It’s the perfect kitchen tool to use in the summer when you prefer not to crank up the heat inside the house when mother nature is already doing that from outside.
What I love about making fakin’ bacon from tempeh is that it’s affordable, easy, and it’s quick to make – about a 20-minute cook time. Oh, and we’re only working with 6 ingredients.
No long list of things to buy? Yes, please!
What Is Tempeh
Soy tempeh is fermented soy that has been bound together and molded into compact cakes. It originated from today’s Indonesia. Soy tempeh is from the Javanese word “témpé”
If you’re looking for a healthy, plant-based way to introduce more protein to your diet, consuming soy tempeh is a great way of doing that. In 100 grams of tempeh, you’re getting 20.3 grams of protein. In addition to its high protein content, tempeh has a significant amount of potassium, iron, vitamin b-6, magnesium, and calcium.
Tempeh has a nutty, bitter, earthy flavor. It has a dense, thick bite – which softens when steamed or simmered.
What To Expect From This Recipe
- I like my faux bacon with a blast of umami. This means we’re working with ingredients like soy sauce to bring a depth of flavor to the tempeh bacon.
- We’re using mostly pantry-friendly, affordable ingredients to make our marinade.
How To Make Air-Fryer Tempeh Bacon
The marinade is what really makes this recipe. We’re going for a tempeh recipe that’s smoky, savory, peppery, with a touch of sweetness.
Steam & Simmer. First, I like to steam or simmer the tempeh for a few minutes to remove some of its bitterness. Also, this helps soften the tempeh cake.
Make The Marinade. While it’s steaming or simmering, this is when I make the marinade. I combine the soy sauce, ketchup, smoked paprika, black pepper, and nutritional yeast. Feel free to taste and adjust to your liking. I enjoy my plant-based bacon less sweet and saltier, but if you prefer it sweeter, add more ketchup, or add maple syrup (liquid sweeteners work best).
Cool Down. After it has been steamed or simmered in water, allow the tempeh to cool down for a few minutes. Then, it’s ready to be sliced into bacon-like pieces.
Marinate Tempeh. Use a pastry brush to coat each tempeh piece on both sides. Let it rest and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Reserve any extra marinade.
Air-Fry. Arrange the tempeh slices on an air-fryer tray. Set to 325 degrees F and air-fry for 10 minutes, flipping halfway. Brush any extra marinade onto the tempeh pieces (optional).
Plenty of recipes call for liquid smoke for tempeh bacon or other plant-based bacon recipes, however, smoked paprika is easier to find and it provides a reddish-brown color to the strips, making it more bacon-like.
How To Store
Tried out this Tempeh Bacon recipe?
Air Fryer Crispy Tempeh Bacon
- Fill a pot with about two inches of water and add some salt. Then, bring the pot of salted water to a boil. Place the entire block of tempeh and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Remove tempeh from the pot and let it cool off for at least 10 minutes. While the tempeh is cooling down, pour the soy sauce, ketchup, smoked paprika, black pepper, nutritional yeast into a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Then, slice the tempeh into strips, as thin as possible without breaking them.
- Remove tempeh from the dish and reserve the extra marinade. Arrange the tempeh slices on an air-fryer tray. Set to 325 degrees F and air-fry for 10 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Remove tempeh bacon from the air fryer and brush with any extra marinade (optional).
- If your air fryer is on the smaller side, work in batches. Or, cut the recipe in half to make a little over 1 serving of tempeh bacon.
- To bake instead, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tempeh bacon pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.
- To pan-fry, warm a non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray or add a touch of oil. Fry for 3-6 minutes on each side. This alternative won’t be oil-free but uses minimal oil.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, switch out the soy sauce for coconut amino or tamari. Coconut amino has some sweetness, so you can forgo/reduce the ketchup or use tomato paste.
Did you try out this Easy Tempeh Bacon Recipe?