Bacon has to be one of the most addicting "foods" on the planet right next to cheese. But let's face it, it's been known not to be great for you and it definitely isn't good for the animals, or the planet.
Vegan bacon gets a bad reputation from a lot of hardcore meat-eaters, and I get it, I used to be one of them. However, bacon gets 90% of the flavor from seasoning and smoking. I don't think anyone would like bacon if they had to eat it raw from the animal.
I was never much of a bacon person, to be fair. While I did eat it sometimes, I wasn't crazy over it. So this is just a nice little treat for when I'm really wanting something like a BLT. Adding it to other things is just a bonus!
Yes, I spilled the soy sauce just before taking a picture. This is Struggle Kitchen after all!
Tempeh - A fermented soybean product that has been around for centuries. Like tofu, it doesn't have much of a flavor until you incorporate it.
Soy Sauce - For the good, good salty salt. This will also give the tempeh a darker color, which helps make it seem more like bacon, which really helps people just starting out. I know it helped me!
Liquid Smoke - You know when something says "bacon flavor" or "Natural smoke flavor"? That's what this is. Bacon in liquid form, but made animal-free!
Maple Syrup - Now, I would say that if you have a reason for not consuming sugar, you can skip this ingredient. I have not tested it without this, so if you do, let me know how it is! Possible optional ingredient alert!?
Rice Vinegar - I'm convinced it is necessary to add this, but it might be because I add this ingredient to everything... totally optional!
Step 1: in your bowl/dish of choice, whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and liquid smoke. If you don't spill any, are you really mixing it well?
Step 2: Take a brick of tempeh, and depending on the type of dish you're using, place it into the mixture. As you can see, I broke mine in half. Then, place into the fridge for at least 4 hours to overnight to marinate.
Step 3: You will need to flip the tempeh over and get the other side coated. If you were able to cover the whole brick, you can skip this step!
Step 4: Depending on how you plan to use your vegan bacon, I've shown two ways to enjoy it, by crumbling it for vegan bacon bits, or by slicing it to place on sandwiches.
Step 5: Fry it up!
🍳How to cook Vegan Bacon
Tempeh bacon is super easy to cook and takes 5 minutes at most! If you're using slices, cook each side until some browning/crisping appears.
If you're using a crumble, cook until heated through and some browning starts to happen.
💡Extra Tips and Other Uses
- Allowing the tempeh to marinate over night will obviously give more flavors!
- You can freeze tempeh to keep it fresh until you're ready to use it, including after you've cooked it!
- Feel free to add other seasonings to your marinade, you can use any flavorings you want. Some like to add garlic and onion powder or nutritional yeast.
- You can use this vegan bacon in anything you would use regular bacon for: sandwiches like a BLT or wrap, toppings to macaroni salad, regular salads, soups, or baked potatoes!
❓Frequently Asked Questions
If the tempeh was bought in store, yes. Tempeh prepackaged from the store has been pasteurized and is safe to eat in raw form. However, if you make your own tempeh, be sure to cook it throughout!
Vegan bacon can be made out of many different plants! Including but not limited to: Tempeh, mushrooms, tofu, eggplant, rice paper, and sometimes carrots.
Short answer: No. However, actual bacon's flavor mostly comes from seasoning, and while vegan bacon may never taste like actual bacon, it is still incredibly delicious and gives you the salty, smokey and crispy flavors you are looking for!
Vegan Bacon Recipe
- In a medium glass dish, place all ingredients except the tempeh and mix until well combined.½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup maple syrup, 2 teaspoons liquid smoke, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- Open up your package of tempeh and either place into the glass dish or cut in half to fit if needed.1 block tempeh
- If your tempeh is sumbmerged, you can place it, covered, in the fridge for no less than 4 hours and up to 3 days.
- If your tempeh is half submerged, cover and place in the fridge, flipping halfway through the marinating period.
- Once marinated, you may cook your tempeh how you wish. Enjoy!
- For the best results, allow tempeh to marinate overnight.
- This recipe is easily made gluten free by using tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.
- you can substitute the maple syrup for agave or cane sugar, or you can completely eliminate it, however, I have not tried that so let me know if you do!
- You can store this vegan bacon in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months!