In the SELF franchise, The meal I eat when I feel like…we talk with chefs, celebrities, athletes, and people in the culinary business about the specific foods or meals they turn to amid certain emotions—and how eating their favorite foods plays a vital role in their self-care.
Tabitha Brown is committed to choosing joy: With hashtags like #spreadlove and #goodvibes, the social media star is using her food-centric platform for a light show. This includes sharing plenty of engaging content focused on family and lore — such as the Sunshine “egg” scramble or its electric dances — while also encouraging viewers to reflect on important social justice topics.
Brown’s work as a recipe creator, author, and actor always keeps her on the road, so she’s often tasked with making a temporary home out of many different environments. And because she’s a vegetarian, she often finds that getting comfortable in these places can be difficult. When he portrays the Emmy-nominated star Time tab or ChiAnd She always hopes to find some options to support her plant-based diet on the set, but that doesn’t always happen.
“I go a lot, and oftentimes, depending on where I work, they may not always have a choice of food,” Brown told SELF.
That’s why she often takes meals into her own hands while traveling, turning to options that serve double duty: When Brown craves intimacy amidst all that travel, she focuses on the foods her family made while she was growing up to help her feel home and satisfied.
One meal she often craves is what she calls an MLT, which is a vegan version of the classic BLT that uses mushrooms instead of bacon. Her late mother used to make BLTs for her as a child, and when Brown became a vegetarian, she decided to make her own sandwich. So when she’s away from her house, this sandwich becomes her “comfort food,” she says.
Brown spoke with SELF to share her tips for making MLT taste more like BLT, and how you can taste it, too.
1. Season the portobello to enhance the smoky flavour.
Bacon hits the spot, especially in BLTs, so you’ll need an impressive substitution in this vegan sandwich. To mirror the texture of crunchy bacon, start with the savory portobello; Brittle mushrooms, such as enoki or black hornbill, won’t work for this sandwich. The key to making the mushrooms taste like bacon, Brown says, also lies in the seasoning. In order to achieve a similar flavor, Brown uses her own Like Sweet Like Smoky All Purpose blend, which she recently launched with McCormick.
Seasoning includes ingredients such as garlic, paprika, onion, black pepper, nut smoke, and turbinado sugar. Brown says this gives it a “meaty flavor and sweet taste”—a requirement when trying to get portobellos to replicate the essence of sugary, smoky bacon.
2. Focus on peeling the mushrooms.
Now it’s time to focus on your cooking methods. Brown says tossing mushrooms in an air fryer is a great way to sauté them. But if you’re looking for those pretty grill marks, grilling them is another option, she says. You might just want to avoid cuddly mushrooms falling into the grates. So try cooking them in a grill basket, a metal skillet that keeps your veggies safe while helping to soak up all that smoky flavor.
3. Don’t forget the installs.
To upgrade your MLT, respect the final touches. Brown says sometimes these toppings include “avocado, lettuce, tomato, and a little pickle.” But what makes this sandwich so special is how easy it is to customize.