Being the first type of “vegan bacon” I ever tried, tempeh bacon holds a place in my heart- a place that’s more satisfied by tempeh bacon than actual bacon.
Growing up I always thought bacon was great on hamburgers, but if I were to order a plate of breakfast, sausage was my protein of choice. To me, bacon was flimsy & lacked “umph,” being greasy with big bubbles of undercooked fat or so crispy it disintegrated like paper in the mouth. While the flavor of bacon is lovable, when it came down to it, bacon was only ever alright.
Fast forward several years to me trying tempeh bacon for the first time. WOW. This stuff is smoky, salty, umami, captivating, meaty, tender, and not crumbly, dry, and or fatty; tempeh bacon is what actual bacon wishes it could be.
After tasting tempeh bacon from a package I got at the store and from a few restaurants (City ‘O City in Denver being one of my favorites for tempeh bacon), I went into the laboratory to devise my own. The results? It’s far easier and less intimidating than it seems. Plus, if you learn how to make this on your own, you’ll save a few bucks and have the ability to play around with flavors as you wish.
If you want cracked black pepper bacon, drop the cayenne & cinnamon and quadruple the amount of black pepper. If you want maple spice, double the amount of maple syrup and cinnamon, and drop the cayenne. If you want smoked apple bacon, add 1/4 of apple juice to the mix, double the amount of liquid smoke, and drop the garlic powder and paprika.
This recipe is for simple, well balanced, bacon that pairs well with any breakfast food; it’s subtly smokey, lightly sweetened by maple, has a little kick from cayenne and crushed black pepper, and is mouth watering savory.
We hope you enjoy this cure for the bacon blues as much as we do! If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
All the best,
Ryan & Kim
The vegan cure for bacon cravings.
- 6 oz tempeh
- 1/4 c tamari
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp distilled vinegar
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil (optional)
- Slice tempeh into strips, according to your desired thickness – reference photos in post.
- In a small bowl or air tight container, whisk or shake together tamari through cayenne pepper. Pour this marinate over tempeh in a bowl or container large enough to hold the marinate & tempeh.
- Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 24 hours, rearranging the positioning of the tempeh halfway through.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add tempeh, water, and all of the marinate. Cook uncovered until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Add oil to pan and move tempeh around so that the bottom of the pan is coated in oil. For oil free cooking, follow the same steps in a non-stick pan.
- Cook tempeh until browned on one side, flip, and cook on opposite side until browned, should take about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Remove from pan and serve immediately or keep in oven at 200° F for up to 30 minutes. Pairs beautifully alongside Avocado French Toast & Almond Spice Pancakes!