And yes, a BALT is a BLT with avo. And it should totally not be optional.
I mean, bacon is bacon…it comes from a pig…it’s bacon. And to be honest, I think it’s a little overhyped.
Now, I liked bacon as a kid… well because we did not have pork in our house, it was mostly turkey bacon. But I always looked forward to summertime, when the tomatoes from our garden are so juicy, they are about to burst. That meant my mom popping out BLT sandwiches like it was no one’s business. We would bake bacon in the oven (the crisp factor is INSANE), and make sandwiches of the juicy tomato, bacon, lettuce, and real deal mayonaise.
I do not think there is anything better in summertime. Maybe ice cream. MAYBE.
The one thing I have missed since going vegetarian is those summer BLTs. As I have mentioned on here time and again, while I have chosen to be a vegetarian, my body now has a visceral reaction to eating meat. I don’t miss it, but there are just some times when it would be easier and more efficient to eat the DAMN CHICKEN. I’ll explain. Chicken is the normal protein option at most restaurants yet it costs the same. And, as an early twenty-something living in DC, it would just be nice to have a protein option that is not raw tofu.
Oohh the chills.
When I take a bite of chicken or beef, I gag. I can’t help it! I have TRIED so hard to eat bacon, but the texture weirds me out. Now, I have been lucky to find some delicious tomato summer sandwich alternatives. Love and Lemons has an incredible Bean-LT (the pun makes me giggle). Also, nothing beats just a plain old piece of tomato on sourdough with plenty of mayo. However, my body, despite having the gagging reflex, wanting something smokey on that bread. It CRAVED it. And I had to figure something out.
Enter coconut. Yes, you heard me right. Coconut.
I know what you are thinking. How can coconut taste like bacon? Well, I will be the first to tell you that, unfortunately, I am not a flavor magician. I did not magically transform coconut into a sizzly piece of bacon…but, y’all, its still INCREDIBLE. Personally, I would eat this salty, sweet and slightly smoky coconut over real bacon any day, but I have never been one of those crazed bacon lovers like some people. My friend Emma’s instagram handle has bacon in it and could eat it on the daily. I think that’s why we are such good friends. I eat her veggies. And she eats my meat. It is like we were made for each other.
Anyways, this salad is such a great summer send off, especially as we are winding down peach and tomato season (cue the tears!). Most of the coconut bacon recipes I have found on the interwebs use liquid smoke. Now, I do not think it makes sense to buy a whole bottle of liquid smoke just for this recipe. What else do you use liquid smoke for, anyways. I find that just dumping a bunch of smoked paprika and smoked sea salt (if you have it) makes for a delicious flavor explosion. I then make this mustardy lemony tahini salad dressing, which I think makes a better flavor combo than a mayonaise based dressing. I then serve it with sliced necatrines, avocado, and even some pickled red onions? I love this salad for breakfast or lunch with a side of toast and maybe an egg, if you want a little protein punch. But, like with any BLT, let the tomatoes do the topping.
20 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 4 cups large flaked coconut
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or coconut aminos/tamari if GF)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard (I like using Trader Joe's brand)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups mixed greens (spring mix/arugula/butter lettuce/chopped romaine)
- 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 peach, thinly sliced (optional, but DELISH!)
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
- 4 eggs, cooked to your liking (also optional, but YUM)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together avocado oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, paprika, sea salt, and pepper. Add coconut flakes and toss to combine, making sure not to break up the flakes too much. Arrange on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, lightly stirring the coconut halfway through. The bacon should be deep brown and lightly crispy on the edges. If it does not seem crispy now, it will crisp as It cools.
While the coconut bacon is baking (hehe get it?) make the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until blended. If you do not have a food processor, make sure the green onion is very thinly sliced before blending.
To make the salad, portion the salad greens into bowls. Arrange sliced cherry tomatoes, coconut bacon, avocado, sliced peach, and egg, if using. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. EAT.
Tomatoes…talk dirty to me.