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.
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.
- 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)
- Combine all ingredients in a long shallow dish or plastic container.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the marinated tempeh strips in one layer without crowding the pan.
- 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.
- Flip and cook the other side.
- 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)
- 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!
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.
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…