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Posts Tagged ‘tempeh’

Vegan BLT Salad

tempeh-bacon-on-toastI’ve been vegan for nearly fifteen years, but it wasn’t until about two years ago that I succumbed to the most intimidating member of the protein triumvirate: tempeh. And it took even longer to come around to what is now one of my favorite convenience foods, Fakin’ Bacon. Since I gave up the real thing somewhere around age ten, I never really felt the need for a replacement product. Plus, it had one of my most hated flavors, liquid smoke. Smokiness reminds me more of the neighborhood house I watched burn to the ground at five more than a fourth of July spent in the cloud of a backyard grill. But once I sucked it up and finally bought my first package of Fakin’ Bacon (probably to toss on top of pizza), I was hooked.

My favorite use of Fakin’ Bacon is ridiculously simple. I heat up two slices in a dry skillet, lightly toast one piece of bread, slather on a bit of Vegenaise, and plop the bacon on top. Tempeh on toast. It’s the absolute perfect snack when it’s one o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and I realize that I’m starving but don’t have time to make a proper lunch before I have to fold yet another load of laundry. And it keeps me from eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again.

Almost knocking tempeh on toast out of first place is the BLT salad. Why it took me so long to put spinach and tomato and croutons and tempeh bacon together and cover it all in a garlicky mayonnaise dressing I have no idea. It’s so simple. So obvious. Yet so genius.

vegan-BLT-salad

Vegan BLT Salad Dressing

2 Tbsp Vegenaise

1 Tbsp soy milk

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp minced garlic

Whisk ingredients together. Pour over spinach, tomatoes, and warm tempeh bacon and toss with croutons.

Orange-glazed Tempeh

orange-glazed tempehThere’s something extremely intimidating about tempeh. Seitan is meaty enough to seem familiar, bready enough to be accepted by the uninitiated. Tofu is bland enough to soak up flavors and hide its true nature. But tempeh? It hardly ever shows up on restaurant menus, even in all-vegan restaurants, so even those of us who should be familiar with it often aren’t. Plus, every recipe for tempeh seems to include a caveat about tricking the tempeh into releasing its iron grip on bitterness.

It took me a long time to come around to tempeh, but now I can’t seem to get enough. Lately most forms of soy seem to give me stomach aches, but I never have problems with tempeh, so I get my soy protein fix without the nasty side effects. And did I mention that it’s actually delicious? Its substantial texture lets it stand up at the center of the plate. Sometimes vegan meals can feel like a hodgepodge of side dishes, but throw some tempeh in there and you’ve got a meal.

This orange-glazed tempeh from 101 Cookbooks is my new favorite way to prepare tempeh, and I’ve only made it once so far. It’s just too good to wait to write about it. I’m already thinking of what I can pair it with next. And I can’t wait.

(I made the recipe as is, with the exception of reducing the oil from 2 Tbsp to 1. The tempeh might brown more deeply with the extra oil, but I don’t think the added fat is neccessary.)