Another tempeh “bacon” recipe

November 18, 2009 at 1:38 am (101 cookbooks, breakfast, Quick weeknight recipe, Tempeh, unrated)

After my disappointment in Heidi Swanson’s orange tempeh, one of my blog readers suggested I try her tempeh bacon recipe.  My friend Alex contributed the canned chipotles, and I bought the last two packs of tempeh at the local Asian store.  The recipe says to marinate at least a couple of hours, but we only let the tempeh marinage for about 20 minutes while we prepared the rest of dinner.  We decided to cut the oil slightly (4 Tbs. in a double batch).   I included one whole chipotle chile in my 3 Tbs. of adobo spice, because we like things spicy.

  • 1 pound tempeh
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (I used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup  soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (I included 1 whole chile in my 6 Tbs.)

The tempeh turned out very well.  I was worried about all that oil and soy sauce, but it wasn’t too salty or oily or spicy.  I would venture to say that the flavoring was just right.

It actually didn’t taste that different than  Peter Berley’s barbecued tempeh recipe, which Derek and I have made (a variant of) countless times.  I compared the recipes, and Berley calls for more oil (1/2 cup), more maple syrup (1/3 cup), more vinegar (1/2 cup), uses chipotle powder instead of adobo, and adds cumin, thyme, and paprika as well.  My typical modified version of Berley’s recipe is actually even more similar to Heidi’s, as I cut the oil and maple syrup down (and also the soy sauce).  Also Berley’s recipe is baked not pan-fried.  I think I prefer Heidi’s less acidic version, but chipotle powder is certainly more convenient here in Germany where canned chipotles don’t exist.  I’d like to do a head to head comparison of the recipes to really see how the flavor profiles differ.  If 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 vinegar than Berley’s (2/3 cup), but less oil (1/4 cup), and less soy sauce (6 Tbs.).  It also adds a bit of tomato paste and crushed garlic.



  1. Kelley said,


    Any recommendations on brands of tempeh? I am new to the world of tempeh and would love a suggestion


    • captious said,

      Hi Kelley,

      Nope, sorry. I’m not a big fan of any of the nationally-available brands in the U.S. They’re all okay but none of them is great. I love the tempeh I get here in Saarbruecken, but it’s made in the Netherlands, and I doubt it’s available in the states. My recommendation would be to just experiment with whatever brands you can get until you pick your favorite. You can also try to find some locally made tempeh, or even try making it yourself. I’ve never tried, but the pink haired girl discusses how easy it is on her blog. She says the homemade stuff is the most delicious.


      • Kelley said,

        I live in Canada, so we would likely get different brands than the US anyway (and certainly different than Europe). I will keep your suggstion in mind about going for a locally produced tempeh.
        Not sure if I am ambitious enough to make my own

  2. tom said,

    where did you buy it in saarbrücken?

    • captious said,

      I assume by “it” you mean tempeh? They have it at the Asian store at Mainzerstr. 55. But the tempeh is delivered on Thursday evening, and they don’t order much. By Saturday they’re often out. I’ve also seen the same brand at Asia Smile (now in St. Johanner Markt).

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