6 Best Ways to Make Bacon—Using Only Plants
"But what about bacon?!?!?"
This is a very common question and concern from people considering reducing or eliminating meat from their diet. But rest assured, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and flavors, made plant-based.
Plant-based bacon will not exactly replace the meaty, fatty, porky flavor of bacon—but it doesn't have to. Using eggplant, mushrooms, rice paper, and soy products will allow you to recreate and enjoy the essence and texture of bacon without the unhealthy baggage associated with pork bacon.
This Monday, we challenge you to experiment with all the wonderful plant-based adaptions of bacon that our friends at Meatless Monday compiled from expert health food bloggers.
The inherent fattiness of coconut makes it an obvious non-meat substitute for bacon. Making vegan coconut bacon is as easy as tossing the unsweetened flakes in a mixture of liquid smoke, soy, and paprika, and baking in a hot oven until it dehydrates and gets crispy. Store in an air-tight container, and you've got "bacon" for the rest of the week.
Cooking with eggplant can be intimidating, but this easy recipe for crispy eggplant bacon from The Minimalist Baker puts that fear to rest. Slicing the eggplant super thin before roasting helps recreates the crisp, satisfying chew of traditional bacon.
Tempeh is a soy-based protein with a texture similar to meat. This recipe for tempeh bacon from I Heart Vegetables calls for marinating, steaming, and sautéing the tempeh until it becomes brown and crispy, just like bacon.
Rice paper bacon
This recipe for rice paper bacon from The Edgy Veg is flat-out awesome. Seasoning the delicate rice paper with maple syrup, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, and tamari before baking makes it extra crispy and flavorful. And when it comes out of the oven, it looks just like the real thing.
When roasted, mushrooms come pretty close to mimicking the savory, umami flavor of the meat. This recipe for shiitake bacon from Making Thyme for Health uses high heat, tamari, and seasonings to recreate the pleasant chew associated with properly cooked bacon. But unlike the fatty pork, mushrooms are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, so you don't have to feel guilty eating a few extra pieces for breakfast (or lunch…or dinner).
Few things are more satisfying than taking an ordinary block of firm tofu and transforming it into glistening slabs of sweet, smoky, protein-packed veggie bacon. Well, this recipe for sweet-and-smoky tofu bacon from Vegan on Board does just that! Try it on a BLT or a meatless meatball sub.
For more, be sure to check out 15 Ways to Make Your Favorite Meals Meatless.