Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vegan MoFo Day 24 - Tempeh Tuesdays - Tempeh bacon for risotto

As I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about the latest recipes I cooked for MoFo Mondays another day of posting was skipped and now it's time for my last Tempeh Tuesdays post. Tempeh bacon was one of the first tempeh recipes I made years ago, I'm not sure which recipe I used but don't recall the tempeh being pre-steamed and have a clear memory of almost destroying a good frying pan in the process! My first impression of tempeh bacon wasn't a good one and as tofu bacon was already a household favourite I've stuck with it for many years. This felt like the perfect time to revisit tempeh bacon as my other three experiments for Tempeh Tuesdays were successes so I wasn't going to be upset if the last one ended badly.

The same marinade that I use for tofu bacon (which was adapted from a recipe on veggieboards) was whisked up to use in the tempeh bacon although I didn't bother adding water as I wanted the flavours in this marinade to be stronger. I fried the slices in my non-stick grill pan that I use for cooking tofu bacon to give the tempeh slices some nice grill marks.

I've been buying so much asparagus recently as I get terribly excited when it comes into season. When I was trying to think of something more interesting than a BLT (or TLT) sandwich as a partner for tempeh bacon I remembered an asparagus risotto that was a favourite a few years ago and thought that it would be lovely with additional smoky facon flavours. I'm so glad I gave tempeh bacon another try as I really enjoyed it this time and it complimented the risotto perfectly.

Although I still haven't progressed to cooking big chunks of tempeh, this series of posts has definitely achieved it's goal. I've grown a lot more comfortable with cooking tempeh, discovered some new recipes I'll definitely make again and won't be intimidated by tempeh recipes any more!

Tempeh Bacon (Marinade adapted from a recipe on veggieboards)

300g tempeh, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
oil, for frying

Slice tempeh into thin strips then steam the tempeh slices for 15 minutes. Whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, ketchup and liquid smoke together in a dish. Place the steamed tempeh slices in the marinade ensuring they are coated evenly and allow to rest for a minimum of 2 hours.

Heat a frying pan or grill pan over medium heat, add some oil and fry the tempeh slices for a couple of minutes on each side, until slightly crispy and lightly browned.

Asparagus risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, fined diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (325 grams) arborio rice
6 cups vegan chicken stock
2 bunches of asparagus (400 grams), woody ends removed and cut into 2-3cm lengths
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup MimicCreme, cashew cream or tofutti cream cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
tempeh bacon slices

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided pan over medium-high heat and fry the onions for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute then stir through the rice ensuring that the grains are coated evenly with the oil, onions and garlic. Add a few ladles of stock and stir until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding a few ladles of stock every time the stock has been absorbed, stirring often, until the rice is almost tender. This should take 15-20 minutes on medium-high heat.

When the rice is almost tender, stir through the asparagus along with some more stock. Continue stirring until the stock has been absorbed then add the nutritional yeast, optional cream and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and serve topped with tempeh bacon slices.


  1. i do love risotto :-)
    And i love the way you've used the bacon on top instead of stirred in the risotto here. I can't stomach big pieces of tempeh either so i might be brave enough to try this!!!!!
    hehehe i also get excited when asparagus is in season!

    1. Thanks Sandy, I don't make risotto very often but I always enjoy it when I do. The tempeh was sliced very thinly and the pre-steaming step really helped it to soak up the marinade. Yay for another asparagus lover!

  2. Tempeh bacon seems to be very common in the US but I will confess to not trying it yet - I keep veering towards tofu options! I should definitely make an effort before we leave though and am glad this worked out for you. It certainly looks tasty.

    1. Thanks Kari, you should definitely give tempeh bacon a try over in US. I would love to hear your impressions on how it stacks up to your experiences with tofu bacon.

  3. A successful project all round! I can imagine asparagus risotto being a terrific partner for your tempeh bacon.

    1. Thanks Cindy, I'm so pleased to have come out of my tempeh rut and am looking forward to being more experimental with it from now on. Asparagus has always been one of my preferred risottos which was taken up a notch this time with the tempeh bacon addition.

  4. Hooray for another successful tempeh meal! The strips look great and they sounds lovely paired with the risotto!

    1. Thanks Mandee, I was very happy with how this meal turned out!

  5. I've only just come around to finding a tempeh bacon that worked - and I can see that apsaragus would work really well with it - I was just thinking about risotto on the weekend and now it is notched up towards the top of my to do list

    1. Thanks Johanna, I'll look forward to reading about your tempeh experiments in due course. It had been quite some time since last making a last risotto and asparagus coming into season made me crave this one.

  6. I envy that your asparagus is coming into season! I always eat as much asparagus as I can during the brief window that it's around. Your risotto with tempeh bacon sounds lovely. Good choice!

    1. Thanks Cadry, I remember you're a big asparagus fan too and always envy your asparagus dishes when it's out of season here. Such a shame it's not around for longer!