All the fun things you can do with maple tempeh bacon, from bao to French toast

There are several recurring themes on this blog: I love cake, I can't cook as much as I'd like because I'm studying, and I'm really not sure about tempeh.

Well, big news: I may have finally been convinced that tempeh is some cruel trick that people play on vegans, and may actually be really tasty. Perfect timing for today's 'Was there a food you used to hate, and now don’t?' theme. Until this point, I thought it tasted like someone had rubbed non-descript protein around in dust and then tried to sell it to gullible plant eaters in some vegan emperor's new clothes scam. What convinced me? Tofurky's smoky maple tempeh bacon.

After finding it discounted at a couple of places, and being a bit fan of maple and bacony flavours, I thought I'd give it a go. I snapped up a couple of boxes and set to work.

I thought I'd try it out with that most conventional of bacon-using recipes, BLT. I got some crusty white bread -- I like the type of bread that gives your jaws a solid workout  -- some tomatoes, some lettuce, some Veganaise, and got involved with some hot sarnie action.

I shallow fried the tempeh in oil until they were ever so crispy and starting to char (as well as rough bread, I like a bit of charcoal in my dinner). It was a really good sandwich -- none of that characteristic funk and bitterness that haunts most tempeh.

My next maple tempeh experiment involves a Linda McCartney vegan quarterpounder, one of the best vegan readymade burgers you can find at the moment, I reckon. I thought I'd tart it up a bit with some Mexican flavours - poblano peppers, vegan sour cream, and maple bacon tempeh. Seriously, poblano peppers are as close to vegetable heaven as I could imagine that day -- spicy and filled with grassy flavour.

I added some hot sauce to the tempeh while it was cooking for some extra heat. That's another bonus about the Tofurky maple bacon tempeh -- its original flavour is just grand, but it's got the potential to soak up extra flavour too.

My next tempeh dish was, I think, my favourite because it so unexpectedly good. It involved Follow Your Heat vegan eggs; my experiments with them had mainly turned out rancid results, so I'm not sure why I decided to make some French toast with them apart from some weird desire for self-punishment.

Well, if self-punishment I was after, I did not succeed. (Is failing to self-punish a convoluted form of self-punishment? Academics must be writing papers about this somewhere, surely.) This was the breakfast of champions. It turns out that when combined with that really chewy bread, Follow Your Heart's vegan eggs undergo some magical alchemical transformation and become amazing. Roughly as amazing as the laughter of a child, the invention of space travel, and zombie movies. Yes, actually that amazing.

Here's the last thing I made with the tempeh - a sort of sweet and sour tempeh bao recipe. 

I like to think I have a fairly expandable stomach, but at the end of the second bao I was struggling a bit, so if you're thinking of making this, maybe leave it for a day you're really hungry.  That is, so hungry-you're-considering-making-spaghetti-out-of-your-shoelaces hungry!

Sweet and sour tempeh bao
Serves one really, really hungry person

Two frozen (or fresh) bao
Six strips of maple tempeh bacon
A handful of mixed leaves
A few slices of avocado
A few slices of pepper
Half a small carrot, grated
One small spring onion, thinly sliced
A very small handful of coriander leaves
One and a half teaspoons of soy sauce
Half teaspoon of sriracha
One teaspoon of rice vinegar
Half teaspoon of maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
Half teaspoon of sesame oil
One very finely grated clove of garlic

How you do it
Mix together the soy sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, and garlic to make a marinade. Cut the tempeh into two, and leave to marinade for as long as you can be bothered - half an hour is good, but if it's less or more, we're all good.
Put the two bao on to steam, or otherwise cook, according to packet instructions. While the bao steam, put a little oil into a frying pan and shallow fry the marinaded tempeh until crispy and brown.
By the time the bao are steamed, the tempeh should be cooked too.
Split the bao, add then pile the leaves, carrot, pepper, avocado, spring onion, coriander, and tempeh on top. 


  1. It took me a while to come around to tempeh, but I find myself enjoying it more and more lately. I've NEVER been able to get it crispy though, perhaps I'm not using enough oil ;) I loooove bao...that looks so tasty!

  2. That all looks very fancy - I have made my own tempeh bacon a few times and enjoyed it but never seen this bacon in the shops. It is one of the best uses for tempeh though there are others I love. I really want to eat that burger though I would happily try everything in this post

  3. I've never been entirely sure of tempeh either, although I don't actively dislike it. Still, it needs some work to get me to actively like it and these ideas may well take me there!

  4. The French toast looks amazing! I remember the first time I had tempeh and being really unsure about the texture, but now I love it. My local supermarket sells smoked tempeh and I have been known to eat it straight from the packet, it's that good.

  5. Holy moly, that French Toast! I haven't prepared vegan French Toast...ever! I am missing out. I do agree that the sandwich is the best way to go.

  6. I LOVE tempeh, and I'm happy you've finally come around to the tempeh side. And no wonder, seeing the excellent uses you put it to. I really enjoyed your post, but I did have a moment wondering if I've ever truly been hungry. I can't remember ever considering using my shoe laces for spaghetti! :D

  7. Tofurky's smoky maple tempeh bacon is the best! I've tried many brands and flavors and finally decide that one is the winner, the one to get all the time, every time. Love all the different ways you've used it especially the baos. :-)


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