Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tempeh Bacon over Rice

Tempeh Bacon over Rice

When thinking about all the things I make and love, I had to think of what the best 1st recipe could be. Could it be donuts? Could it be an amazingly indulgent, creamy pasta dish? No. No it couldn't. Because lately, the scale has been looming in my mind and I feel it best to be honest about what I'm ACTUALLY eating lately. And I feel it best to tell you, vegans can get fat and that I've gotten hefty through this harsh, Indy winter. So, I've been eating very low calorie lately - like carrot sticks, low calorie. No hummus. No organicville ranch dipping sauce. Just carrots. And while this IS a tempeh recipe and it IS pretty healthy, it has bacon in the title!

And what vegan doesn't love facon?
Show me this person.
They're a liar.

Anyway, in the interest of health, here's a tempeh dish. Tempeh is one of those things that's tremendously unique and can be slightly off-putting to the new or non-vegan. In all honestly, I found it repulsive at first. The texture is very grainy, and I find that I like it best when sliced very thin. A lot of people also talk about the dangers of soy, and whether or not you believe it, this fermented soy product is one of the best ways to eat it. So if you're trying to avoid eating the "bad soy", tempeh is where it's at.

And truth be told, this tempeh bacon is inspired by 2 other recipes. One from Isa's cookbook "Vegan with a Vengeance" and the other from a wonderful blog "Healthy. Happy. Life". Over the years, I've made this so many times that I eventually got sick of looking up the recipe, so I started to make it on my own.  And now it's a mishmash of the two that I've included in this recipe for something I adore and frequently make at home. The rice is light and refreshing with peppery arugula and lots of lemon. Spicy, sweet tempeh bacon drizzled in a vegenaise-based sauce creates an indulgent and addictive flavor that I dare you to only make once.

Tempeh Bacon Over Rice
Serves 2-4 people, pending appetite assessment

Tempeh Bacon (recipe below)
Lemony Herbed Rice
  2-3 Servings of White or Brown Basmati Rice, or even quinoa
  1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  1 handful fresh arugula (you can also use cilantro)
Garlic-y Kale
  1 bunch of washed, chopped kale
  1 tsp minced garlic
Grilled Onions
  1 yellow onion cut into half-moons 
  1 tsp olive oil
Lemon Sauce
  4 tbsp Vegenaise
  2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  1 tsp parsley, fresh or dried
  a dash of garlic powder

* With your tempeh bacon baking (recipe below) and your rice cooking, wash and clean your kale. I remove the hard stems and just rip it up with my hands, while rinsing in a colander in the sink. Set aside.
* Heat 1 tsp olive oil with a dash of salt in a pan and begin to sauté your half moon onions on medium/low heat, lidded, until they are golden and soft. This takes about 15 minutes. Be sure to check frequently to prevent burning. 
* While your onions are sautéing, prepare your lemon sauce. In a bowl mix 2 tbsp lemon juice, 4 tbsp vegenaise, a dash of garlic powder, parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Whisk together to make smooth. It should be fairly runny. If not, add a little water and whisk again.
* Once your done with your sauce, tend to your onions and remove from heat when finished, then prepare the rice: Mix prepared rice with 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste, and fresh arugula. Cover lid and allow the arugula to wilt a little.
* When you have about 5 minutes left on the tempeh bacon, heat up another pan and begin to cook down your kale. This takes about 5 minutes if your pan is hot enough. You really want them soft and wilted, otherwise the kale will be too chewy. Add the garlic in your last minute and mix around to cook slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

* To plate, top rice with kale, grilled onions, and several strips of tempeh bacon. Drizzle with lemon sauce and salt/pepper to taste. Optional: chop up some jalapeños and a roma tomato and top it.

To Prepare the Tempeh Bacon:
-1 block tempeh
-1 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
-1/4 cup pure maple syrup
-1/4 cup soy sauce 
-a dash of cayenne, paprika, onion powder, and chipotle powder

* Preheat your oven to 430. Mix all the ingredients after tempeh into a measuring glass and whisk together. Slice the tempeh into long, thin strips. Place a large piece of foil to cover in a glass baking dish, then spray with a little cooking spray or coat with a little olive oil. Place strips of tempeh in pan in a SINGLE LAYER. Coat the  tempeh with your sauce, ensuring that the top and bottoms are coated. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, flipping once half way through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Marinating Tempeh Bacon
This what the tempeh bacon looks like before baking. All those juices will be soaked up when the tempeh is ready!

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