12 homemade versions of smoky vegan bacon that taste better than meat

Author: Rachel Smith

Read Time:   |  23rd April 2020

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You'll wonder why you ever ate the real thing when you try these crispy, smoky vegan bacon recipes.

Vegan cuisine is finally being celebrated in the mainstream as people are realising that vegan food is anything but bland and boring, and the saying “Anything you can make, I can make vegan!” really is true.

But there’s still one barrier to taking the plunge and going vegan for many people – bacon. Many people cite this as the food they miss the most when giving up meat, but we’re here to tell you that there’s no need because there are so many ways to enjoy the smoky and salty flavour without the cruelty.

Vegan chefs around the world have been getting creative with everything from vegetables to banana skins, infusing them with delicious umami flavours to mimic the smoky and salty yet sweet flavour and crispy texture of bacon.

1. Vegan Seitan Bacon

If you’re looking for a super-realistic plant-based bacon recipe then look no further than this streaky bacon recipe. These seitan strips have a very meaty texture that is slightly chewy and crispy just like bacon but an even more delicious flavour that knocks the socks off bacon!

Vegan seitan bacon

2. Vegan Yuba Bacon

While we’re all familiar with using ingredients like tofu or rice paper to make vegan bacon, one ingredient you may not have tried before is yuba.

Yuba is the skin that forms when soy milk is boiled and it has a soft and stretchy texture that’s a little bit rubbery. When fried, it gets nice and crispy, similar to bacon, and soaks up marinades well.

The vegan yuba bacon crisps up wonderfully in the pan and takes on all the flavours of the seasoning, which is a rich and smoky mix of spices, soy sauce, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Vegan Yuba Bacon Sandwich 

3. Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh makes a great alternative to meat for vegan bacon as it soaks up the marinade brilliantly but has a firmer texture than tofu when fried or baked making it a great protein-packed alternative when the bacon cravings hit.

Vegan tempeh bacon

4. Tofu Bacon

This tofu bacon is smoky, crispy and makes and is our go-to recipe when we want a perfectly flavoured and amazingly crispy bacon for a BLT. The trick to get it nice and crispy is to slice the tofu thinly and turn halfway through cooking.

Vegan Smoked Tofu BLT Sandwich

5. Rice Paper Bacon

For those who like their bacon extra crispy, rice paper bacon is the answer! This yummy recipe for perfectly crisp bacon made entirely from plants includes a helpful step-by-step guide so you can try your hand at making your own.

best vegan bacon recipes

6. Shiitake Bacon

Not a fan of mock meats but craving the sweet and salty flavour of bacon? Then shiitake mushrooms are the one for you! The little bites of heaven are perfectly sprinkled on salads or in a vegan carbonara.

best vegan bacon recipes

7. Coconut Bacon

In need of a vegan bacon that you can crumble into crispy pieces on top of a salad or pasta dish? Coconut bacon is the best recipe for these occasions! This tasty recipe from Well and Full yields crispy little bits of coconut bacon and is made entirely from natural, plant-based ingredients.

Coconut vegan bacon

8. Thai Coconut Bacon

Another recipe for coconut bacon, but this time using the flesh of whole Thai coconut meat. If you’re able to get your hands on young coconut meat then give this vegan bacon recipe a try because has all the tangy-salty-sweetness of bacon and a realistically chewy yet crispy texture to boot!

Thai Coconut Bacon

9. Crispy Vegan Smoked-Mushroom Bacon

Mushrooms are such a versatile ingredient when it comes to making plant-based meats. From mince to pulled chicken and even scallops, they can be used in so many different ways.

This recipe uses  thinly sliced King Oyster mushrooms to create vegan bacon with the perfect crisp-but-pliant texture of ‘the real thing’ and shows you how to use a jerry-rigged stovetop smoker to give them sweet, bacon-like flavour.

Crispy Vegan Smoked-Mushroom Bacon

10. Crispy Eggplant Bacon

Whether you know it as eggplant or aubergine, there’s no denying it makes a great alternative to bacon for sandwiches and breakfasts. Sliced eggplant is brushed with a smoky sauce and baked to perfection in this delicious recipe.

Crispy Eggplant Vegan Bacon recipe

11. Banana Peel Bacon

This might seem like an unusual ingredient to use, but we love the fact it means you can use all those leftover banana peels from your banana bread and put them to good use.

The bacon doesn’t taste like banana but instead absorbs all of the wonderful flavours of the marinade to make a plant-based bacon that’s crispy, chewy, and a bit greasy just like traditional bacon.

Banana Peel Bacon

12. Vegan Carrot Bacon

Salty and sweetly smoky, this delicious, easy-to-make vegan carrot bacon is made from carrots and just five other basic store cupboard ingredients.

Vegan Carrot Bacon

These vegan bacon recipes would taste delicious on top of one of these vegan burgers!

Written by

Rachel Smith

Having launched the brand's digital presence in 2015, Rachel shares her love for animals and the planet through her work as Vegan Food & Living’s Digital Editor. As a passionate vegan for over eight years, Rachel loves creating delicious vegan dessert recipes for her award-winning blog, Rawberry Fields. Rachel's recipes and photography have been featured in numerous international print and digital publications including the Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Thrive, and Buzzfeed. You can follow Rachel at @rawberryfields

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