As plant-based eating continues to rise and overall meat consumption drops significantly, there is still one food that holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. You may regularly hear people talking about their devotion to the bacon, often saying that it is the one thing preventing them from giving up animal products altogether. We like to think that those people are only saying that because they have yet to try these uncannily similar, delicious bacon alternatives! That’s why on National Bacon Day, we’re here to show you that it’s easy to make plant-based bacon!
The vegan culinary world has been working tirelessly to nail the smoky and salty yet sweet flavor and the crispy and crunchy yet fatty texture of bacon. It has started to feel like every couple of months there is a newly discovered, perfect ingredient to replicate the meat. Thanks to the hard work of culinary experts, we now have all different kinds of bacon made from faux meats, vegetables, fruits, and even grains!
We went through the Food Monster App and found some amazing bacon recipes. Below are all of our top picks for innovative bacon recipes that everyone can and should incorporate into their diets.
Source: Baked Smoky Carrot Bacon
Are you ready for Baked Smoky Carrot Bacon? This carrot bacon by Lisa Anderson and Erik Huss is deliciously smoky and so easy to make. Thinly sliced carrot strips are marinated in a blend of oil, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, then baked until wavy and slightly crisp. All the flavors and textures you love about bacon without all the fat and cholesterol!
Bacon made from Shiitake mushrooms may sound a little bizarre, but makes a lot of sense when you think about it! Mushrooms have the perfect chewy, meaty texture and umami flavor to imitate meat. In Gabrielle St. Claire‘s Pumpkin Sage Rigatoni With Shiitake Bacon dish, creamy pumpkin sauce, hearty pasta, kale, and smoky Shiitake bacon blend seamlessly together to give both a savory and sweet flavor profile.
Source: Portobello Mushroom BLT Sandwich
There’s no bacon-packed food more iconic that the BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich if you are not familiar with it). Thick slabs of homemade Portobello bacon have the quintessential mixture of smoky, sweet, and salty flavors. Michaell Johnson‘s Portobello Mushroom BLT Sandwich is an uncanny recipe of the classic, simple sandwich that everyone seems to love.
Christa Clark‘s bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich inspired eats are loaded to the max with flavor-packed goodness. Each “Eggy” Breakfast Sandwich With Coconut Bacon features a creamy cashew cheese sauce, crispy coconut bacon, and a chickpea flour patty that tastes ridiculously eggy. Coconut is a great vegan bacon ingredient because it already has a natural sweetness, hold flavor well, and can get super crispy. Your breakfast just got 100 times better.
Source: Coconut Maple Bacon Doughnuts
Adding bacon to desserts has become a super trendy way of enjoying the salty-sweet flavor combination. These Coconut Maple Bacon Doughnuts by Gretchen Price are sprinkled with a hefty handful of coconut bacon after being coated with a maple glaze. The doughnut is a guilt-free cake style donut, so no frying here, and the bacon simply requires marinating thick coconut flakes in a mixture of soy sauce, liquid smoke, and maple syrup.
More Shiitake bacon because we just can get enough! In Gabrielle St. Claire‘s Penne in Creamy Beet Sauce With Shiitake Bacon, the fried mushrooms provide a crunchy, salty contrast to the sweet and creamy beet sauce. This dish involves minimal steps, minimal ingredients, and gives you a gorgeous plate of penne that is chalked full of nutrients.
Source: Spinach Salad With Barley Bacon
So far we’ve seen bacon made out of carrots, coconut, and mushrooms, but there are so many other creative ways to imitate the beloved breakfast meat. In Zsu Dever‘s Spinach Salad With Barley Bacon, the grain barley is cooked, well seasoned, and then fried to get all crunchy and bacon-y. Barley is nice and chewy when cooked and gets lightly crispy when cooked in some oil, making it a wonderful stand-in for bacon.
If you enjoy articles like this and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Androidand iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.
The Food Monster app has over 8000+ recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8000+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!
Source: Crispy Crunchy Portobello Bacon
Make a big batch of Larice Feuerstein‘s Crispy Crunchy Portobello Bacon to throw into all your dishes throughout the week! In this recipe, Portobello mushrooms are sliced, marinated in a savory tamari-maple mixture, and topped with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and pepper. The result is a deliciously smoky and umami bacon that is perfect for BLTs, topping salads, and stacking on burgers.
Rice paper bacon? It might sound strange, but it’s surprisingly delicious! Using rice paper as a bacon substitute is one of the latest vegan cooking trends because it can crisp up nicely, is neutral in flavor, and looks shockingly similar to the real deal. If you are willing to give this meat alternative a go, try making Katie Culpin and Josh Bailey‘s Rice Paper Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts for your next get together. Chipotle powder coupled with brown sugar gives this recipe a great smoky, barbecue flavor that pairs perfectly with the refreshing crunch of water chestnut.
Are you a classy person looking for an uber classy way to enjoy plant-based bacon? If so, please enjoy Julie Van den Kerchove‘s Spaghetti With Cauliflower Carbonara and Tempeh Bacon. The sauce gets its creaminess from the always wonderful vegetable cauliflower and its crisp, bacony bits thanks to tempeh, a fermented soy meat alternative that has just the right thickness and texture to imitate pancetta.
Cheese and broccoli are an unstoppable food combination in Sonja Trurnit‘s dairy-free Creamy Broccoli Mac and Cheese With Tofu Bacon is proof! The tofu bacon is incredibly authentic tasting after it’s marinated it in soy sauce, mustard, and spices. Not only is it a great addition to this mac, but it is also a wonderful ingredient to put it in salads, on sandwiches, or in your stir fry.
Source: Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes
Kimmy Murphy‘s Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes are the perfect comfort food if you are in need of a pick-me-up. The spuds are drizzled with a creamy cashew-based nacho cheese sauce, freshly made guacamole, and smoky tempeh bacon. Treat yourself to these taters today, because we know you want to.
Source: Loaded Smashed Potatoes
And if those loaded sweet potatoes were a bit too heavy, check out Megan Sadd‘s Loaded Smashed Potatoes that carry the same flavors but in more of an appetizer portion. Once their warm on the inside and satisfyingly crispy on the edges, these smashed potatoes are topped with some melty cashew mozzarella, a dollop of zesty Chipotle cream, plenty of chives, and smokey tempeh bacon bits!
Source: Homemade Everything Bagel BLTs
BLTs just got a serious upgrade! In this recipe, crispy, smoky, slow-cooked tofu bacon is served between two fluffy, homemade everything bagels with fresh tomato and crisp lettuce. You’ll be the target of some serious lunch envy if you break out one of Parsley Vegan‘s Homemade Everything Bagel BLTs.
Source: Tater Tot-Chos
What are these Tater Tot-Chos by Ashley Hankins? Only the best appetizer that you’re not eating- yet. Crispy tater tots are served with spicy, melty vegan cheese sauce, meat-free chili, and smoky vegetable protein bacon bits. Then, they’re topped with everything that belongs on loaded nachos: guacamole, pico de gallo, vegan sour cream, and, of course, jalapeños. Yeah, we saved these for last for a good reason.
Guess what, bacon lovers? This is just the beginning! We have a ton more bacon-infused foods for you.
If you enjoy recipes like these and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App! With over 10,000 recipes right in the palm of your hand, you’ll always have something delicious and new to try. It’s available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. Full of allergy-friendly recipes, subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Homemade Everything Bagel BLTs