This flavorful vegan panini cooks up crisp and chewy served on a crusty bun, with chipotle mayo, vegan cheese, and vegan bacon for a tasty satisfying vegan BLT sandwich that is easy to make using your panini grill, skillet, or griddle.
Sometimes I really get the craving for a good vegan sandwich! You know, the one with layers of flavor and texture all wrapped up between two glorious bookends of satisfying, carby, comforting bread…am I right? This BLT vegan panini does just that!
Reasons you’ll love this insanely delicious vegan panini
- Crusty toasty bread on the outside with all the flavors of a BLT on the inside!
- You get to decide if you want to buy vegan bacon or make your own.
- Unique and delicious flavor profile with the chipotle mayo.
- Can make the veggie sandwich with your choice of bun or whole grain bread.
- Make with a panini press, griddle, or on the stovetop with a skillet.
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Ingredients needed to make the best BLT vegan panini
- 6 slices of vegan bacon – Today I used Lite Life Tempeh bacon. See below for some other vegan bacon options.
- tomato – You will just need one or two slices per sandwich depending on the size of your tomato.
- red onion – You will be thinly slicing the onion and will only use a little bit depending on your taste preferences.
- chipotle mayonnaise – I have not found vegan chipotle mayo at the grocery store. I think a little heat from the chipotle flavor adds to the deliciousness factor of this sandwich. You can use regular vegan mayo if you prefer. Also, see below for recipe suggestions for chipotle mayo.
- baby spinach – You will be using one or two handfuls for personal preference.
- vegan cheese slices – Use your favorite vegan cheese slice, or leave it out if you do not like vegan cheese. I prefer provolone flavor when I can find it, or vegan mozzarella. They each lend a different flavor and tang to your sandwich. Mozzarella is maybe a little bit more mild-flavored than provolone.
- 2 ciabatta buns or a similar bun- Just check the ingredients for vegan compliance. My grocery store always offers several different types that work well. Or, you could always make your BLT on whole grain bread or other bread of choice. You need to use a sturdy piece of bread though so that it doesn’t fall apart. Also, if you use bread instead of a bun, it would be more of a BTL grilled cheese sandwich – which also sounds yummy!
- avocado slices – Thinly slice one-half of the avocado for both sandwiches -which equates to one-fourth of an avocado per sandwich. If your avocado is particularly small then use more of it.
- cooking spray or optional vegan butter, or olive oil if your pan is not non-stick – or if you just want the flavor and texture from cooking in a little fat.
- You will also need a panini press (grill), griddle, or skillet.
Vegan bacon options
Today I used tempeh bacon by Lite Life. I also really like the seitan Lite Life bacon or Upton’s seitan bacon. There are so many options for us nowadays! You might also want to try one of these recipes I found for vegan bacon. I have not personally used any of them except for my super tasty tofu bacon bits.
- Tofu Bacon Bits – This is my recipe and super flavorful yummy homemade vegan bacon bits. They are small crumbles and so would be scattered on your panini sandwich.
- Tofu Bacon by Shane and Simple – For a more traditional “sliced bacon” made with tofu.
- Coconut Bacon by Strength and Sunshine – This one is super crispy and will provide a nice crunch of flavor
- Dehydrator Eggplant Bacon by Strength and Sunshine – as the title says, this one is made in the dehydrator. It will be less crispy than the coconut bacon – which some people might enjoy in their sandwich.
I have not seen vegan chipotle mayo at my local grocery stores. You might be able to find it at yours. You can use regular unseasoned vegan mayonnaise if you prefer. Or you can make one of these quick and easy recipes:
- Chipotle Mayo (Mexican Secret Sauce) by Feasting at Home – this recipe is NOT vegan as written. However, as stated in the recipe, you could just sub in the vegan mayo for non-vegan mayonnaise.
- Vegan Chipotle Mayo by A Plantiful Path – This can be a whole food plant-based sauce if made with her cashew tofu mayonnaise recipe which is listed in the recipe post.
Another option if you are trying to eat oil-free and would rather not use an oil-based mayo spread is to use mashed avocado and sprinkle a little chipotle seasoning on top if you still want the spicy chipotle flavor. I would definitely leave out the sliced avocado if I used mashed avocado for the spread though.
How to make the perfect BLT vegan panini sandwich
The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.
Step 1: prep and source your ingredients
If you need to make the vegan bacon or chipotle mayo then make them ahead of time. The time to prepare these ingredients is not included in the prep time in the recipe card below.
If you are using store-bought vegan bacon then cook it according to package directions. Be careful to not overcook the vegan bacon. It tends to get super crispy and hard super fast if you aren’t paying attention.
Slice the onion, wash the spinach if not already washed, and peel and slice the avocado. Set everything aside so that you can quickly and easily assemble your panini sandwich when it is time.
Preheat the skillet, griddle, or panini press you are using, and get ready to cook your BLT panini!
Step 2: Assemble the panini sandwich
Spread the chipotle mayonnaise on the insides of each half of the buns. On the bottom buns, layer first with the vegan bacon. Continue to layer with the tomato, spinach, vegan provolone, red onion, and avocado. Press the top bun down and smoosh a little bit to try to keep everything together.
Step 3: cook your veggie panini
Spritz the panini press, griddle, or skillet with a little cooking spray. Skip the cooking spray if you are super confident that the surface of your panini press (or griddle) is non-stick.
Even though my panini press is non-stick, I still like the texture of my grilled panini to be cooked with a little bit of fat. It just comes out nice and crispy that way. You can also use a little (optional) olive oil or vegan butter for flavor.
Place the veggie panini sandwiches on the cooking surface, cooking in batches if necessary. My panini grill is too small to cook both sandwiches at once.
Every panini press cooks differently though. You will be cooking your panini sandwich for 2-5 minutes if you are using a panini maker. Watch it carefully the first time making it so that it doesn’t burn.
If you are using a panini maker, you don’t need to turn the sandwich because the top and bottom grill plates cook both sides at the same time. However, if you are using a griddle or skillet, you will need to cook each side of the sandwich and then turn it to cook the other side.
Time the same amount per side if using a griddle or skillet. You should place something heavy – such as another pan – on the top of the sandwiches while they are cooking.
Be aware that depending on the vegan cheese you use, it may or may not get melty. Vegan cheese is like that…
This grilled BLT panini recipe honestly makes a complete meal. It is also perfectly served with a tasty soup or salad. I have some delish soup and salad suggestions you can serve with your vegan BLT sandwiches:
The Printable Recipe Card
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Vegan Panini with Chipotle Mayo and Tempeh Bacon
- panini maker or griddle
- 6 slices vegan bacon see notes
- 2 slices tomato
- ¼ small red onion thinly sliced
- ½ avocado sliced
- 2 Tablespoons chipotle mayonnaise see notes
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- 2 slices vegan cheese see notes
- 2 ciabatta buns or smilar bun
- Make the chipotle mayonnaise if not already made. See notes for recipe suggestions.
- Cook the vegan bacon according to package directions. Sice the tomato, and onion. Peel the avocado and slice it.
- Preheat a skillet, panini maker, or griddle to medium-high heat.
- Spread the chipotle mayonnaise on each half of the buns. On the bottom bun, layer with the vegan bacon, tomato spinach, vegan provolone, red onion, and avocado. Press the top bun down and smoosh a little bit.
- Once the skillet or other device is heated, spray a little cooking spray on the surface if it is not a non-stick surface.
- Place the sandwiches on the surface, cooking in batches if necessary. Cook for 2-5 minutes if you are using a panini maker. Cook the same amount per side if using a griddle or skillet. If you are not using a panini maker then place something heavy – such as another pan – on the top of the sandwiches while they are cooking.