These Tempeh Bacon & Asparagus Canapés make a great appetiser or vegan addition to any buffet. They’re fancy enough to serve up for New Year’s Eve, but so easy to make that you might want them a bit more often than that!
Tempeh, if you’re not already familiar with it, is made from whole fermented soy beans. It has a great slightly chewy texture and absorbs whatever flavours you marinate it in. You can usually find it in frozen in wholefood/healthfood shops or in the fridge at Chinese/East Asian supermarkets. I buy tempeh from a Chinese supermarket in Leeds city centre where a huge block is only £1.75. Since tempeh freezes well, I always pick up a handful of blocks to go in my freezer.
Naturally, tempeh bacon isn’t that close to the meaty kind but it works a treat with a smoky, slightly sweet marinade. Some people find tempeh slightly to bitter, in which case you can steam it for ten minutes before marinating. Personally, I don’t find I need to do this step and use it straight from the pack (weirdly, I used to find it bitter and did need to steam it!).
I served these Tempeh Bacon & Asparagus Canapés on this gorgeous marble and wood paddle board. The hand-crafted board is from the Oxfam online shop – part of the ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ range and kindly sent to me to style in my kitchen – and looks beautiful laid out on a buffet table. Once I started editing these photos, I did wish I’d put less canapés on it so you could see it better!
There are so many lovely tableware pieces in the ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ range, where everything has been chosen with an emphasis on selecting suppliers who put people before profit, small-scale production and sustainable materials. I love knowing exactly where the things I buy have come from and each item in the range has a story behind it.
- 200g block tempeh, cut into thick pieces
- *For the marinade*
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1tbsp olive oil plus 2 tbsp extra to cook
- Black pepper and sea salt, to taste
- *For the topping*
- 8 asparagus spears
- Sprig of fresh rosemary
- 2 tbsp tomato passata
- + cocktail sticks
- Mix the marinade ingredients together in bowl to form a smooth paste. Add the tempeh to the bowl and mix until it is covered completely. Set aside for 20 minutes to marinate.
- Meanwhile, remove any tough woody parts from the bottom ends of the asparagus then carefully slice in half lengthways. Steam for 2-4 minutes until tender. Set aside.
- Once the tempeh has marinated, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the tempeh to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned and crisp. Halfway, add the sprig of rosemary to the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
- To build the canapés, carefully fold each asparagus spear in half and thread onto a cocktail stick, followed by a piece of tempeh. Garnish with a little of the rosemary and a dash of tomato passata. Repeat until all canapés are ready!
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