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When I read the very sad news that we were on the cusp of a national bacon shortage I was shocked, saddened…Oh, the humanity!!! Nope, not really at all what I felt:) However, I had to do something. Give the people what they want, right?
I have been wanting to try and make my own version of tempeh bacon and this was the perfect opportunity. I had already planned to make a new version of Potato Leek soup, with cauliflower instead of the potato and a “B”LT was just the accompaniment my soup needed.
I could eat soup and soup alone all day, I love fall, I love that soup can once again rejoin my weekly rotation of food. You will be seeing many soup recipes in the near future. It amazes me that a bunch of ingredients thrown in a pot with some water and seasoning can be so comforting and delicious. My husband however, needs a sandwich to go with it. Feeding him soup and soup alone makes him very sad and I don’t like to make people feel sad about food!
So, on to the tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy product that is high in protein and has a much “meatier” and denser consistency than that other soy staple, tofu. Like tofu, tempeh will take on the flavors you marinade it in. It is inexpensive and very easy to prepare. Now, will this tempeh fool anyone into thinking it’s bacon? He** to the no!! The point is to have a savory, crisp, flavorful alternative. I have said it before, “Tofu, tastes just like chicken!…except it doesn’t”.
My husband loved this sandwich, he could have cared less that bacon was not present. My kids after smelling it baking couldn’t wait to try it and they loved it too. I am planning to tweak this recipe and try adding some liquid smoke and some other flavor combo’s.
As for the soup, I wanted a less starchy way to make a creamy comforting soup. I use cauliflower in place of potatoes quite a bit (Potatoes are a sometimes food) so I thought this could work. You can make a mean mashed cauliflower (this actually has faked my husband and others out on several occasions). This soup is remarkably easy and cheap! Veggies in a pot, seasoned and puree. We also have a good amount leftover for lunch today:)
Here are the recipes:
I sliced the tempeh in thin strips. Then steam the tempeh for about 10 minutes. You can skip this step but I find that the tempeh tastes a little bitter if you don’t steam it first.
I prepared a marinade:
1/4 cup tamari (gluten-free) soy sauce
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Agave Nectar (you could sub maple syrup or brown sugar)
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
You could also add 2tsp of liquid smoke ( I didn’t have any on hand, but it would make for that smokey bacon taste)
Add your tempeh strips to the marinade, cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 15 minutes), I marinated mine for a few hours.
When ready to bake pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Spray a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and add the tempeh to the baking pan. Spray the tempeh with cooking spray.
Bake around 6 minutes on each side but watch closely since oven temps and times vary.
Build your sandwich and enjoy!
Cauliflower Leek Soup
1 head Cauliflower
2 leeks (chopped white and light green portion)
2 small carrots, diced
2 ribs celery diced
2 garlic cloves sliced
4 cups Vegetable Broth or water
Salt to taste
Pepper for garnish
(I added a healthy dash of cayenne because I like some heat)
Saute the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic until the leeks are a bit translucent.
Add veg broth or water and the cauliflower and seasoning.
Bring to a boil then reduce to Medium heat. Cook until cauliflower is tender.
Transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender and blend veggies until smooth and creamy.
I hope you will try, and enjoy these very pig friendly recipes. If there are recipes you would like to see on the blog or dishes you would like me to “veganize” please comment below or shoot me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thanks so much for reading!
Your Vegan Friend
Last night I was inspired. Most of the time my inspirations are fueled by my stomach and this was no exception. My mom and I had gone to the movies and had to pass an Asian fusion restaurant on our way to the car. Even though we had leftover lasagna ready and waiting for dinner, I could not get teriaki out of my head. So I surveyed my pantry and fridge and came up with a plan.
My brain does not work like a normal person’s (at least that is my impression) when I get inspired, I go to extremes. In my head, I do not only imagine the dish I am about to prepare, but the beautiful picture I will take of it, the sounds of my family oohing and ahhing over how amazingly delicious it tastes and my subsequent blog post that will of course, lead to me cooking said recipe on Ellen. Seriously, who does this? ? ?
All was going well, the sauce for my teriaki tempeh smelled amazing and my peanut noodle recipe was well on it’s way. Then, as I shook some red pepper flakes into the pan for my sauteed kale it took a turn. The top came off the spice jar spilling the entire full bottle of very spicy red pepper into the pan of freshly chopped garlic. This led to me frantically scraping out that pan, while my tempeh started to burn and my noodles overcooked. Gone was my beautiful dish and future appearance on Ellen. What I was left with were sticky, soggy noodles that had a weird after taste, mouth searing kale and some slightly crispy yet still edible Tempeh. My husband was now of the expert vegan opinion that, the tempeh sauce would taste much better on tofu and my son was gagging over the noodles. We ate what we could and then snacked on tortilla chips and salsa later:)
I say all of this to say that all of our cooking adventures won’t turn out to look like magazine covers. Our kids (or husbands/wives) may hate some of our food and some of our creations will be just plain duds. I always take pictures of my pretty food, I almost never document the duds, but that does not mean there have not been plenty of them! The point is to try new things, live and learn. Figure out what works and what doesn’t and have fun! I won’t be making those noodles again, I will always hold the top of my spice jars as I sprinkle and I will try the teriaki sauce over tofu next time. However, I won’t stop getting inspired and dreaming big. Tonight I am going to practice warming up leftovers while tap dancing to the oven timer…America’s Got Talent here I come:)!
Your Vegan Friend