One of my pet peeves is when vegan food tries to imitate non-vegan food. Like Mac N Cheese. No matter what it looks like, vegan “Mac N Cheese” will never taste like dairy Mac N Cheese. Likewise, vegan “bacon” is not like bacon bacon. And why are we even trying to make bacon? …I digress… so, it should come as no surprise that I have not tried to make vegan bacon before. BUT I wanted to do a Savage Vegan BLT Party, so I kind of felt obligated to give the whole vegan bacon thing a chance.
There are lots of vegan bacon recipes floating around, but by far the two I have seen the most are Vegan Coconut Bacon and Vegan Eggplant Bacon. So these are the two I tried. Which one is better? Let’s see…
Vegan Coconut Bacon
I like coconut, and I’ve read good things about coconut bacon. It doesn’t look like bacon, but I really don’t care. I used the recipe: Coconut Bacon by Cookie and Kate.
First off, the ingredients:
That’s it. The recipe actually calls for tamari, but I just used soy sauce. But seriously… 4 ingredients. You just mix the ingredients, drizzle on the coconut, mix, and bake.
The recipe says to cook it for about 14 minutes, and I might have cooked it a little longer, but not by much. So it was pretty fast.
Did it taste like bacon? No. But nothing tastes like bacon. Did it taste good? Yes. Yes it did. And I was excited to try it on a BLT.
Vegan Eggplant Bacon
So I picked a easy recipe for eggplant bacon as well. This recipe is Crispy Eggplant Bacon by Minimalist Baker. Why? It came up in Google and because I love her stuff. I have made many recipes by Minimalist Baker and her cookbook was the first vegan cookbook I bought.
The list of ingredients for this bacon is lengthier than the coconut bacon, but contains most of the same stuff. Check out her site for ingredients and instructions. Pretty straight forward: Cut up an eggplant into strips, mix together the marinade and brush it on the strips.
Real Talk: after a few strips, I just started dragging them through the marinade bowl. It was faster and easier.
From there, you dehydrate the eggplant in the oven. It takes a lot longer than the coconut bacon. The recipe says 20-30 minutes, but I think I easily doubled the time. Maybe my strips were too thick. Next time I will definitely make them really thin.
Pro Tip: Use parchment paper. I made zucchini chips in my oven once without it and spent a long time scraping zucchini off my cookie sheet. Not saying that would happen to this recipe, but why take the chance? Plus… no clean up! 😉
So one thing the eggplant has going for it is that it looks like bacon. If you want that sort of thing. Did it taste like bacon? Of course not. How does it taste? Pretty darn good. However, it was chewy. I don’t know if you can make eggplant really crispy.
Coconut Bacon vs. Eggplant Bacon
So what’s the verdict? I made sandwiches with both the coconut bacon and the eggplant bacon, and I think they each added something to the sandwich that I really liked. That’s right… I’m a vegan bacon convert! Ack!
Will I make it again? Yes. But which one? Honestly, I’ll probably stick to the coconut bacon. It was so much easier and faster. And it was crunchy, which I like. But if you like chewy, definitely try the eggplant bacon. AND… I think eggplant would make a great vegan jerky. So I might try that sometime.
Carry on, good people.