Easy Tempeh Bacon

So many homemade vegan tempeh bacon recipes require liquid smoke. Not this one! Does the tempeh bacon’s flavor suffer as a result? My empty plate would suggest it does not. This recipe is easy to make and very, very tasty.

Use this vegan bacon in TLT’s–a tempeh, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Enjoy it as a side to tofu scramble. Pair it with vegan cheese grits and greens. Enjoy it crumbled into a delicious heirloom tomato salad. It’s tempeh bacon! The possibilities are endless. And basically, it improves and enhances almost any meal 🙂

I like using Lightlife Original Tempeh, because it is a long tempeh cake. When it’s sliced vertically, it’s more akin to the length of real bacon. I usually can slice it into 10 strips. You can use any tempeh you want. The number of strips will depend on how you slice it, and how big the tempeh cake is to begin with.

Steaming tempeh helps remove any bitterness, and also aids the tempeh in soaking up the marinade. It’s an important step that you don’t want to skip. I provide directions for using a steamer or the microwave to get the job done.

Finally, I like to marinade tempeh bacon in a glass loaf pan, because it is long and narrow. This means that it’s easy to make sure the tempeh bacon is completely covered in the marinade. Use what works for you.

While this vegan bacon recipe can be used after 2 hours of marinating in the refrigerator, it tastes even better when left to marinate overnight. The flavor does improve with age!

Vegan Tempeh Bacon with tofu scramble and toast
Easy Tempeh Bacon with tofu scramble and toast

Easy Tempeh Bacon

8 ounce package of tempeh (I used Lightlife Original Tempeh)

¾ cup reduced sodium soy sauce (OR gluten free tamari)

1 ½ tsp smoked paprika

2 ½ Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp hot sauce (I used Louisana Hot Sauce)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Steaming tempeh

1. First, you need to steam the tempeh. Use either a vegetable steamer or a microwave.

VEGETABLE STEAMER: If you have access to a vegetable steamer, bring the water to a boil, then place the entire cake of tempeh into the steaming basket (see photo above), and then, secure lid. Steam for ~5 minutes. Remove the tempeh from steamer and pat dry.

MICROWAVE: Place the entire tempeh cake in a microwaveable loaf pan, and add ½ cup of water. Cover the pan, and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the pan and pat dry.

Slicing tempeh

2. When the tempeh is cool enough to handle, slice it into thin strips.

Tempeh marinade

3. Combine the soy sauce, smoked paprika, maple syrup, garlic powder and hot sauce in a glass loaf pan. Place the tempeh in the marinade. Slosh the marinade around so it coats the tempeh.

4. Then, cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap. For best results, let it marinade overnight. For good results, let it marinade for 2 hours.

Frying tempeh bacon in a skillet

5. When the tempeh bacon is done marinating, add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a skillet. Add several strips of tempeh bacon, and fry it up over medium heat. Flip it very gently.

Tempeh bacon

6. When the bacon is done frying, place it on a plate lined with a paper towel. Serve. Enjoy at breakfast or on sandwiches, salads, and more!

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