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Vegan Bacon, Four Ways

The “but bacon!” argument is officially, deliciously over.

Every vegan has had the argument with a meat-eating acquaintance that eventually turns to the topic of bacon. Now, you have four smoky, crispy, salty weapons in your arsenal, thanks to YouTuber Lauren Toyota’s vegan bacon recipes from her Veggie Award-winning cookbook, Hot For Food Vegan Comfort Classics.

What you need:

For the bacon marinade: 

¼ cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce 

2 tablespoons maple syrup  

1 tablespoon liquid smoke  

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

 

For the almond bacon: 

3 cups sliced, blanched almonds  

Bacon Marinade

 

For the cassava bacon:

1 large cassava root, peeled

Bacon Marinade

1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying 

 

For the mushroom bacon:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil  

Bacon Marinade

6 large shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced

 

For the tofu bacon:

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, crumbled

Bacon marinade

What you do:

For the bacon marinade:

1. In a bowl, whisk all ingredients. 

 

For the almond bacon:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add almonds and marinade, and stir to coat well. 

2. Using a slotted spoon, scoop almonds out from marinade and spread in an even layer onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Reserve marinade for brushing. 

3. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent burning, until crispy, dark brown, and slightly sticky. Brush on more marinade to achieve desired color. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, break up clusters that have stuck together, and store in an airtight container.

 

For the cassava bacon:

1. Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, shave off thin strips of cassava about 1¼-inch wide. Into a large bowl, add cassava and marinade, stir to coat well, and let sit for 15 minutes.  

2. In a nonstick pan warm oil over medium-low heat. Place 4 or 5 cassava strips in pan, reserving excess marinade, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Brush each side with remaining marinade before flipping.

3. Remove cassava strips from pan and set on a plate (strips will stick if placed on paper towels). Use immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container.

 

For the mushroom bacon:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk oil and marinade. Add mushrooms, , stir to coat well, and let sit for 15 minutes.  

2. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, lay mushroom slices, leaving slight space between. Reserve excess marinade.

3. Place baking sheet into oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp and slightly sticky, flipping slices, brushing with excess marinade halfway, and removing any small slices that have crisped.

4. Remove baking sheet from oven and move slices to a plate to let cool completely. Use immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container.

 

For the tofu bacon:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, add tofu and marinade, stir to coat well, and let sit for 15 minutes.  

2. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spread crumbles in an even layer. Place baking sheet into oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway.

3. Remove baking sheet from oven and set aside to cool completely. Crumbles will crisp as they cool. Serve and store leftovers in an airtight container

Photos courtesy of Lauren Toyota

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