I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now, but even when I did eat meat as a kid, I never really loved bacon. But even so, every time my family eats bacon it looks really appetizing, even though I already know how it tastes. I also can’t watch Epic Meal Time without getting a pang of jealousy for their greasy creations.
I was pleasantly surprised with tempeh bacon for a few reasons. First of all, I wasn’t convinced that it would taste anything like bacon. Imitation meats are definitely getting better, but up until now I had never attempted to make something copy the taste of meat. The tempeh strips absorbed the marinade really well, and the liquid smoke flavouring gave it that hickory taste. The texture is different from authentic bacon since tempeh is not flexible, but when you throw it on a sandwich or eat it with your breakfast, it’s a pretty good substitute.
I got the idea for this from Judy Krizmanic’s The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook which I’ve had for years. It has a ton of great recipes for young vegetarians and has great charts for where you get your proper vitamins and proteins. It’s one of my favourite cookbooks because the recipes don’t require any crazy equipment or ingredients; it’s all very basic and doable.
I didn’t realize it would be so hard for me to find plain tempeh. I did find flavoured strips such as coconut curry and maple bacon, but considering I wanted to create my own, those didn’t help me out. I checked out a few different grocery stores and ended up having to go to a specialized health food store.
Makes 8 strips of veggie bacon
- 3 tbsp. barbecue sauce
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp. liquid smoke flavouring
- Dash of hot sauce
- 4 oz. tempeh, cut into long, thin strips
To make marinade, mix together all the ingredients except tempeh. Place tempeh strips in the mixture, and allow to marinade for roughly 30 minutes. It can be less if you’re short for time, but the longer in the mix, the stronger the flavour.
Heat a non-stick skillet, and add half the bacon strips. Spoon in some of the marinade as well so the strips are covered while cooking. Turn every couple of minutes until slightly blackened on both sides. Repeat with remaining strips and serve immediately.