, and tomato!" Yep, sing it with me!
This is a plant-based version of the classic BLT sandwich, except that this is a salad. I've blown up the crispy fresh lettuce part of the BLT while exchanging the bread for toasted spelt, which becomes deliciously chewy croutons here.
You can use other whole grains, and it's an excellent way to avoid waste, toasting day- or two-day-old cooked grains to add a filling substance and extra texture to salads.
The "bacon" is made using a fancy vegan trick: using smoked paprika and maple syrup for a sweet and savory taste. It's not like meaty bacon, but it has its own merits, adding a crispy salt and savory smokiness. I've added liquid smoke as an option, but the smoked paprika adds the flavor, too.
This salad is full of contrasts and textures. Drizzle it with the creamy lemon mayo for salad perfection.
Coconut BLT Salad
For the salad
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 150 g cooked spelt or other whole grain
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 little gem lettuces or 1 small romaine lettuce, leaves separated, tough root parts removed
- 250 g good-quality tomatoes, sliced or chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 2 avocados, peeled, halved, and stoned
- 100 g Smoky Coconut Bacon (see below)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the creamy lemon and black pepper dressing:
- 5½ tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons plant-based natural yogurt
- 50 ml (2 fl. oz.) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
- 50 ml (2 fl. oz.) olive oil
Note: To make gluten-free, use a gluten-free grain, such as quinoa or buckwheat.
- Heat up a frying pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Toast the grains for 1 to 2 minutes in the oil while stirring. Sprinkle with the salt.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients together, pouring in the oil last and slowly, while whisking or blending, to emulsify the liquids.
- Roughly chop the lettuces and arrange in a bowl with the tomatoes and chives and drizzle with half of the dressing. Dice the avocados, then add to the bowl with the toasted spelt and toss gently.
- Serve in individual bowls, topped with the smoky coconut bacon and drizzled with more dressing. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Tip: You can use chopped salted toasted nuts to replace the coconut bacon.
Smoky Coconut Bacon
Makes about 150 g
- 2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup or agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 120 g (4¼ oz.) large dried coconut flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Mix all the ingredients except the coconut flakes in a bowl. Add the coconut flakes and toss them in the mixture to coat thoroughly.
- Distribute the flakes evenly on the lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning and stirring every 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the flakes to ensure they don't burn.
- When the flakes are golden and crispy, they're done. Leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7 to 8 days.
Nina Olsson is the multifaceted creative and veggie-centric cook behind the blog and instagram Nourish Atelier. She is also the author of four cookbooks: Bowls Of Goodness, Veggie Burger Atelier, Feasts of Veg, and Bowls of Goodness: Grains Greens. She is based in Amsterdam.