Tempeh Bacon

September 23, 2007 at 3:30 pm (F (0 stars, inedible), Isa C. Moskowitz, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh)

Having never eaten bacon, I don’t have to worry about this recipe living up to any preconceived notions. The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance.

  • 3 Tbs. Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 8-ounce package tempeh
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil or vegetable oil
  1. To make the marinade combine the soy sauce, cider, tomato paste and liquid smoke in a wide, shallow bowl or pan and mix with a fork until the tomato paste is fully dissolved.
  2. Cut the tempeh into thin strips (less than 1/4 inch thick) lengthwise. You should be able to get about 12 strips. Rub the strips with the crushed garlic, then toss the garlic cloves into the marinade. Submerge the tempeh strips in the marinade and let sit, for at least an hour and up to overnight. After marinating, discard the garlic.
  3. Heat the oil in an 11 or 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh strips and cook for 4 minutes on one side; the bottom should be nicely browned. Flip the strips over and pour the remainder of the marinade over them. If there isn’t much marinade left add a splash of water. Cover and let cook for 3 more minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and check for doneness; if necessary keep cooking uncovered until all sides are nicely browned. Remove from heat and serve.

My Notes:

In writing this up I just realized I misread the cider as cider vinegar. No wonder it seemed like it needed some sweetener. I only used 2 Tbs. of full sodium soy sauce, and 1 Tbs. of olive oil. I cooked the tempeh in my 9-inch cast iron skillet, which was a bit crowded. The final tempeh had a very delicate yet toothsome texture which I enjoyed, and almost no “tempeh” flavor that I don’t care for so much. I can’t imagine this is what bacon tastes like however. On a pita bread with sliced tomato and lettuce I found the tempeh too bland. Maybe with the cider and the extra soy sauce and oil it would have been better? I’ll have to try it again, but I think I’ll wait til Derek comes in case I don’t like it that much. Tempeh here in Montreal is $4 for 8 ounces! That’s alot to waste on a dish you don’t care for all that much. (Anyone know where to get tempeh for less in Montreal?)

A day later the tempeh had more “tempeh flavor.”

Update January 5, 2008: I made this recipe again, properly this time, for Derek.  The only issue was that I had white wave tempeh which comes in very square blocks so you can’t really cut it into long strips, and I had trouble even getting  8 slices, nevermind 12.  I fried it in the full amount of oil and it came out extremely greasy.  I took one bite and that was enough: the flavor was too in-your-face, and the amount of oil was overpowering.  I served it to Derek anyway, and he liked it quite a bit, eating it plain for breakfast with a half a grapefruit and some leftover celery root salad.

Rating: D

Derek: B


  1. erick said,

    Hi, I was just going through your post having thought about trying some of the “LightLife” brand tempeh-bacon, but I actually wanted to know where you buy fresh tempeh in Montreal? I’ve been looking for a good source, and my next step is to simply walk in to any Indonesian restaurant and ask where they source it from, or even walk into Aux Vivres and find out from them.

    So far, I’ve been able to by the LightLife brand tempeh in the ‘states, but I don’t want to have to rely on 2 hours of road to get my groceries, ‘specially with the time it takes to get through the border now-a-days.

    Even at $4, I’m still willing to give it a try ;). Thanks.

  2. captious said,

    I’ve gotten tempeh from the freezer at the discount grocery store next
    to Frenco on St. Laurent (the name is escaping me at the moment). I’ve
    also gotten it from the freezer in the health food store at Jean Talon
    market (also can’t remember the name). Unlike tofu, freezing tempeh
    doesn’t change it in any way that I can detect. I bet they have it at
    any health food store like Eden or Rachel-Bery or Tau.

  3. rebbah said,

    I couldn’t find tempeh anywhere in montreal either. I am originally from romania and there we have a variety of tempeh (we call it “expanded soy”) at very good prices and in different sizes (even grounded tempeh for “soyballs”). i had to ask a friend to bring me some when he went there. Honestly I don’t find the Canadian market vegetarian-friendly, price and quality wise. As about the tempeh, I could give you a bag if you want to try the Romanian brand too, cost free :-), just email me. I live & work in the NDG area.

  4. captious said,

    Actually, rebbah, I ended up finding tempeh at Segal on St. Laurent. I think they also have it at the Asian store that makes tofu on Parc. I’ve moved from Montreal, but thanks for the offer for the Romanian tempeh!

  5. Another tempeh “bacon” recipe « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] I can get my hands on some liquid smoke, maybe I’ll do a three-way taste test, and throw in Isa’s tempeh bacon recipe, which gets the smoke flavor from liquid smoke rather than chipotles.  It calls for even more […]

  6. Diet, Dessert and Dogs » New Age Vegan Pasta Carbonara said,

    […] to be creamy and eggy (but without any resemblance to raw eggs).  For the bacon, I adapted the tempeh recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance to create a super-quick, non-marinated version; and since I loved […]

  7. Let’s Get This Party Started: Tempeh Bacon-Topped, Roasted Plum and Baby Spinach Salad | Ricki Heller said,

    […] batch (about 12 slices) tempeh bacon, homemade or store bought (I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, with the ACD-friendly alterations listed […]

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