I love the flavor of bacon! I think this is a flavor that many-a-vegan or vegetarian still enjoys. Fortunately, there are some good substitutes for this flavor available. I haven’t found the off-the-shelf substitutes to get quite the right crunch that I was looking for yet.
Enter today’s recipe: Smoky Fried Tofu Bacon, created by Allison Rivers Samson and originally published in her (2011 Award winning) VegNews Magazine column, “VeganizeIt!”. The great thing about this recipe is that you can really customize this “bacon” to your preferences. Like crispy bacon? The thinner you slice the pieces, the crispier you can fry it up. Like your bacon a little less crispy? Either adjust the cooking time or slice the pieces a bit thicker.
You start of freezing the tofu – which is a new one for me. After freezing, you let it defrost a bit before slicing into thin pieces. This actually made perfect sense once I realized what we were doing. This is the same technique used to make carpaccio, makes it much easier to get a thin slice as the tofu is harder. This is a good time for you to decide how you’re going to use the bacon. How wide or narrow do you want the pieces? I sliced an entire block of tofu, which left me with a LOT of bacon. You may want to just use a block and save the other half for another meal.
Either before or after slicing, you’re going to mix almost all the other ingredients in a blender. I dare you to not lick the sauce – it’s amazing. The sauce on it’s own tastes so much like the delicious bacon you remember – salty, smoky, YUMMY! I somehow managed to pour the sauce on the tofu bacon and walk away for an hour. :)
After marinating, I heated up the coconut oil in the pan and dropped in the first 4 slices – it even made the bacon sizzling noise! I cooked mine for much longer than the directions suggest, as I like brown, crispy bacon. Once it looked perfect, I pulled it off onto a paper towel to absorb a little extra oil. Sprayed with a few shots of the liquid smoke in my oil mister for the finishing touch.
These BLTs were a little different than normal. I made a thousand island (of sorts) with some non-dairy sour cream, a smidge of relish, and squirt of tomato. I didn’t realize we were out of lettuce, but did have some swish chard to take its place. Finally a few sliced tomatoes from the garden and voilà:
After we gobbled up these sandwiches, I actually cooked up another batch so we could eat a slice of bacon on its own. It was delicious – Kirk and both agreed this was the best non-bacon bacon. And while this is not healthy, I still think it’s got to be better for you than the original!
I still have a container filled with ready-to-cook bacon in the fridge – so many possibilities. :)
Question of the Day – What is your favorite way to enjoy bacon? I need some ideas to enjoy all this bacon – certainly isn’t going to go to waste!