If you weren’t raised in a vegetarian home, it might be pretty tough to imagine life without bacon, but if you find yourself on a plant-based diet this Vegan Maple Bacon Tempeh is a game-changer.
Bacon just makes everything better, right? Baked potatoes, mac & cheese, breakfast, and of course, KFC’s Double Down would all fall just short of their potential if it wasn’t for the crispy, smokey, savory, melt-in-your-mouth goodness of bacon. By definition, you can’t even have a BLT sandwich without it.
Let’s be honest, this recipe isn’t an exact replica of the real thing, but as far as wholesome, vegan bacon choices go, it’s quite possibly my very favorite. I always judge a recipe’s strength based on its approval ratings from non-vegan consumers. This one definitely gets high marks, so you can cook it with confidence for the carnivores in your life.
Just because there’s no real bacon on the Maple Bacon Tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fats that are super popular these days. This sandwich is a winner when it comes to healthy fats from plant-based sources. In our house, if there’s a sandwich with lettuce and tomato on it, it also needs to have avocado on it as well. I love avocado on my sandwiches! It’s the second-best ingredient between the bread here. But seriously, it’s such a great fruit to incorporate into so many recipes.
A few reasons why I love Avocados:
- They’re packed full of vitamins and minerals. They have more potassium than a banana y’all! (and none of the stringy peel remnants that totally gross me out)
- They’re high in monounsaturated oleic acid (AKA heart health fats)
- They’re high in gut-health boosting soluble fiber
- Antioxidants, we all know we need more of those in our lives
- Avocado fats help the body absorb key fat-soluble nutrients
Avocados are super easy to slip into so many dishes, even though avocado toast is all the rage, here’s some creative ideas on other ways to use them.
- Slip half of an avocado into your kids’ fruit smoothie. They won’t even know its there.
- Use it as a base for salad dressing. Think avocado ranch… should I post a recipe for that one?
- The perfect side to your tofu scramble and hash browns
Back to the Bacon
Even though Avocados are amazing, the real appeal here is to the bacon lover. For vegans, a bacon flavored treat has been historically made up of Bac’n bits. Not anymore. With these Maple Bacon Tempeh bits, you can have freshly made, non-dehydrated, savory bits to take the place of any crumbled or sliced bacon. It’s a delicious healthy alternative to flavor up your life.
Tell Me About Tempeh
If you’re not a vegan connoisseur, then Tempeh might be a new ingredient for you. I introduced my mom to Tempeh a few years back. She still pronounces it “Temp”, no matter how many times I’ve told her that it’s called “tem-pay”. It’s a soy product, so if you’re trying to avoid soy, this one is not for you. However, if you’re into fermented foods, then Tempeh just might be your jam. Tempeh is made from boiled soybeans that cured via a fermentation process. It’s an ancient Indonesian food that I’ve never tried to made at home. You can find it at almost any health food or naturally leaning grocery store. In fact, a lot of local grocers are starting to carry more plant-based protein products, so you just might find it next to the tofu, usually in the produce area of your grocery store. Like tofu, it will absorb the flavors of whatever it is cooked with, however it does have its own nutty flavor and stiffer texture than tofu. Tempeh’s texture is perfect for this thinly sliced, caramelized maple bacon treat.
I Don’t Mean to Bragg
Another perk of the ingredient list here is Bragg’s liquid aminos. My family has been using this liquid seasoning in place of soy sauce for a very long time. The good news is that Bragg’s is not fermented or heated in it’s processing. It also has not added table salt, so if you’re trying to keep an eye on your sodium intake, this is a fantastic choice. It’s a milder replacement, similar to the taste of tamari. I use this for so many recipes, it’s definitely an ever-present staple in my kitchen.
Maple Bacon Tempeh BLT Sandwich
- 1 package tempeh
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3-4 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Thinly slice the tempeh
- Combine all spices, and Braggs liquid aminos in a quart storage bag, and add the sliced tempeh. Let sit for at least 2 hours
- In a medium pan, heat the coconut oil to medium. Add the sliced tempeh and pan fry until lightly browned on each side.
- Reduce heat to low and add the maple syrup. Once the gooey liquid bubbles and carmelizes remove the pan from heat.
- Serve with toasted bread, vegan mayonnaise, mashed avocado, lettuce, and thinly sliced tomatoes.