Can bacon be vegan? The answer is a crisp yes. There are actually different types of vegan bacon you can make at home that will appease your cravings.
What Is Plant-Based Bacon Made Of?
Who says you can’t survive on plant-based foods alone? With the surge of vegan recipes you can whip up at home, there’s no space to crave animal meat products anymore. You can easily turn an animal-based food into vegan just by altering the ingredients and eliminating the animal products.
According to Jill Edwards, Director of Education at The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, vegan bacon is usually made from tofu, eggplant, mushroom, tempeh, and beets. If you want to make bacon from a whole-food source such as eggplant, you can add in some maple or date syrup, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, water, and liquid smoke.
Different Types of Vegan Bacon You Can Easily Make on Your Own
While there are vegan bacon brands you can buy from the grocery or any vegan store, there are also different variations you can actually make in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Vegan Rice Paper Bacon
The rice paper sheets you often see from the Asian international store can be made into vegan bacon with some marinating. You can even make this in big batches since the rice paper bacon strips can stay crispy for several days as long as it’s properly stored.
There are only three steps to make it:
- First, you make a smoky and sweet marinade
- Cut the rice paper sheets into strips and dip them quickly in water to soften and stick them together. Coat them with the marinade generously.
- You can either bake the strips, fry, or put them in the microwave to turn them into crispy vegan bacon you will surely love.
Vegan Tempeh Bacon
Tempeh is the crunchier and firmer version of tofu. It’s made from soybeans that have been fermented and compacted to form a dense cake. This type of vegan bacon is also relatively easy to make. Just prepare the smoky and sweet marinade, adjusting the taste that you prefer. Cut the tempeh into thin slices and soak the strips into the marinade for about 1-2 minutes. Once done, you can fry the tempeh on a frying pan at medium heat. Make sure that you only use vegan oil to fry the strips. Enjoy it with a sandwich or with your favorite salad.
Vegan Eggplant Bacon
Yes, this purple-skinned vegetable can be your next favorite vegan bacon. You will need 10 ingredients for this dish. For the marinade, you need a mixture of smoky spices, tamari, vegan Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder, ground black pepper, sea salt, paprika, and avocado oil. Of course, don’t forget the eggplant.
It will take around 40 minutes to make this vegan bacon as it involves baking. However, you can also have it fried if you want, although it may not be as crispy as the baked one. Please make sure the eggplant strips are already golden brown before removing it from the oven or frying pan.
Vegan Coconut Bacon
When making the coconut bacon, make sure that you only use the white coconut flakes without the yellow. The yellowing of the coconut is a sign that it’s not stored correctly or is already old and so it can alter the taste of the coconut bacon.
Vegan coconut bacon is made with smoky flavors by mixing tamari, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika. Once you have the marinade, dip the coconut flakes into the mixture, making sure that both sides of the strips are generously coated. Then you place the strips on the lightly greased pan parchment paper and sprinkle a pinch of salt to taste. Bake the strips for about 15 minutes or until it turns into a nice, caramelized color. Let the coconut strips cool down since it gets crispier as it cools.
Vegan Shiitake Mushroom Bacon
The smoky and spicy flavor of this vegan bacon is a perfect match for your “meat-free” pizza. You can also add this as topping to your salad. This vegan Shiitake version is flavorful and satisfying, and you are sure that it’s 100% meatless. Even those who are not fond of mushrooms will surely love this type of vegan bacon since it’s hard and crispy, you won’t even think it’s mushroom.
Make sure that you will remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms when you make this vegan bacon. Cut the caps into thin strips and fry on a pan with avocado or olive oil. As for the flavoring, add a pinch of salt and smoked paprika to make it smokey and a bit spicy. You will need to roast the shiitake mushrooms to achieve that bacon-like goodness. After you fry the strips, spread them on a large baking sheet and place inside the over. Bake for about 20-30minutes until you see the mushrooms turning into brown color.
Vegans can be very creative with their food, and these vegan bacon types are great alternatives to the traditional ones derived from animal meat. These are healthy and totally guilt-free.
Have you tried making any of the vegan bacon types mentioned above? Comment in the section below and share your experience with us.