Tempeh Bacon Bento


I bought tempeh the other day because it’s two bucks and a cheap source of fiber and protein. However, I historically endeavor to use it and it sits in my fridge until way after the expo date. By the way, tempeh is good for roughly 4-5 months after purchase. I’m pretty bad about it.

I decided to resurrect the only tempeh recipe I had in my arsenal: tempeh bacon. I’ve looked at a couple of recipes in the past and sometimes they have so many ingredients that I don’t feel like spending all my money on spices and seasonings for the recipe I typically make once a year. I sort of modified this one.

Tempeh Bacon
1 pack of tempeh (the original recipe calls for 5 ounces but I just use the whole thing because what am I going to do with 3 ounces of tempeh?)
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp thick black pepper

Now, the original recipe says to cut the tempeh into strips, as thin as you can get them. I just cut mine into triangles because I was using it for sandwiches. Do whatever you want to. It also instructs you to soak it in the marinade for 1-2 minutes. I decided to wait longer because the last time I made tempeh bacon, I let it marinade for 3 whole days because I forgot about it. This time I stuck to my guns and let it marinate for only a day and a half to cook the night before I would eat it. I think that if you make a marinade, you should let the food actually marinate. It does make it more labor intensive by forcing you to plan to cook it eventually but planning is kind of part of consistently making lunch.

Once you’ve marinated the tempeh for however long you choose, grill as many pieces as you can fit in the pan for a few minutes over medium-high heat, enough so they crisp up on that side. Flip and repeat process until it’s all done.

I ate it in a mini croissant with avocado (and it tastes great with avocado!) and an avocado-strawberry-balsamic salad. The other half of the bento is the familiar sweet potatoes, edamame, and a cheese stick.

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