Yes, You Can Make Bacon Using Only Plants

“But what about bacon?!?!?” This is a very common question/concern from people considering reducing or eliminating meat from their diet. But rest assured, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and flavors, made plant-based.

Plant-based bacon will not exactly replace the meaty, fatty, porky flavor of bacon; but it doesn’t have to. Using eggplant, mushrooms, rice paper, and soy products lets you recreate and enjoy the essence and texture of bacon without the unhealthy baggage associated with it.

This Monday, we challenge you to experiment with all the wonderful plant-based adaptions of bacon. Post your creations on Instagram, and let us know what types of dishes can benefit from a little bit of “bacon.”

Plant-based substitutes for bacon

Potato Salad with CoconutCoconut Bacon

The inherent fattiness of coconut makes it an obvious non-meat substitute for bacon. Making vegan coconut bacon is as easy as tossing the unsweetened flakes in a mixture of liquid smoke, soy, and paprika, and baking in a hot oven until it dehydrates and gets crispy. Store in an air-tight container, and you’ve got “bacon” for the rest of the week.

crispy eggplant bacon
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Eggplant Bacon

Cooking with eggplant can be intimidating, but this easy recipe for crispy eggplant bacon from The Minimalist Baker puts that fear to rest. Slicing the eggplant super thin before roasting helps recreates the crisp, satisfying chew of traditional bacon.

vegan tempeh bacon
Photo: I Heart Vegetables

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh is a soy-based protein with a texture similar to meat. This recipe for tempeh bacon from I Heart Vegetables calls for marinating, steaming, and sautéing the tempeh until it becomes brown and crispy, just like bacon.

vegan rice paper bacon
Photo: The Edgy Veg

Rice Paper Bacon

This recipe for rice paper bacon from The Edgy Veg is flat-out awesome. Seasoning the delicate rice paper with maple syrup, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, and tamari before baking makes it extra crispy and flavorful. And when it comes out of the oven, it looks just like the real thing.

crispy vegan shiitake bacon
Photo: Making Thyme for Health

Shiitake Bacon

When roasted, mushrooms come pretty close to mimicking the savory, umami flavor of meat.  This recipe for shiitake bacon from Making Thyme for Health uses high heat, tamari, and seasonings to recreate the pleasant chew associated with properly cooked bacon. But unlike the fatty pork, mushrooms are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, so you don’t have to feel guilty eating a few extra pieces for breakfast (or lunch…or dinner).

vegan tofu bacon
Photo: Vegan on Board

Tofu Bacon

Few things are more satisfying than taking an ordinary block of firm tofu and transforming it into glistening slabs of sweet, smoky, protein-packed veggie bacon. Well, this recipe for sweet-and-smoky tofu bacon from Vegan on Board does just that! Try it on a BLT or a meatless-meatball sub.