Does any other meat have even half the cultural allure of bacon? It’s no coincidence that so many individuals who have opted out of eating meat miss bacon the most.According to Johan Lundstrom, a scientist who runs a lab at the Monnell Chemical Senses Center, humans are hardwired to love bacon. It’s made of between 33% and 66% fat and plenty of protein, so the part of the brain that’s focused on keeping us alive is programmed to see bacon as essentially the perfect food. And since about 90% of our perception of food is shaped by smell, bacon’s distinctive and potent odor makes a strong case for how good it will taste if we give in and take a bite.
Fortunately, clever vegan cooks have come up with a plant-based bacon that tastes every bit as addictively good. It even has the same crisp yet chewy texture! Best of all, it’s made with healthy, whole-food ingredients and is minimally processed. We think this recipe is outstanding. Let us know if you agree!
Smokey, Sweet, Peppery Plant-Based Bacon
The base for this plant-based bacon is coconut flakes, which also have a high-fat content. Numerous studies show that the fats in coconut boost your health, whereas processed meats like bacon lead to unpleasant health outcomes.
The recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish. To make our insanely good plant-based bacon, you will need…
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce, or amino acids
- 1 tablespoon neutral, high-heat oil of choice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon white miso
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
How to Make Plant-Based Bacon
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the tamari, oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and miso.
- Pour the coconut flakes into the bowl and stir gently to combine.
- If you’re feeling patient, letting the flakes marinate for five minutes will yield a richer flavor.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread the flakes across it. Try to keep the flakes from clustering together.
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the tray, stir the flakes well, and again, ensure they’re spread evenly across the sheet before placing back in the oven.
- Next, bake the flakes for 9 – 12 more minutes, removing the tray from the oven every three minutes and stirring the flakes. This will ensure the flakes crisp up evenly and prevent burning. Coconut flakes can burn quite easily!
- Time will vary depending on your oven and how crispy you like your “bacon.” We like the flakes to be mostly dry, golden on the edges, and crisp to the touch.
- Fans of crispy bacon, allow the flakes to cool on the sheet for ten minutes. If you like your bacon chewier, use it right out of the oven or remove from the sheet to cool.
Coconut bacon will keep at room temperature for at least a week, and for a month if frozen. It makes a delicious addition to salads, sandwiches, and dips! If you choose to eat a few bites plain, we won’t judge you.