Tapas are great, aren’t they? It’s like perpetual happy hour appetizers although you don’t always get the sweet discount prices. Want to try like 5 different appetizers because you can’t make a decision? Then a tapas bar is the place for you! I decided to make some tempeh-bacon wrapped dates after passing by a tapas bar over the weekend. After a quick glance at the menu outside the restaurant, I realized that I wouldn’t be eating anything that they served, so I skipped around the corner where I could get some sweet potato fries.
First of all, my apologies for the poor photography work on this post. I was so excited to eat these that after taking like 5 really bad pictures where I couldn’t get the lighting right, I said “F it I’m eating these things!” Just trust me that the pictures don’t do them justice.
If you never had bacon wrapped dates prior to becoming vegan I’m sorry, but you probably won’t appreciate the fact that there is a vegan version. They are so deliciously salty, sweet and smokey that the surgeon general has threatened to put a warning label on them for being addictive (not sure he/she can actually do that but whatever). For those of you about to rock this recipe….
Tempeh Bacon Wrapped Dates
- 1 package of pitted dates
- 5 ounces tempeh (2/3 a standard 8 ounce pack)
- 2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
- a dash of cayenne
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp thick black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- for pan: 1 tsp olive oil
Make sure you have a very sharp knife because you are going to need to cut the tempeh very thin. Cut the strips about 1/8 inch if you can. A quarter inch thick strips will work as well if your tempeh is falling apart.
Put all of the ingredients into a large shallow dish and mix well. Carefully lay out the tempeh strips into the dish and let them marinate for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and let them marinate for another 5 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the tbsp of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat and when the oil is hot, fry up the tempeh strips until both sides are lightly browned (a couple of minutes per side). You can pour some of the left over marinade in to the skillet while cooking but don’t do too much because the maple sugar will carmelize and get really sticky.
Move the tempeh bacon strips to a plate when done. Do not put on paper towels because they will stick and you will get bits of paper stuck on your bacon. That will suck.
Wrap one piece of tempeh bacon around one date and skewer with a tooth pick. Place all of the wrapped dates on a parchment paper topped baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before eating.