When challenged with the idea of giving up meat, many people’s first reaction is “But… bacon!”

So what is it that makes bacon taste so good? It comes down to the combination of the salty and umami tastes, a smokey flavour, and a chewy, crispy texture. So can you replicate it? You bet! In fact a lot of bacon-flavouring used on crisps is actually vegetarian, it’s all just a matter of combining flavours.

While there are plenty of vegetarian bacon alternatives available in supermarkets, there’s nothing quite like making it yourself. There are many recipes online for creating the perfect vegetarian bacon, and they will primarily use these two ingredients to get that bacon flavour:

  • Liquid Smoke (for the smokey flavour)
  • Soy Sauce (for the salty & umami taste)

The base you use for your ‘bacon’ will depend very much on the texture you like best. Try out some of these recipes:


Basic Vegetarian Bacon Marinade
Free From: Dairy, Egg, Nuts, Gluten & Soy Free Option
Suitable For: Vegan, Gluten Free Option

A good recipe from Tastemade for a basic vegetarian bacon marinade. This blog includes an instructional video on how to turn rice paper, mushrooms or coconut flakes into ‘bacon’.

Ingredients: oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup, smoked paprika, garlic powder
To make gluten & soy free: use liquid aminos or suitable alternative in place of soy sauce

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Rice Paper Bacon (Lækon)

Free From: Dairy, Egg, Nuts, Gluten & Soy Free Option
Suitable For: Vegan, Gluten Free Option

One of the earliest recipes for Rice Paper Bacon, (also known as Lækon) came from a Danish blog and is written in both Danish & English. You can determine how crispy or chewy you want your ‘bacon’ to be by using one or two pieces of rice paper for each piece, and once you get into the swing of things you can cook it up pretty quickly.

Ingredients: oil, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, rice paper
To make gluten & soy free: use liquid aminos or suitable alternative in place of soy sauce

Image & recipe: Veganer

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Tofu Bacon

Free From: Dairy, Egg, Nuts, Gluten Free Option
Suitable For: Vegan, Gluten Free Option

This is one of the easiest ‘facon’ recipes we’ve found. There’s not much to it at all, just marinade the tofu and bake it. The trick here though is to slice the tofu fairly thinly so it crisps up nicely in the oven. For even better results, make sure you squeeze the tofu first.

Ingredients: tofu, oil, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, maple syrup, onion powder
To make gluten free: use liquid aminos, tamari or suitable alternative in place of soy sauce
 

Image & recipe: The Buddhist Chef

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Mushroom Bacon

Free From: Dairy, Egg, Nuts, Gluten & Soy Free Option
Suitable For: Vegan, Gluten Free Option

This recipe uses Portobello Mushrooms and the result is generally quite a chewy texture. Of course, the thinner you slice them, the crispier they will be.

Ingredients: oil, liquid smoke, maple syrup, salt, portobello mushrooms
To make gluten & soy free: use liquid aminos or suitable alternative in place of soy sauce
 

Image & recipe: Veganosity

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Coconut Bacon

Free From: Dairy, Egg, Nuts, Gluten & Soy Free Option
Suitable For: Vegan, Gluten Free Option

These crispy pieces of coconut bacon are fantastic sprinkled on a salad or just eaten by the handful. They’re fairly quick and easy to make, but just keep an eye on them in the oven so they don’t burn.

Ingredients: unsweetened coconut flakes, liquid smoke, maple syrup, tamari or soy sauce
To make gluten & soy free: use liquid aminos or suitable alternative in place of soy sauce

Image & recipe: Cookie and Kate

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