Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon

I am one of those people who doesn’t eat much meat. It’s not an ideological thing, nor because I am a sissy. It’s mostly out of economic necessity that I don’t eat it — meat is expensive. Years of working as a writer and editor (a great job — but sometimes I wish I went into investment banking) have trained me to economize. I’d like to bestow upon you a foolproof recipe that will revolutionize your Sunday mornings: Tempeh Bacon. It’s easy to make, costs about $3.50 for 4 servings, and you can use it in recipes that call for bacon. I learned it from Jessica Porter, a macrobiotic cooking teacher who battled with junk food for years until she learned how to make healthy food that tastes like junk food. This recipe is great if you’re trying to lose weight but still want to eat “like a man.”

Tempeh is an under-appreciated superfood. If more regular Americans knew about how good and meaty it is, it would become an American staple. Now don’t stop reading when I say this…just bear with me and try it: Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake. It is nothing like tofu, its much-maligned cousin. It’s dense and meaty with a sort of chicken flavor. Tempeh is cheap, and available in the refrigerator section of your local produce aisle or “health food” section (Stop and Shop, Safeway, Kroger, and other major supermarket chains carry it). There are many health benefits of eating tempeh, but I won’t go into those. I’m giving you this recipe because it is deeee-licious.

I might sound like one of those drug dealers in 1980′s “Just Say No” commercials when I say this, but I’ll run that risk: Try it. You’ll like it.

Tempeh Bacon:

1 package of plain tempeh, sliced into strips
1 cup tamari or shoyu soy sauce
1 cup water
4 Tbsp. dark sesame oil

1. Put the tempeh, soy sauce, and water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and then simmer covered for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the tempeh from the liquid with a slotted spoon and put it on a plate.

2. Coat a frying pan with the dark sesame oil. Heat up the oil. Fry the tempeh in the oil until it is dark brown and crispy.

3. Drain on paper towels.

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Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Sounds great, will give it a try. Thanks!

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Anne P.
Anne P.5 years ago

Turtle Island makes a fabulous "smoky maple bacon tempeh" which is excellent in BLTs. Fry gently in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until crispy. I also love Turtle Island's marinated tempeh strips which come in the coconut curry, sesame garlic and lemon pepper flavors. Thanks for this recipe - I will try to make my own!

Charlene S.
Charla D.5 years ago

If you don't want to make your own, there's a tempeh product called Fakin' Bacon. Whole Foods Market carries it and it's really good. I like using it instead of bacon in BLT's.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

I love tempeh. The recipe sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Charles B.
Charles B.5 years ago

I will try it! Thanks!

Melissah C.
Melissah C.5 years ago


Lynda Paradis
Lynda Paradis5 years ago

This deserves a family taste test.Any recipe that cuts back on meat is worth a try, Thanks.

Sarah G.
Sarah Gilmore5 years ago

awesome!.. can't wait to try this :)

Dale Erickson
Dale Erickson5 years ago

I have been looking for a way to cook tempeh for use in a tempeh reuben. This might be it!
Thanks for the share.