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Creamy Zucchini and Tempeh Bacon Pasta

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Tempeh is one of our best sources of plant protein! Did you know that only one small, 3 oz serving of tempeh has nearly 17 grams of protein? Do you wanna talk about fiber? Tempeh is like a jewel to our heart and digestive health! It's low in sodium and saturated fat -- oh yeah, and it has zero cholesterol!

I can't stop singing praises for tempeh because it's become my go-to replacement for chicken in my stir-fry -- and now, it's also my go-to replacement for bacon! You're going to absolutely love how tempeh picks up the flavor of the bacon marinade in this recipe. Cook some up each week and store it in your fridge for all the delicious suggestions I've posted below in the notes. Enjoy!


- 8 oz package of Tempeh,* sliced into very thin, 1/4-inch thick strips

- 6 Tbsp soy sauce, tamari or Bragg's Liquid Aminos**

- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

- 1 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

- 5 tsp maple syrup

- 2 tsp smoked paprika

- 2 tsp onion powder

- 1/2 tsp cayenne

- 1 Tbsp liquid smoke

- 1 lb spaghetti

- 2 lbs zucchini, sliced 1/4" and cut again in halves

- 1 medium white onion, chopped

- 4 cloves garlic, minced

- 2 Tbsp lemon juice

- 3 Tbsp vegan butter

- 5 Tbsp vegan ricotta (I swear by Kite Hill brand!)***


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce (or tamari), apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, paprika, onion powder, cayenne and liquid smoke.

  2. Place sliced tempeh pieces into either a gallon-size baggie or flat in a baking dish.

  3. Pour the marinade mixture into the bag or over the tempeh in the baking dish. Seal or cover and marinade in refrigerator for at least two hours (but even better overnight).

  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the marinated tempeh slices flat on the baking sheet. Reserve the remaining marinade.

  5. Bake the tempeh strips for 12-15 minutes until the top sides look crispy and dry. Flip the strips over gently and bake for 10 minutes more. Watch for the edges to become crispy. It's normal for the strips along the outer edge of the sheet to cook faster, so you may remove those and continue baking the others for another 5 minutes until they're just crisp as well.

  6. While the tempeh is baking, start a pot of water on high and bring to a boil. Add two large pinches of salt to the water.

  7. Remove the tempeh strips from the baking sheet when done, and place them in a covered dish to keep warm.

  8. In your pot of boiling water, cook the spaghetti per package directions.

  9. At the same time, in a skillet, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, the remaining marinade, the zucchini, onion, garlic and lemon juice and sauté over medium heat until zucchini is just cooked.

  10. When spaghetti is cooked, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Return the pasta to the large pot.

  11. Add the vegan butter, ricotta, and crumble the tempeh bacon into the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and stir the ingredients into the pasta.

  12. Add your cooked zucchini mixture and another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pasta water as needed to smooth mixing in the veggies.

  13. Spoon pasta into bowls, and serve with a hunk of sourdough or rosemary bread and a tab of vegan butter.


1. I prefer Lightlife Plant-based organic brand tempeh.

2. I use low-sodium soy sauce as I find it gives the best flavor in the marinade.

3. There seem to be several vegan ricotta options out there. I've tried all that I can find, and some are simply TERRIBLE! I use only Kite Hill Ricotta in all my recipes. It's made from almond milk, and it's awesome.

4. I recommend making tempeh bacon every week to keep on hand for other recipes. It can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and it's soo tasty! Use it for crumbles on salads, Buddha bowls, BLT sandwiches and wraps, veggie burgers, breakfast scrambles, hummus and avocado toast... the possibilities are endless!

Tempeh bacon, tempeh pasta, vegan pasta recipes


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