I don’t like bacon. Yes, shoot me now all you bacon lovers, especially those of you who are jumping on the nonsense bacon-in-my-milkshake fad. Coming from a pescetarian, the contentious statement probably doesn’t mean much, but even when I ate meat, I hated bacon. I found it to be overpowering and always oppressive to all the other ingredients it sat next to in a dish. But hey, that’s just me. At this point, I’m used to all the “Are you an alien?” looks I get when the I hate bacon concept is brought up.
There is one kind of bacon though that I must say I absolutely love—make it a Tempeh variety, and I’m sold. Sliced and baked, this is one of the easiest ways to infuse flavor into tempeh. It’s the kind of flavor that can really perk up something like a sandwich but is multidimensional to avoid coming off as overpowering.
I chose to go with a smoky maple combination for this version of tempeh bacon. I once had a friend say that the key to every breakfast is having everything taste like maple syrup and bacon, no matter what’s on the plate. I guess you could say this is my version of that.
While I wouldn’t want this topping my ice cream, the bacon does make a killer sandwich. The smokiness here is the perfect compliment to the tomatoes layering the bread on this one, and the hints of maple go well with the kick of arugula I’ve swapped for lettuce. I may be crazy for not enjoying traditional bacon, but you’d be crazy not to love this vegetarian version of a BLT.
- -Olive oil, to grease baking sheet
- -8 oz. temeph
- -2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- -2 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
- -2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- -1/2 tsp. cayenne
- -1 tsp. paprika
- -Smoked paprika
- -2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- -Mayonnaise or Vegenaise
- Cut tempeh in half to create two tempeh squares. Then, slice each square into 8-10 thin slices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, cayenne, and regular paprika. Add tempeh to bowl and toss with marinade. Cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with olive oil. Spread tempeh strips on baking sheet. Pour excess marinade on top. Add a few dashes of smoked paprika across the top of the strips.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway, until bacon becomes crispy and dark brown. (Will crisp up more as it cools).
- Let cool for 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the sandwich. Spread each side of bread with mayo or Vegenaise. Top with sliced tomato, a layer of arugula, and 3-4 tempeh strips. Serve.