Chef Linda
Linda Soper-Kolton, Chef, came to the Sanctuary as a guest chef to share her love of compassionate cooking in our then-fledgling culinary program. Lured by the magic of the Sanctuary, her love of animals and the urgency of our mission, Linda stayed on to lead and grow the culinary program, inspiring and educating with love, patience, and delicious food.
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Chef Sara
Sara Boan, Chef, joined the Sanctuary staff in 2016 and has been developing recipes and sharing her passion for vegan cooking ever since. She teaches award-winning year-round vegan cooking classes at The Homestead and leads food demos for weekend tour visitors in the spring, summer and fall. When she’s not teaching, Sara is most likely spending time with her partner, snuggling with her rescued kitties or enjoying a cup of freshly brewed oolong tea.
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Reconstructed & Deconstructed BLT

By Chef Linda

Years ago, my dad used to take me to this little diner near our home. I may have been young enough that I couldn't read or navigate the menu, so I remember that he always ordered for the same thing for me; a BLT and a Yoo-hoo.

In our home, and in those times, no one I knew ever discussed where our food came from or what it might have been before it was on our plate. I don't remember the "not wanting to know" syndrome; it was just an absolute disconnect – the animals and our food. In his youth, my dad was an athlete, and a boxer, and his livelihood was earned in a skilled trade through manual labor. Meat was almost mandatory, and back then when prices didn't reflect the cancer-like growth of massive-scale industrialized animal farming, it was expensive and treated almost like a delicacy in our home.

In college, I happened to read a PETA (people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) brochure that told the story of a downed cow and how she was too sick to walk to the slaughterhouse so the workers beat her, prodded her with electric poles and finally dragged her inside. Sick as she was, she made it into the food chain and onto someone's dinner table. At that moment, I made the connection between the meat on our family table, the bacon in my beloved BLT, and the animals who suffered so egregiously to end up there. Once you know something, you can never "unknow" it and as a result, my world changed.

Dad never understood what being vegan meant or why it mattered. For years, he and my mother called my lifestyle choice a "health-kick". We chose not to judge each other's choices, and when they visited, they always remarked how they loved the (vegan) meal I prepared for them and never once complained or asked where the meat was.

I never made my dad a vegan BLT, but I'm sure that if I did, he would have given it a chance and surely enjoyed it. This version however, that's been deconstructed by using a grilled head of Romaine as the base and the bread as croutons, with everything else smattered and sprinkled about, might just have blown his mind. Maybe I've taken the BLT too far, but I think it's a creative and tasty way to enjoy all the ingredients we love with just a little more pizzazz, and a lot more compassion. In this recipe, I used store-bought vegan bacon, but I recommend trying our Shiitake Bacon Crisps.

Ingredients

For the BLT
 1 head of Romain lettuce
 About a cup of cherry tomatoes or one large tomato, washed and cut
 Several slices of vegan bacon (I used Lightlife Smokey Tempeh Bacon)
 1 slices of good, hearty bread
 1 large clove of garlic, peeled
 Olive oil
 Quick Creamy Dressing (see below), or use your favorite dressing
For the Dressing
 ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
 Pinch salt
 Pinch sugar or a dash of maple syrup
 Fresh pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat your grill. Slice the head of Romain lettuce in half. Brush each half with oil and sprinkle with salt. With grill on “high”, place Romain halves, cut-side down on the grill. Grill for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves begin to char and wilt a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook bacon according to package directions. I carefully cooked mine on the grill, but use a frying pan on the stove if you prefer.

Grill bread on “high” heat. When nicely browned, remove from grill and rub with garlic clove. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Cool and cut bread into cubes.

To make Quick Creamy Dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Assemble by placing lettuce, cut-side up on a plate. Place tomatoes on top and around. Add croutons then crumble bacon into chunks and sprinkle on top. Drizzle dressing over everything and dig in!

Reconstructed & Deconstructed BLT

Reconstructed & Deconstructed BLT

DifficultyEasyCook Time10 mins
YIELDS
2

INGREDIENTS

For the BLT
 1 head of Romain lettuce
 About a cup of cherry tomatoes or one large tomato, washed and cut
 Several slices of vegan bacon (I used Lightlife Smokey Tempeh Bacon)
 1 slices of good, hearty bread
 1 large clove of garlic, peeled
 Olive oil
 Quick Creamy Dressing (see below), or use your favorite dressing
For the Dressing
 ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
 Pinch salt
 Pinch sugar or a dash of maple syrup
 Fresh pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your grill. Slice the head of Romain lettuce in half. Brush each half with oil and sprinkle with salt. With grill on “high”, place Romain halves, cut-side down on the grill. Grill for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves begin to char and wilt a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook bacon according to package directions. I carefully cooked mine on the grill, but use a frying pan on the stove if you prefer.

Grill bread on “high” heat. When nicely browned, remove from grill and rub with garlic clove. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little coarse salt. Cool and cut bread into cubes.

To make Quick Creamy Dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.

Assemble by placing lettuce, cut-side up on a plate. Place tomatoes on top and around. Add croutons then crumble bacon into chunks and sprinkle on top. Drizzle dressing over everything and dig in!

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