Tag Archive for tempeh

Vegan Jerky

One of the common questions that vegans and vegetarians get a lot of the time is “where do you get your protein?”

It’s actually pretty surprising how easy it is to get plant-based sources of protein in your diet. Not all protein needs to be a big steak!

vegan jerky

For me, personally, peanut butter is something I eat pretty much every day, and cheese is a pretty big staple for me. I also eat quite a few legumes: beans, chickpeas and lentils (my freezer is still full of chickpeas from that time I wrote an Aquafaba cookbook). You might be surprised to learn quinoa is also packed with protein.

And then there’s tofu. Look–I’ve been pretty honest with you guys about how I feel about tofu. It’s not my favorite. I have a hard time infusing any flavor into it, no matter what I do to it. But I do still eat it some.

Tempeh is kind of like tofu’s cousin. Regular tofu is made from soybeans, but tempeh is made from fermented soy. Fermenting makes it easier to digest, if you have a tough time eating beans. Additionally, just one cup has 30 grams of protein! Not bad at all…

I recently ran into a new, local tempeh manufacturer here in Vancouver called Tempea. I discovered them at The Wellness Show, but you can run into them at Farmer’s Markets all over the Lower Mainland. I love to support local business, so the Tempea Tempeh is the basis of this recipe.

Now, let’s talk Jerky for a sec. Once thought to be the food of late-night 7-11 runs and hunters, the Paleo/Primal movement has caused a resurgence in jerky’s cool factor. When made with meat, jerky is basically cured and dried to the point where it won’t spoil. It becomes lighter, and very portable and packable. Full of protein, it makes a great snack to take a on hike or a longer trip where you won’t have access to purchase food. For the rest of us, it can make a great post-workout snack.

While traditional jerky is usually made with meat, you can make vegan jerky using tofu. This vegan, however, is made with tempeh. It’s pretty simple to do. You marinade the tempeh (cut in thin slices) overnight, then dehydrate them the next day. I used my dehydrator for this, but you could just as easily do it in your oven at very low temp.

Et voila! A light, portable, tasty, full-of-protein snack!

Tempeh Jerky

Vegan Jerky

Ingredients:

  • Tempeh (I used Tempea)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 6 drops liquid smoke
  • a couple dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  1. Slice the tempeh thin and set aside.
  2. In a mason jar, combine all the marinade ingredients and shake well. Add the tempeh and make sure it is all well-coated in the marinade. You can add some water if you like to give it more volume. Place in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, remove the tempeh from the marinade and dry on paper towels.
  4. Place in a single layer in your dehydrator, and allow to dehydrate for about 2-2 1/2 hours on 225 degrees. If you don’t have a dehydrator, place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees, for about 2-2 1/2 hours. Store in an air-tight container.

 

 

 

 

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Fakin’ Bacon

I have always said “I could happily become a vegetarian if it weren’t for bacon.”

Truthfully, I’m not a big fan of meat. Haven’t been for years. But bacon… salty, crispy, delicious goodness… I have given up meat, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still like sometimes crave a BLT orΒ  a slice with weekend brunch.

Also, I live with a small carnivore, and while we’ve had many conversations lately about becoming vegetarians, I don’t feel like it’s right for me to force my beliefs on him. Our compromise is that he is welcome to eat meat when we eat out, and we are going to try more vegetarian meat-like products like bacon or pepperoni.

So, here are the results of our Fakin’ Bacon Taste Test.

IMG_1445Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh

Price: around $5

Available: most supermarkets, like IGA, Superstore, Save-On, but Donald’s has the best selection

What we thought: Tempeh is a fermented soy, which is supposed to be better for you than plain soy. However, it has a ricey, grainy texture that is very unlike bacon. It also looks more like ground beef that’s been formed into a loaf than like bacon. Michael says “it tastes like your hamburgers, mom.” Which is true, because my “hamburgers” are usually Money’s Mushroom burgers, or the Costco equivalent.

Rating: Meh

Yves Veggie Bacon Strips or Canadian Back Bacon

Price: $4.50

Available: most supermarkets, like IGA, Superstore, Save-On, but Donald’s has the best selection

What we thought: it comes in two versions: strips or round. Both are the same recipe, though, so it’s your choice as to what shape your prefer. This is also a soy-based product, but it has a smooth texture, and the marbling effect of real bacon. The strips are quite thick, though. It think Yves’ bacon is okay, and I like the idea of supporting a local company. However, my main beef (ha!) with all of their products is that they all kind of taste the same–the pepperoni tastes like the ham slices tastes like the bacon. Michael says “it’s kind of dry.”

Rating: It’ll do

MorningStar Farms Veggie Bacon Strips

Price: $6-7

Available: Trader Joe’s, or in Vancouver at Pirate Joe’s, 2349 W 4th

What we thought: thin and crispy, this bacon is the closest thing I’ve tasted to it’s pork namesake. This stuff is delicious. I doubt that it would fool a real meat-eater, but it might come close. The drawback of this one is that it’s the only one that isn’t vegan–it uses egg whites in the recipe. It looks the most like real bacon, as well.

Rating: it’s the bomb.com!

A quick word about cooking veggie bacon:

Start with a smoking hot pan, preferably cast iron. Add about a tablespoon of coconut oil, as it has a really high smoking point, and the bacon won’t really get brown and crispy without it. When the oil is hot, add your bacon, and watch it! Turn after a minute or two. When it’s browned, drain it on paper towels. It crisps up after you take it out of the pan.