Whether you’re vegan, veggie, or simply trying to cut down your meat consumption, no one should miss out on bacon. But with these handy vegan bacon swaps – you won’t need to! We’ve rounded up a list of all of the best meat-free bacon alternatives to help you find your new faves.
1. Tempeh bacon
If you haven’t heard of Tempeh, it’s an excellent meat-free protein source which originated in Indonesia. It’s made from fermented soybeans (yum) and similar to tofu, it absorbs flavours and seasonings really well, making it a versatile option for plant-based cooking. Unlinke tofu, however, tempah has a chewy, hearty texture, ideal for creating scrumptious bacon slices. Tempeh is also a great source of nutrition, being high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free.
Simply slice your tempeh into thick chunks or even thin slices and sprinkle on a salad, stir into pasta dishes or make the ultimate bacon sarnie. Marinade in our vegan Smoky Bacon Seasoning alongside maple syrup and soy sauce, before frying for around 2 minutes on either side. Then put your feet up and enjoy! Pop any leftovers into an airtight container and leave in the fridge – it should last for up to a week.
2. Shiitake Mushroom bacon
Shiitake mushrooms are a great alternative to bacon for vegetarians and vegans alike. Their velvety texture allows them to soak up any seasonings or marinades added to them with ease. Also, Shiitake mushroom stems are fairly rubbery, giving them a likeness to real bacon.
To make your mushroomy meat-free bacon, first clean your mushrooms with a paper towel – this prevents them from going soggy using typical washing methods. Next, season using your favourite bacon seasoning, before baking in the oven until crispy. We usually bake them for between 30 and 40 minutes, turning frequently. Finally – voila! Tuck in and enjoy your guilt-free bacon pieces.
3. Seitan bacon
Seitan has a fairly savoury taste, similar to that of plain chicken or mushroom, alongside a much meatier look and texture to many other similar meat-free alternatives. This is why it’s often a firm favourite amongst many people who eat a plant-based diet. Seitan is made using a combination of wheat flour and water to create a form of gluten protein.
It’s also really easy to cook! Once you have your dough, simply bake for 30 minutes, before slicing into strips and marinating in a combination of soy sauce and our scrumptious Maple Bacon Seasoning. Once you’ve given it time to marinade (we usually leave it for around 20 minutes to soak up all the yummy flavour), simply fry it up in a pan for a couple of minutes on each side!
4. Breaded aubergine
This may seem like a strange one, but it really does work! Plus, it’s a great way of getting one of your five a day from this mildly smoky, absorbent fruit – yes, aubergines are in fact a type of fruit!
First up, slice your aubergine into bacon-like strips then add a range of spices such as paprika, black pepper, chilli powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and onion powder (or just use our vegan Smoky Bacon Seasoning) to your breadcrumbs and mix. Then dip your aubergine slices into a whisked egg (or plant-based egg) before coating in the spiced breadcrumb mix and baking in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to turn them half way through and you’ll be left with crunchy, smoky bacon slices that really do give real bacon a run for its money.
5. Carrot bacon
Carrot what? This ones all about trusting the process. But yes – you read it right – carrot bacon. This has got to be one of the most fun options on our list, and is a great recipe to share with your non-vegan or veggie mates to get them involved with a bit of plant-based cooking! This recipe calls for (you guessed it), carrot, liquid smoke, maple syrup and rapeseed oil combined with a generous sprinkle of bacon seasoning.
Use a peeler to get long, bacon-like strips for your carrot bacon and marinade using the above ingredients. Set aside for 20-30 minutes and then pop them in your air fryer or oven for 10-15 minutes, being sure to check on them and turn them frequently. Then you’ll be left with a mouth-watering, smoky treat to add into any meal or enjoy as a scrumptious plant-based snack!
As you can see, there are so many ways to make meat-free alternatives to bacon that are just as good, if not better than the real deal itself. Why not give them a try and find the one you love the most, so you can enjoy pigging out without the need for a pig!