Bacon. I won’t eat it but I do love the smell of it. Let’s be honest, if there was a meat that would make you give up vegetarianism, it might be bacon. It’s seriously the best smell in the world, and this is coming from a vegetarian. I’ve tried a few of those “fake bacon” products (“fakon” as Alex calls it) but it’s not so great. Most of them are loaded with chemicals and who knows what else. Luckily, there is an alternative. Bring in the tempeh.
For Christmas, Alex signed us up for a vegetarian cooking class at Mise En Place. I’d been there once before a few years ago and I loved it, but this class was even better because everything was vegetarian.
Alex and I were in charge of the tempeh bacon, which turned out to be quite easy to make. If you haven’t had tempeh before, it’s made from fermented soybeans, and while it doesn’t have much flavor on it’s own, it’s fabulous at absorbing flavors. Also, you may remember that fermentation is good for you and soybeans have lots of protein. Look at this, we’re on a roll here. Apologies for the lackluster lighting in the photos. Sometimes, you just have to work with what you’ve got.
- 1 package 8 oz. tempeh
- ¼ cup tamari OR soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- ¼ cup water
- Olive oil for pan frying
- Slice tempeh into thin strips.
- Steam the tempeh in a steamer basket for 10 minutes with some water up to the basket. (This will cut its bitter edge and will make it more tender and absorbable. The tempeh will get lighter and will expand slightly.)
- Put tempeh strips on a plate or bowl and add remaining ingredients.
- Marinade for at least an hour, or overnight.
- Heat oil in skillet and add tempeh strips in batches (do not crowd the pan).
- Fry until golden brown and crispy, turning as needed.
I really liked the tempeh bacon and it would be fun to make a vegetarian version of a BLT. I also think this would be a good breakfast, which would be a nice way to use up leftover tempeh. All of the other dishes that were made in the class were quite delicious as well. There was an awesome spinach salad with avocado and oranges that I’ll have to share with you soon! A whole dinner full of vegetarian dishes! It was a dream come true 😉 I left very full and very happy! Alex, this was an awesome Christmas present!
Have you ever tried “fake” bacon? Any success?