Granted, the concept of this peanut butter banana bacon sandwich might teeter on the edge of have-you-gone-and-lost-your-mind-? when you first hear about it, but I know you’ll be smitten once you try it.
The original recipe appears in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, and received great feedback after a couple of modifications during testing, but I heard a couple of readers report post-publication that they found the chickpea bacon flavor to be a little too muted for their taste. Bummer!
So I decided to fix that and give the bacon a little flavor boost, since I wanted to make that sandwich again for Chaz and me to enjoy anyway, and ta-da: this updated version is it.
• The chickpeas are great on their own too. I munched on a few yesterday and had to stop myself so that there would be enough left for the actual sandwiches.
• I find that giving the chickpeas time to fully cool in the fridge overnight further intensifies the flavors, so keep that in mind when you make them.
• I prefer using cooking spray when grilling sandwiches, but if you want to use vegan butter so that it adds another small layer of flavor to the bread, it won’t hurt a bit.
• If you’re really not convinced by a banana being paired with chickpea bacon, all you have to do is skip the fruit. And keep it for dessert. The combo of smoky chickpeas with salty PB will be perfect as is.
• If you don’t want to grill your sandwich because you want to take it on the road, or because you just can’t be bothered with the aftermath of having to clean a pan, just don’t. It’s great as a room temperature sandwich too.
• I really love bullet points.
Before we jump to the recipe: I’m giving away two copies of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day. Just leave a comment here before this coming Friday at midnight (PST), and I’ll update this post with the name of the randomly-picked winners soon thereafter. The books can only be shipped within the US, [insert apologetic face here.] Happy sandwiching!
Kathryn and Stephanie/Poopiebitch each won a copy of the book!
Peanut Butter Banana Bacon Sandwiches:
For chickpea bacon:
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste (I use fine pink Himalayan salt)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid smoke
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil or any neutral-flavored oil
1/2 cup (128 g) crunchy, unsweetened natural peanut butter
8 slices whole grain bread
2 small, just-ripe bananas, sliced
Nonstick cooking spray (or vegan butter, if preferred)
To make the chickpea bacon: Preheat the oven to 500°F (250°C, or gas mark 10).
Combine all the ingredients in a shallow, 8-inch (20-cm) baking dish. Make sure the chickpeas are in a single layer so they cook evenly. Bake for 18 minutes, checking and stirring every 6 minutes to make sure the chickpeas don’t burn.
The chickpeas are ready when the liquid has been absorbed and that they are crispy and dark golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven.
Let cool and if possible, place in the fridge overnight in an airtight container: it will allow the flavors to intensify.
To assemble the sandwiches: Spread 1 tablespoon (16 g) peanut butter (or enough to generously cover the whole surface of the bread) on each slice of bread. Gently press down a generous 1/3 cup (90 g) chickpea bacon (or as much as will fit) into the peanut butter on 4 of the slices. Place as many slices of banana as will fit on top. Put the second peanut-buttered slice on top.
Heat a large pan on medium-low heat, and lightly coat each side of the sandwich with cooking spray right before grilling. (Or melt some butter while heating the pan, if you prefer.)
Cook the sandwiches in batches on medium-low heat until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes on each side. Place the grilled sandwiches on a cooling rack while you grill the remaining sandwiches, so that they don’t get soggy.
Yield: 4 sandwiches