I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but there is something about bacon that made it one of the hardest foods for me to give up on my journey to veganism. In fact, all that salty, fatty, crispy goodness still sounds delicious to me, but sadly it usually comes from adorable little pigs which I can’t stand the thought of eating. So you can imagine my excitement when Allison told me she was makin’ bacon for her next “Veganize It!” column!
I helped Allison test this recipe and took some pictures along the way. We made several batches to get the flavor and techniques just right, which meant lots of time in the kitchen taste-testing vegan bacon in all kinds of ways. YUM! One batch turned into bacon bits, which were a delicious accident and highlighted how many different uses a bacon-loving person might find for this recipe. (I’ve heard of a new bacon dipped in chocolate fad going around. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but if you’d like to try a vegan chocolate + tofu bacon combination, we’d love to know how it turns out.)
Smoky Fried Tofu Bacon
10 ounces extra-firm vacuum-packed tofu, frozen, then partially
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon natural smoke liquid (hickory or mesquite) plus 2-3 squirts to finish
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unflavored coconut oil
1. Slice the partially thawed tofu in half length-wise and then cut each half width-wise into paper-thin strips. Place nutritional yeast, sunflower oil, water, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, tamari, salt, natural smoke liquid, onion, and garlic in a small bowl. Purée in a blender or with an immersion blender.
2. In a shallow dish, carefully arrange tofu slices and cover with marinade for at least 1 hour, or place in the refrigerator overnight. Be careful not to move the delicate tofu around too much, unless you’d prefer bacon bits instead of strips.
3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add coconut oil. Gently add marinated tofu slices and pan fry for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Spray with 2-3 squirts of smoke flavor and serve. (Don’t skip this last part. The extra smoke flavor MAKES the bacon!)
Whether you eat it for breakfast, as bacon bits on a loaded potato, or in a vegan BLT, this delicious vegan bacon really satisfies!
As you may have noticed, there is nothing “low-fat” about this recipe, although it’s still much lower in fat than animal bacon. If you are wanting or needing to reduce the fat in this recipe, you are welcome to try it at your own risk. (Be warned that part of what most people love about bacon is it’s high fat content, so reducing it may change the quality of your vegan bacon experience.)