It’s been years since I’ve eaten meat so trying to make vegan food taste like meat has never interested me. However during the last vegan chef and lifestyle training that I facilitated it became clear that there is a real need for replicating meat flavoured food in the plant based world. As there is a whole new generation of vegans who never gave up meat because they didn’t like it. 
The graduated chefs from my last course were all quite new to eating a plant based diet so many of them really wanted to have food that tasted close to meat so were experimenting a lot with flavours and textures to attain this. It opened my eyes to a trend that is a big part of the vegan culinary world. And even though I don’t personally like it, I understand the need for it and have started experimenting myself.
A few months back I bought the Wicked Healthy cookbook and they talk about making plant based bacon. Some time ago I had rice paper ‘bacon’ at a café and it was horrible but Jacqui, one of the graduating chefs took ‘rice paper bacon’ to the next level for the vegan chef graduation lunch. Grinding it up with a mortar and pestle, adding a bacon bit type crunch to the entre dish. It was a huge success.
I don’t remember what bacon really tastes like so can’t say whether these recipes I share with you this week taste like bacon but what I can say is that they are delicious and add a bit of fun to meals.  It’s all in the marinade, so if you are the experimenting type you can play around and make a marinade that you really like and that tastes smoky like bacon often is.
I am sharing three slightly different recipes that I played around with getting the original idea from the guys at Wicked Healthy. In their cookbook they make rice paper, tempeh, tofu, carrots, eggplants and mushrooms as a sub for bacon. 
So vegans you can have your bacon and be vegan too!!!
Add these bacons to your salads or to your sandwiches or burgers for some fun.
For those of you who miss the crispiness of bacon the rice paper option is the best one to go for. I love making very crispy tempeh on retreats and always think it must be like bacon but people who are still eating animals say it’s not quite like bacon. Enjoy the fun in experimenting. Swap the marinades around in these recipes and see which you like the best.

Rice paper bacon

5 sheets of rice paper
2 tbsp maple syrup
2½ tbsp tamari
2 tbsp avocado or unrefined sunflower oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp brown rice vinegar
1 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar (or you can just use brown rice vinegar)
Cayenne pepper to your required heat
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the marinade ingredients together then cut the rice paper into strips. Put some boiling water in a bowl and dip the strips into the water (don’t let them go soggy so a quick dip is best), then place them in the marinade and coat. Remove any excess marinade with your fingers then place the strip on a paper lined baking tray. Bake in a 150°C oven for up to 10 minutes or until crisp. 
NOTE: they can easily burn and then are completely ruined so keep your eye on them.

Tofu bacon

350g block of tofu cut into thin strips 
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp white miso (chickpea or soy miso is best)
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp pickled jalapeno brine or 2 tsp of chilli sauce or some cayenne pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 to 2 tsp smoked paprika or 1 tsp liquid smoke if you have it (check the bottle for how much to use)
Salt and pepper to taste
Unrefined sunflower oil for frying
Mix the marinade ingredients together then place the tofu strips in the marinade and make sure each piece is well coated. Leave in the marinade overnight.  Splash some oil in a frying pan and when heated up add the tofu slices and cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tofu browns and goes crispy at the edges. Turn over and do the same for the other side.

Tempeh Bacon

1 block of tempeh cut nice and thin
3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup 
2 tbsp jalapeno water or some homemade chilli sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika or 1 tsp liquid smoke 
2 cloves boiled garlic 
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp almond oil or unrefined sunflower oil 
Mix the marinade and place the tempeh in the marinade, leave overnight or at least two or so hours. Cook the tempeh in a very hot frying pan and leave to go crisp and a bit charred (but not burnt) on each side. 

The Foundation Vegan Cooking Course is the Bomb

It had been three months since I had facilitated the Vegan Foundation Cooking Course so I had forgotten how good the course really is.  A fabulous group of people came together this last Thursday to Saturday and cooked and learned so much. I have a huge amount of knowledge, information, tips and recipes to share to help people be great vegan cooks. In addition everyone that attends brings something to add to the course as even the most basic of cooks has some information and some tips that we can all learn and benefit from. 
The food cooked over the three days (especially the signature dishes) was really delicious and has my mouth watering as I type this blog. There are three more dates for the vegan foundation course in 2018. 4th to 6th of October, 8th to 10th November and 29th November to 1st December.  Also for those who can only attend in the school holidays you are in luck as there is also a vegan foundation course on the 17th to 19th of January 2019. Would love to have you along to enjoy in the fun of vegan cooking.
Have a great week everyone.
Love Veet



Tags:Tofu Tempeh Rice paper Bacon

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