Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh bacon. Tempeh Bacon Closeup | thelittleredspoon.com

Tempeh might be a little new to you if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan already. It’s basically cooked fermented soybeans squished into a rectangular block. Sound appetizing, right? It actually tastes quite good when you cook it properly. Much like tofu, if you get the good stuff and treat it right, you will be rewarded.

Tempeh has a kind of chewy, meaty texture to it. It has a good amount of protein and fiber in every serving. I’m sure there’s a lot of tasty tempeh recipes out there but this is the only one I’ve tried to so far. Basically, you marinate it and fry it in thin strips until it gets crispy and have yourself some tasty vegan bacon. Breakfast Tempeh | thelittleredspoon.com

Marinate it in what? Well, that’s up to you. Like every recipe, you have to tweak it to your tastes and decide what works and what doesn’t. I tried Kathy Patalsky’s recipe from Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen and adjusted to suit my own personal taste. Kathy mentions in her recipe she doesn’t like too much liquid smoke – but I found without lots of smokiness  it was bland and felt like it was “missing something”… Try this recipe for yourself and decide what you do and don’t like about it.

Tempeh Bacon
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ package of a standard block of tempeh, sliced as thinly as you can without it falling apart
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • 2-3 tsp liquid smoke (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • big pinch salt
  • small pinch white pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Magic for cooking (or plain coconut oil)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a long shallow dish or plastic container.
  2. Let soak in marinade over night (or longer) or at least 20-30 minutes. The longer you let it marinate the more it will soak up into the tempeh.
  3. Add Vegan Magic, plain coconut oil or other cooking oil to a nonstick pan on high heat – make sure the pan is hot before adding the tempeh strips, you want them sizzling.
  4. Add the marinated tempeh strips in one layer without crowding the pan.
  5. Cook for 1-3 minutes on high, depending on how crunchy you want your “bacon”. I bring mine right to the edge of being burnt without actually burning them. Nice and crispy for me.
  6. Flip and cook the other side.
  7. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. To make it taste more like actual bacon, you will need to use a lot of salt. (But obviously don’t go crazy before you taste it)
  8. Use wherever you would use “real” bacon – personally I love it in this tempeh sandwich or beside a tasty tofu scramble on a weekend morning.

I had to cook about three batches of this bacon before I got closer to a flavour that I really liked. And I will keep tweaking it here and there every time I make it.

 

Personally I don’t really remember the taste of animal bacon and I don’t really care to. I was never that obsessed with bacon as a kid and the thought of real bacon is super gross to me. But sometimes you do want a substitute for it. BLT? Why not TLT? Bacon and eggs? Why not tofu and tempeh? Works for me!

Tempeh Bacon Sandwich | thelittleredspoon.com

Tempeh sandwich with Veganaise, mustard, Sriracha, spinach and cheddar-style Daiya shreds

The Vegan Magic I bought is like vegan “bacon grease” made from coconut oil and TVP and it adds depth and some realistic flavour. It’s the perfect thing to make vegan bacon with and I’ve been trying it in other dishes too.

Tempeh Sandwich Close Up | thelittleredspoon.com

If I’d had an avocado and juicy tomato to add I would’ve been set!

Try this recipe for tempeh bacon and let me know what you think. Personally I would give it two thumbs up! I wonder how this would taste on a vegan bacon cheeseburger? Pretty amazing I would bet. In fact I think I’d better find out to be sure…

Daiya Cheezy Mac

Oh man, this is the good stuff. Yes, it is more expensive than a box of Kraft Dinner but it is so worth it when you are craving those cheesy noodles.

Cheezy noodles closeup | thelittleredspoon.com

You won’t feel like a total shitbag after indulging either cause guess what – these are made with brown rice noodles, they’re gluten free (if you’re into that), lower calorie than KD and you’ll get the same amount of calcium without any dairy. Amazing. Though let’s be honest it’s still not healthy.

Daiya Cheeze Mac Box close up | thelittleredspoon.com

Okay so Daiya isn’t for everyone but I really like this cheezy mac. I haven’t quite reached the level of making my own vegan cheese (yet) so this is perfect for me. The box comes with a bag of noodles and a squeezable package of gooey cheese mix. It can’t get any easier – you boil and drain the noodles and squeeze in the sauce and you’re good to go.

Daiya Noodles close up | thelittleredspoon.com

I threw in a spicy Mexican Chipotle flavoured Field Roast sausage and had myself a perfect lazy dinner.

Daiya Cheezy Mac with sausage | thelittleredspoon.com

I will totally be buying these Daiya Cheezy Macs again – I found these at the Sobeys in my neighbourhood, which was just revamped and now carries a lot of vegan snacks and products.

Daiya Cheeze Mac Box ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

I know some people are put off by the ‘mouthfeel’ of Daiya cheese. To be honest, yes it can be slightly (and I do mean slightly) stickier-feeling. Yes, it’s not the EXACT same taste as dairy cheese – but to me that’s okay. You have to try it for yourself and see if you like it before judging it! I would definitely recommend it, but a person who is really specific about the texture of their food might not like it.

Why not give it a shot and see what vegan cheeses you like and don’t like? Personally I like this one for a dead-easy lazy dinner. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Grapefruit Moon

I bought a Groupon for this place months ago and finally got around to cashing it in a few days before it was set to expire.

Originally I was excited to see a tofu scramble on the breakfast menu but realized after purchasing and reading the fine print that you couldn’t go for breakfast on the weekends which was my original plan for spending the Groupon. Ah well, going for a nice junk food dinner was just as fun.

Grapefruit Moon vegan grilled cheese | thelittleredspoon.com

I ended up getting an “ultimate” vegan grilled cheese to which I added avocado and spinach. It came with fries that were nice and crisp. Yummy. I also got a spinach salad with balsamic dressing.

Grapefruit Moon spinach salad | thelittleredspoon.com

The sandwich was great! Made with classic blend cheddar-style and mozzarella-style Daiya shreds. I actually had to do a double take! I almost thought it was the real thing! The bread was really nice too, a hearty multigrain that was perfectly toasted. That was definitely a great sandwich and I would go back and get another one if I was in the neighbourhood again.

Grapefruit Moon beer | thelittleredspoon.com
Alcohol wasn’t included in the Groupon but I ended up getting a couple of beers anyway – not a bad draught list, I decided on an Amsterdam blonde which was great.

Grapefruit Moon drinks menu | thelittleredspoon.com

Service was good, the wait staff came around often enough to make sure we were doing well but not too often that we were getting interrupted.

The restaurant itself is on the small side, but I like small spaces, and I thought it was pretty cute. We sat at one of the booths along the wall and it was very cozy and private.

The only problem I had was that one of the bathrooms seemed to be out of order without warning! There was no sign on the door but the toilet was almost overflowing in there. Yikes. Super not cool but I’m sure it was probably something that was fixed promptly.

Overall I might go back to this little place and recommend to a friend, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to drag someone here unless I was REALLY in the mood for another grilled cheese. The menu was a little small but I was very pleased that they at least had something vegan on it.

Grapefruit Moon menu | thelittleredspoon.com

My friend tried the veggie burger and said it was pretty good as well.

Have you been to the Grapefruit Moon? What’s next on your restaurant hit list? What’s the best vegan greasy spoon in Toronto? Let me know in the comments.

Grapefruit Moon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vegan Preschool? So cool!

Check out this video and article from the Wall-Street Journal about a preschool in Scandinavia that teaches children vegan cooking!

The school serves only vegan meals and the kids learn how to grow and cook their own healthy food.

This is a gentle place where 92 children play barefoot to feel a connection to their environment and the air often smells like peppermint or citrus from aromatherapy. Classrooms have bowls of pine cones, seashells and rocks for toys. Some chairs are sawed-off tree stumps.

Doesn’t that sound so fun? Seems like a wonderful place to send your children.

It reminded me of this video about a Japanese school where the kids also grow and cook their own food. Not vegan but still a really interesting idea.

Helping kids grow their own food and cook with it! What a great way to teach them about healthy eating. One of my teachers from culinary school volunteered with a program that did this called Growing Chefs. Pretty cool.

Heck I’m 27 and I wish I could learn more about growing my own food! When I visit my mum (who does have a yard and a garden) we can sometimes make an entire meal or salad fresh from the garden. Of course condo life in downtown Toronto isn’t super garden-friendly but I at least have some herbs growing on the windowsill for now, and I want to try growing my own sprouts soon – I’ll report back on that later.

Do you grow your own food? Ever heard of a cool school program that teaches kids all about cooking and eating healthy (and vegan )? Let me know in the comments.

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Tofu Scramble Breakfast

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast | thelittleredspoon.com

There’s nothing like a delicious, nutritious breakfast to ease your way into a relaxing weekend. I wanted to try out this recipe for scrambled tofu I found in Kathy Patalsky’s Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen cookbook.
Making the tofu was surprisingly easy and tasty. As a former egg-lover I was hoping I would be able to find a good replacement for eggs that was just as easy and satisfying. It turns out scrambled tofu is an amazing substitute, and is really filling, healthy and protein-rich.

Crumbled Tofu | thelittleredspoon.com

Since going vegan I’ve been incorporating so much more tofu into my life and loving it! My first experience with tofu was quite frankly, very disgusting, bordering on scarring  so I totally understand why some people would be hesitant to eat it regularly or even try it. I tried tofu when I was about 12 or 13, I had heard that it was a popular food in Japan and wanted to try it. This was before I ever went vegan or vegetarian, I was just curious about trying new foods, and to a kid growing up in a small, boring city, tofu was pretty exotic.

I asked my mum to buy me some tofu and cook it for me. Of course, she had NO IDEA how to cook it or what to do with it, but she likes to try new foods as well and is a very adventurous eater so we did go to the grocery store and buy a package of medium-firm tofu together. Well, she tried cooking it the only way she could think of. By cutting it in huge chunks, throwing it in a frying pan and drowning it in cheap VH brand soy sauce.

OH MY GOD! I can’t even explain how disgusting it was! Of course we went out of our way to buy the tofu and make it so she forced me to at least finish my serving. I don’t think I was able to take more than two bites without gagging! It was sooooo nasty! I laugh every time I think back to this experience but at the time I was so incredibly disgusted I vowed never to eat tofu EVER AGAIN. Clearly it was one of the most disgusting foods on the planet!

Textbook Tofu Press | thelittleredspoon.com

My $150 tofu press

Many years later, after I had been vegetarian for a few years (avoiding tofu the whole time), I visited a little hole in the wall Japanese noodle shop with my mum while she visited me at University. I ordered a vegetarian noodle soup dish, and it was served with deep-fried tofu on top. I was a little hesitant to try, but when I did I realized tofu can be so delicious if you just cook it the right way! It tasted so meaty, juicy and delicious, crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth soft on the inside.

To this day my mum remembers that trip to the noodle shop very fondly, and often asks if I’m going to deep fry my tofu when I mention I’m planning on making some. Deep-fried or fried tofu tastes so good over noodles in a stir-fry, but that’s a post for another day.

Scramble Tofu Breakfast Ingredients | thelittleredspoon.com

This breakfast tofu is amazing too, and I hope you’ll try it out. You may have to go out of your way to pick up some turmeric like I did. It really helps give it that appetizing, yellow, egg-like colour.

Scrambled Tofu Sauce | thelittleredspoon.com

Easiest sauce ever – just use spices, nooch and water and whisk.

I found these SoL Cuisine brand Veggie Breakfast Sausages at Whole Foods and thought I would try them out as well. They were totally overshadowed by the scrambled tofu, however.

SoL Breakfast Sasuage Packaging | thelittleredspoon.com

The breakfast sausages were honestly a little dry and not too flavourful, but they did have a beautiful, realistic golden-brown look to them once cooked. I thought they tasted pretty good with some mustard, and they would go well with ketchup, Sriracha or salsa if that’s what your into. But to be honest I probably won’t be buying them again in the near future. Next time I make a nice vegan fry-up for brekkie I plan on trying some tempeh bacon strips.

To balance out all the savoury flavours in this breakfast I added a piece of The Big 16 Bread by Silver Hills Bakery, topped with some almond butter and raspberry jam. I am obsessed with Silver Hills products and find I can’t go back to basic white breads and bagels made with processed flour anymore. This brand is the bomb; their products are organic, vegan, GMO-free, and made from sprouted grains. With 16 types of sprouted seeds and grains in this bread, you are getting 6g of protein and 4g fiber with every slice. Amazing! And it tastes good, too. Check them out!

Vegan breakfast doesn’t have to just be plain fruit or granola and hemp milk. You can give up eggs and dairy and still have a luxurious, savoury, filling breakfast like this one. See for yourself – make this tasty tofu scramble and let me know what you think!

Scrambled Tofu | thelittleredspoon.com

 

Tofu Scramble Vegan Breakfast
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces firm or extra firm tofu (drained and crumbled)
  • Light tasting cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegan buttery spread
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • Other veggies (mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, scallions, etc.) optional – I added cherry tomatoes and frozen corn
  • 1 cup chopped greens, such as fresh baby spinach, kale or chard
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Other spices as desired (chili powder, cumin, white pepper, sea salt, cayenne)
  • Optional add-ins: vegan cheese shreds, Tempeh bacon bits, few pinches freshly grated orange zest, grade B maple syrup, tamari/soy sauce, black salt or truffle salt, ume vinegar)
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu of excess water by wrapping with a kitchen towel or paper towel and covering with cutting board with something heavy on top. I used a heavy textbook and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Add light tasting or flavoured cooking oil to a nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet. Heat the pan over medium high heat. Add the vegan buttery spread. When the butter has melted and coats the pan, add the onion and any additional chopped veggies (if using). If the greens you’re using are hearty (like kale or chard) add them now. Cook the veggies until caramelized.
  3. Using your hands or a fork, crumble the tofu and add into the pan. Break apart any big pieces with a spatula. Flip and toss the tofu, continuing to cook for 2-3 minutes until it starts letting off steam, firming up and developing some colour.
  4. Drizzle with tamari and maple syrup if using.
  5. Add spices together in a small bowl with nutritional yeast and whisk with just enough water to form a thick sauce.
  6. Pour sauce over scrambled tofu, coating evenly. Cook until sauce thickens and evaporates.
  7. Fold in delicate greens like spinach in now, allowing hot pan and tofu to gently wilt. I added the cherry tomatoes and corn now as well.
  8. Taste tofu scramble and adjust seasoning as needed, may need more salt, nutritional yeast or white pepper. Top with vegan cheese like Daiya shreds if desired. Serve warm.

 

 

Preachy vegan moment: Did you know ONE single egg has more cholesterol than a double down sandwich from KFC? Check out Bite Size Vegan’s video for WAY more information about the lies and misinformation spread by the egg industry. It’s not even legal to call eggs “safe,” “healthy” or “nutritious” according to the UDSA! That’s because they aren’t! And that’s not even getting into the moral/ethical problems of eggs. Check out Erin Janus’s video for more information about the cruelty of factory-farmed eggs – and yes, even “free-range,” “organic,” “cage-free” eggs can be extremely cruel! Not to mention gross. Both videos are on the slightly longer side (about 20 minutes each) but entirely worth watching. If you have no idea where your eggs come from or what it takes to get them on your plate – do you really think you have a right to eat them?