My smoky vegan bacon is crispy, chewy and super easy to make. It even bubbles and crackles like real bacon.
I know, I know, it's literally insane that I haven't made a vegan bacon recipe yet, but we're here now and I'm holding your hand as an apology. I make my vegan bacon out of a really really special ingredient which is about to change the way you cook. But hang tight on that reveal.
I was about 5 when I stopped eating meat and weirdly bacon is one of the only things I actually remember the flavour of. I guess that makes sense, since it's so flavoursome and umami. Anyway, my job is to try to replicate that flavour from memory using ONLY PLANTS! Shall we do it?? LET'S DO IT!!
What is this vegan bacon made from?
Famously vegans will try to make bacon out of everything. I've seen vegan bacon made from mushrooms, rice paper, aubergine - ALL SORTS OF THINGS! But here's my issue - I want a vegan bacon that's actually high in protein, as well as being able to soak up a whole bunch of bacony flavours!
So, personally, I like to use paper tofu! It's a kind of bean curd made in thin sheets. It's thicker than yuba (which weirdly is more like paper thickness) but it really comes into its own when marinated! It soaks up so much flavour and when you grill it, it pops and bubbles like REAL bacon.
How do I make vegan bacon?
As always, the FULL RECIPE for my vegan bacon is at the bottom of the page – If you're skipping forward because it's breakfast time and you're starving, then don't worry! Just go for it!
Alternatively, here's a bit of a breakdown below!
1. Create your "vegan rashers"
Paper tofu is thin and easy to tear. You'll get a much more natural bacon-y shape if you tear the tofu instead of slice with a knife. You want to pull it into strips about 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.
Set them aside in a baking tray while you prepare your marinade.
2. Prepare your marinade
The marinade for the vegan bacon is all about getting that balance between sweet, salty, smoky and umami! Dark soy sauce brings the umami and the saltiness, we use liquid smoke for the smokiness and maple syrup for the sweetness.
I also like to use some beetroot juice too, to make sure the paper tofu takes on a bacon-y redness! You can leave this out if you like, but I'll know, and I'll judge you, silently.
3. Marinate your paper tofu
How long you marinate your tofu for is REALLY up to you, but I'd really recommend giving it at least 2 minutes. I think the optimal time is about an hour in the fridge, but if you want to prepare in advance, you can marinate the tofu overnight in the fridge! That way it's ready for grilling as soon as you wake up!
4. Grill the vegan bacon
To get gorgeous ripples in your vegan bacon, you'll want to make sure it's slightly folded while you grill it. I like to lay it over the bars of a grill rack and push down slightly. This way, when you brush the vegan bacon with extra marinade before grilling, it'll pool in the troughs and help to give a nice variation in colour and texture across the rasher.
And that's it! This recipe can burn quite easily, so watch it like a hawk, but otherwise, have fun! You can now make an incredible vegan BLT, a killer full English breakfast - ALL without any animal products!
What else can you make with an insanely good vegan bacon? Maybe carbonara??
As always, it helps me MASSIVELY if you can rate and review this recipe below. This blog only exists because people like you actually use it and cook these recipes, I'd absolutely love it if you could let others know that you rate this recipe or that you’re just excited to make it!
Alternatively, take a picture and pop it on instagram!
- 2 sheets paper tofu (see ingredients notes below)
- 60 ml dark soy sauce
- 4 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon beetroot juice (see ingredients notes below)
- 2 teaspoon potato starch
- To make the vegan bacon, carefully tear the sheets of paper tofu into rasher-sized strips.2 sheets paper tofu
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.60 ml dark soy sauce, 4 tablespoon vegetable oil, 3 tablespoon liquid smoke, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2 tablespoon beetroot juice, 2 teaspoon potato starch
- Place the vegan bacon rashers in a small baking tray or container and pour over the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 minutes. Alternatively, place in the fridge for up to 8 hours, but this is not required.
- When ready to cook, preheat the grill (aka broiler) to its highest temperature. Place a grill rack on a grill tray and spread the vegan bacon over the rack, allowing it to ripple and fold over the bars of the rack. Brush with some of the remaining marinade. Drizzle with a little extra oil. Place under the grill for 4 minutes then remove, flip, brush again with marinade and grill the other side. The paper tofu is liable to burn easily, so don’t take your eye off it.
- Remove the vegan bacon and serve hot.
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