This vegetarian Eggplant BLT is one of my favorite sandwiches to make for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Harissa mayo adds a little extra spicy kick!
I love a good sandwich. Don't you?
Most people think of the traditional meat and cheese combination, but vegetarian sandwiches happen to be my favorite.
Whether it's a creamy cranberry chickpea salad, roasted beets with sliced apples, or classic veggies and hummus, you really can't go wrong any time you stuff a few ingredients between two slices of freshly baked bread.
Lately, I've been loving this vegetarian take on a BLT sandwich for lunch or an easy, 30-minute weeknight dinner. It's similar to the classic in that it's composed of something crunchy alongside lettuce, tomato, and creamy mayo.
That something crunchy, in this case, is crispy, panko-crusted eggplant. Not exactly bacon, I know, but the crunchy/creamy combo of this vegetarian eggplant BLT is equally as delicious as the original, so I'm sticking with it.
In addition to the crispy eggplant "bacon," I also took some liberties with the mayonnaise. Mostly since my favorite eggplant recipes come with a little Mediterranean flair.
Moroccan-inspired harissa is a no-brainer.
What is Harissa?
Harissa is a hot chile pepper paste originally from North Africa.
Crispy eggplant plus spicy harissa mayo really take things up a notch (or three). Who says you need meat and cheese to make a good sandwich, anyway?
The first step for making this sandwich is to prepare the eggplant.
The process is similar to the One-Pan Crispy Eggplant Caprese I shared a few posts back.
- First, make the breading. Mix panko breadcrumbs, flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Put your beaten eggs (or flax eggs if you're making this vegan) in another bowl next to the breading. Both bowls should be wide enough to fit the largest slice of eggplant so you can dip the pieces until they're fully coated.
- Next, heat grapeseed oil (or another cooking oil) in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Dip a piece of eggplant in the egg (or flax egg), and then immediately dip it in the breading mixture until it's fully coated. Transfer it to the skillet and cook a few minutes on each side, or until the eggplant is brown and crispy.
- After you cook the eggplant pieces, transfer them to a towel-lined plate to prevent them from getting soggy until you're ready to serve.
Once the crispy eggplant is cooked, it's time to assemble the sandwiches.
- First, make the harissa mayo. Stir mayonnaise (regular or vegan) and harissa paste together in a small bowl.
- Spread the mayo on one side of each piece of bread.
- Add lettuce, cooked eggplant, tomato, and sprouts on half of the bread slices, and then top it off with the other pieces (mayo side down) to finish it off.
Can you make this recipe vegan?
This recipe is already vegetarian, but it's really easy to make it vegan, too. Just use flax eggs for dredging the eggplant and opt for vegan mayonnaise.
(Most bread is naturally vegan, but double-check that to be sure, too.)
How to make flax eggs:
To make a flax egg: whisk 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons water. Wait five minutes, or until the consistency is similar to a beaten egg.
Can you make this recipe ahead of time?
I love a good make-ahead recipe, but this, unfortunately, isn't one of them.
I like to eat the eggplant while it's still hot and crispy from cooking.
If you're looking for a good vegetarian sandwich you can prep in advance, I recommend this one!
Looking for more? You might also like these vegetarian eggplant recipes:
Crispy Eggplant BLT with Harissa Mayo
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten (or flax eggs, see note)
- Grapeseed oil to coat pan
- 1 small eggplant, sliced into ¼-inch pieces
- ½ cup mayonnaise (regular or vegan)
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 8 slices bread, toasted if desired
- 1 cup lettuce
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- ½ cup sprouts (optional)
Prepare crispy eggplant:
- Stir panko breadcrumbs, whole wheat flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place another bowl with the beaten eggs (or flax eggs) next to the breadcrumb mixture. Both bowls should be wide enough to fit the largest slice of eggplant.
- Heat grapeseed oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dip a piece of eggplant in the egg (or flax egg), and then dip in the breadcrumb mixture until fully coated. Transfer to the skillet and cook 3 minutes, or until the bottom turns brown. Flip and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until both sides are brown and crispy. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, cooking in batches to allow space between each piece in the skillet.
- Once cooked, transfer eggplant to a towel-lined plate until ready to serve.
- Stir mayonnaise and harissa paste and spread on one side of each piece of bread. Add lettuce, cooked eggplant, tomato, and sprouts (if using) on top of four of the slices. Place remaining slices of bread on top with the mayonnaise facing down. Slice in half if desired.
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