Bacon is known in some circles as "the vegan killer." It seems that no matter how many years of veganism a person has under her belt, it's hard to permanently shake off the temptation to indulge in bacon. Vegan bacon, however, is a delicious and easy-to-prepare treat that you can have at breakfast, in sandwiches, or anytime you're craving a salty, protein-rich snack.
Preparing Vegan Bacon
Making vegan bacon is much simpler than you might think. While the bacon takes several hours to make, prep time is very short. Most of the time involved is simply spent waiting while the bacon marinates in your fridge.
You will need a few things to make your vegan bacon:
- 1 package of unflavored tempeh
- Maple syrup or agave nectar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Soy sauce
- Cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
- Liquid smoke
Preparing the Marinade
Make your marinade by combining all the ingredients except for the tempeh in a small dish. It doesn't matter in what order you combine the ingredients, but you will need the right amount of each. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or agave nectar, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, a small dash of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke. As with any other recipe, you can increase or decrease specific ingredient quantities according to your preferences. For example, for a more smoky flavor, you might add more liquid smoke. For a more barbecue-like flavor, you could play up the syrup. For a saltier taste, add more soy sauce.
Preparing the Tempeh
Before marinating the tempeh, thinly slice it. "Thinly," in this case, means as thin as you can get it without the tempeh falling apart. This step is perhaps the hardest part of preparing vegan bacon, as cutting tempeh into thin slices can be an ordeal. After slicing, soak your tempeh pieces in the marinade. You can leave them in for just a few minutes; however, the longer you leave the tempeh in the marinade, the more flavor it will absorb. For the best results, put the bacon in the marinade at night and take it out in the morning.
Cooking Your Bacon
Put the marinated tempeh into a lightly oiled frying pan on high heat. Let it cook for one to two minutes before flipping it over. For crispier bacon, use less oil and cook longer.
Uses For Vegan Bacon
You can put vegan bacon in a number of dishes. It works well in sandwiches, including vegan BLTs. You can also break the bacon up into smaller bits and include it in a vegan scramble or sprinkle it on top of salad. If you're an adventurous baker, you might even want to attempt vegan bacon cupcakes! Whatever your mood, there's always room for vegan bacon.