Let’s get real: we’re not about to bash bacon. Many of you reading have intense love for the stuff, which is A-OK in our book. Bacon has a intoxicating smoky flavor that adds a unique intensity to everything from salads to gourmet doughnuts. Since we eat *mainly* vegetarian, we do allow ourselves a bit of bacon every once in a while (and it tastes even better than we remembered). But most of what we cook at home is vegetarian, and it’s incredibly hard to imitate that unique flavor that bacon can add to a dish.
Enter coconut bacon. It might sound odd, and we generally stay away from anything resembling a meat substitute. However, after experimenting with this concept, it is definitely worth a try. Wide strips of coconut are infused with a spicy, smoky flavor that both crisps in the oven and maintains intermittent chewy parts, reminiscent of the crispy + fatty texture of bacon. While its shape and size are not a substitute for bacon strips on a breakfast plate or in a BLT, it works perfectly sprinkled in a salad or on one of those fancy gourmet doughnuts. Oh, and for snacking. (Pop them in the freezer for a quick fix of smoky, salty goodness; they thaw in a few seconds.)
Coming next–the perfect salad for this bacon.
And, the only other recipe where we faked bacon–this vegetarian BLT.
This recipe works for many special diets, including: vegetarian, vegan / plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
- 2 cups large unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded coconut)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, gently mix all ingredients until the coconut is coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the coconut in a thin, even layer on top. Bake 10 to 14 minutes, stirring once and flipping the pan halfway through, watching carefully towards the end of the cooking time to ensure that it doesn't burn. Remove when bacon is browned and allow to cool; the bacon will crisp up as it cools. Eat immediately, or store leftovers in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer (this keeps the bacon crisp, and it comes back to room temperature quickly).