Have you ever tried zaatar with eggplant? If you have not tried this amazing combination, you do not know what you are missing out on. And once I heard about people making eggplant “bacon,” I couldn’t think of a better way to make it than Mediterranean-style with some olive oil and zaatar of course!
Although I may have never tried a “real” BLT before, I’m pretty sure they could not taste anywhere near as yummy as this one did! Also, the baked eggplant bacon combined with tahini instead of mayo, make this sandwich a much healthier alternative to the original BLT. I used a simple marinade so that the zaatar could really stand out. Maple syrup brings out the sweetness of the eggplant, and when combined smoked paprika, this eggplant bacon has the smoky-maple flavor of true bacon. The eggplant also crisps up beautifully in the oven.
Did I ever mention how much I love tahini on everything? Since going vegan, I only love tahini even more. Of course I had to use it liberally all over my sandwich. Juicy tomatoes, crunchy fresh Persian cucumbers, and creamy avocado were the perfect accompaniments to this Mediterranean-style BLT.
And since I was feeling extra fancy, I decided to top it all off with toasted walnuts, which give the sandwich a delightful crunch! Don’t forget to let me know if you try this ultimate Mediterranean-style vegan BLT out! It was truly the sandwich that my dreams are made of.
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce or Tamari
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (divided)
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp zaatar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 avocado
- 2 persian cucumbers (or one English cucumber)
- 4 slices of bread (I used 2 Focaccia rolls)
- ⅓ cup walnuts (optional)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise twice, so you have four long pieces. Slice eggplant pieces thinly, into ⅛ - ¼ inch strips. Lay eggplant slices on paper towel, sprinkle with sea salt, and press another paper towel on top. Leave for at least half an hour, to drain excess moisture from eggplant. Wipe off excess sea salt.
- Preheat oven to 375. Make a marinade by whisking tamari, smoked paprika, and only 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Put eggplant slices into a large freezer bag, pour marinade over, and shake to evenly coat all of the slices. Refrigerate the bag for at least half an hour, to allow eggplant to marinate.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place marinated eggplant slices onto sheet, making sure none overlap. You may need to use 2 sheets. Whisk one tbsp of maple syrup with the olive oil in a small bowl. Brush tops of eggplant slices with the olive oil mixture. Sprinkle ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon of zaatar over each slice, and press into the eggplant. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove eggplant slices from oven and flip each slice over, again making sure that none overlap on the baking sheet. Brush this side of the eggplant slices with the olive oil mixture, sprinkle zaatar and press it into each slice again. Return the baking sheet to the oven for 12-16 minutes. Time will depend on how thinly you sliced the eggplant, so keep an eye on the slices.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce. Whisk together lemon juice, tahini, salt, and water until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Once eggplant slices are crisp and browned on the edges, remove from the oven. Place walnuts in oven for 2-3 minutes to toast.
- Now it is time to assemble your zaatar-spiced eggplant bacon BLTs! Spread a generous amount of tahini on bottom slices of bread. Slice avocado, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Use half an avocado, one tomato, and one persian cucumber for each sandwich. Divide the eggplant bacon slices between the two sandwiches. Drizzle with a generous amount of tahini. Top with toasted walnuts and extra sprinkle of zaatar if desired.