Vegan tempeh bacon is the perfect companion to your Saturday tofu scramble. Crumble it for homemade meatless bacon bits to top of a salad or baked potato. Use it to make a BLT (or TTLA) sandwich for breakfast fast or lunch. This recipe is super easy to make, and it can be made gluten-free with tamari and grain-free tempeh.
Bacon is one of those things that most people say they can never go without once they find out someone is vegan. “Oh, your vegan? I could never do that. I love bacon too much.”
Bacon contains a rare taste combination of fat, salt, and smoke, and comes with a bit of crunch. I guess this is what makes people think they can’t live without it. The good news is that you don’t have to. There are plenty of pre-made meatless varieties available, and more vegan and vegetarian recipes than you can even image. You can make vegan bacon from tofu, tempeh, carrots, eggplant, chickpeas, and even those rice paper wrappers for spring rolls. There’s even an entire cookbook dedicated to the subject!
Tempeh bacon is one of those things that’s so simple, you almost don’t need a recipe for it. Sure, you can buy it premade in the grocery store, but I prefer to make it myself, as I can control what goes into it.
Store-bought tempeh bacon is usually made with soy sauce, so it’s not gluten-free. I like to cook with tamari, which is a wheat-free soy sauce. I don’t follow a gluten-free diet – I just prefer the taste of tamari. If you are gluten-free, make sure your tempeh is grain-free, as some are made with glutenous grains. Plain tempeh is made with just soy beans.
To make tempeh bacon, I simply slice up a package of tempeh, marinade it in a mixture of tamari, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and paprika, and then bake it! It’s super easy, and super delicious.
I love to serve tempeh bacon with tofu scrambles on weekends. I also love to use it as the “meat” in sandwiches—both lunch and breakfast sandwiches. I’ve been using it in BLTs for years, and since it’s so magical, I almost always add an avocado.
I had no idea that Whole Foods was selling this vegan lunchtime standard and marketing is a TTLA until a few months ago. Apparently an actress I’ve never heard of had one for the first time and recorded herself eating it. And apparently she loved. (Who wouldn’t??) Her recording went viral, which caused a temporary tempeh shortage. The horror!
Whole Foods makes their TTLA sandwich vegan garlic aioli on ciabatta bread. I’ve just been using plain old vegan mayo, but I can see how adding a little roasted garlic to it would add a little extra something something.
To make your own TTLA at home, just spread some mayo on your favorite bread and then layer on tempeh bacon, avocado, tomato slices, and lettuce leaves. And voila—you just saved yourself 8 bucks.
Tempeh bacon is also delicious on salads, baked potatoes, soups, and just about anything that could use a dose of smoky goodness.
Tempeh bacon is the perfect companion to your Saturday tofu scramble. It’s also delicious crumbled on top of a salad or baked potato, as well as in a BLT (or TTLA) sandwich!
- 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspooon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoons liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon paprika
Thinly slice the tempeh and place in a shallow baking dish.
Mix the tamari, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and paprika together in a small bowl. Pour over the tempeh. Let marinate for at least 6 hours. It can be marinated overnight in the fridge, if you like.
Heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully place the tempeh strips on it, making sure they don’t overlap. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip the tempeh and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until crisp and brown.
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