Makes 6 servings
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1⁄2 scant teaspoon sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 1⁄2 Tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos
1⁄2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 cups large-flaked, unsweetened coconut
Lettuce, for serving
Whole wheat bread, sliced
Egg-free mayonnaise, for serving
In this vegetarian version of a BLT sandwich, from mom Dreena Burton’s new book, Plant-Powered Families, coconut flakes are transformed using the smoky-sweet flavors associated with bacon.
A Note on Liquid Smoke
While this is not an ingredient you may use often, it has a unique flavor and is a worthwhile addition to your pantry. You can find it in many grocery stores and specialty health food stores. It’s not a chemical product—it’s made by condensing vapors from the smoke of smoldering wood chips.
1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the coconut sugar, paprika, sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper, tamari, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Add the coconut and stir until all the marinade is absorbed and the coconut is fully coated.
2. Spread on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30–32 minutes, tossing once about halfway through baking and checking for doneness at about 27–28 minutes. The coconut can turn from just perfectly cooked (a dark pinkish brown color) to burned (dark brown, with a bitter flavor) in just a few minutes, so don’t overbake! Remove, and let cool. The flakes will continue to dry and crisp when they’re out of the oven.
3. Once completely cool, assemble your BLT sandwiches by layering the coconut, tomato, and lettuce on bread with a little mayonnaise.