You’ve probably seen the Perfect Bacon Bowl infomercials and maybe even chocolate-covered bacon or bacon-infused vodka. This meat product has become as much of a novelty food as it is a common breakfast item. Bacon certainly is crispy and greasy, and meat eaters sing its praises. Does making a more conscious, healthy choice to cut back on meat or give it up entirely mean giving up bacon? Well, yes, but you don’t have to say goodbye to the things you love about it. Check out these five plant-based replacements for bacon:
Tempeh is a tasty, fermented soybean product that can easily take on the flavor of the spices you cook it with. You can choose to fry thicker strips for a chewy texture, or very small pieces for a more crispy texture. Slice your tempeh block into thin strips and fry them with your desired spices, just like you would with bacon. Place these tempeh strips in between two slices of grilled bread with some lettuce, tomato, and vegan mayo, and you’ll have a delicious TLT sandwich — except this one is cruelty free!
If you make this coconut bacon, your taste buds will be in heaven, but be forewarned; it might have the potato chip effect, and you might just want to eat the entire batch in one sitting. You may be lucky enough to have tried this already, but if you haven’t, go make this recipe ASAP. If you’re good and save it to use for several days (and you definitely will be tempted to eat it all at once), try throwing it over top salads, soups, or sandwiches. You can even try putting it on top of desserts.
3. Shiitake Mushrooms
Since mushrooms work like a sponge to soak up flavor, they will be saturated with delicious smoky bacon taste in this shiitake bacon recipe thanks to tamari, sesame oil, liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. Mushrooms have a rough, rubbery texture that’s perfect for mimicking that similar texture of bacon. After you have bake the mushrooms, put them on top of salads, sandwiches, potato skins, or soup.
Seitan is a vegan product made from wheat gluten. This ingredient has a chewy texture which is perfect for mimicking the tough, chewiness of bacon. Flavor wise, use nutritional yeast flakes, soy sauce, paprika, black pepper, and chili powder to make an authentic smoked veggie meat that will have all the taste and chewiness of bacon. Note: making smoked seitan will inevitably have a different texture then if you make coconut bacon. If you prefer a more chewy bacon texture, then go for seitan.
When you’re in the mood for a bacon-like, smoky crunch, just sautée some breadcrumbs in olive oil until they start to brown. Then add all of the spices to make it taste like bacon, such as paprika, nutritional yeast, pepper, and chili powder. This is a quick recipe that will satisfy your bacon craving without taking too much time or effort in the kitchen. Use leftover breadcrumbs for these baked eggplant fries below.
Lead image source: Coconut Bacon