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November 8, 2010

Amazing Homemade Vegan Bacon, easy! soy-free! gluten-free! freezer friendly!

Vegan bacon with pancakes and herbed potatoes

Nearly five years ago I made the decision to stop eating meat. At the time of the switch my diet relied heavily on store-bought faux meats. I continued eating this way for the first couple of years, but as I learned more about cooking meatless meals from scratch, these products took the back burner.

Through blogging I have learned that a lot of vegetarian/vegans have followed a similar path. Some people stop eating pre-made mock meats because of their desire to eat only natural, unprocessed foods. For others it might be that their tastes have changed and they simply don't want meat substitutes. Yet another reason to shy away from the veg meat products is the cost, which tends to be more expensive than cooking with fresh ingredients from scratch. My reasoning was largely influenced by the cost of these products, but also I did not feel the need for them with all of the new and exciting things I was learning to cook from scratch.

Vegan bacon, tomato and avocado on toast
When I transitioned to veganism in January of this year I came back around on mock meats, because I discovered the possibility of making them from scratch. Somehow seitan had evaded me in all of my years of vegetarianism (hello, chorizo!), and it never occurred to me to make homemade bean burgers. Homemade vegan bacon is one of the more recent things I have played around with. The most common type of homemade vegan bacon is made with tempeh, a close second is the eggplant variety -- both tasty in their own right. Then back in August I came across a bean and buckwheat based recipe, and had a feeling that this was something really special.

Slicing the freshly baked bacon, before frying

My feeling was right, this recipe is very special. There are many things that I love about this vegan bacon, let me count the ways:
  1. I can buy the dried beans and buckwheat groats in the bulk bins at my local health food store very inexpensively, and..
  2. all of the other ingredients the recipe are always on hand in my kitchen. (Though I have started keeping the beans and buckwheat on hand all the time for this recipe specifically). 
  3. The ingredients are healthy!
  4. The preparation is extremely easy. 
  5. After baking the "batter", slice it and freeze it for later use.
  6. Frozen slices go straight into the frying pan and are crispy and ready to eat in minutes. 
  7. The taste is better than any vegan bacon I have ever had (pre-made or otherwise - though I should mention it doesn't taste as close to the real deal as some of the pre-made varieties, that said I still prefer this bacon). 
I could go on..

Are you convinced yet? Make this bacon, eat it for breakfast, put it in sandwiches, chop it up and add it to soups, salads, and baked potatoes. Whatever you do, just make it! I have made this recipe several times and have adjusted the spices and other flavorings pretty far from where it started to achieve the perfect level of smokey maple flavor. I keep a freezer bag of this bacon on hand at all times, ready to fry up at a moments notice, and I have a feeling that once you try it you will too!

Amazing Homemade Vegan Bacon
(adapted from No Meat Athlete)

1/2 cup dried adzuki beans, or other small red beans
1/3 cup whole grain buckwheat groats (not buckwheat flour)
1 tsp onion powder
1/3 tsp garlic powder
1/3 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp liquid smoke*
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1-1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (if no need to be soy-free, sub bragg's, tamari, or soy sauce)*
1 tbsp tomato paste
1-1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp coconut oil (may sub any oil you prefer)
1/2 tsp salt

Rinse the beans and buckwheat, place in large bowl covered with several inches of cold filtered water; let soak overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Drain and rinse the soaked beans and buckwheat.  Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade, along with all of the other ingredients. Pulse several times to combine, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and continue pulsing until uniform, but not completely pureed.

Line a 9 x 13 casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Place bacon batter in pan and spread evenly with a spatula. You may choose to spray another piece of parchment paper lightly with baking spray and press the paper on top of the mixture and flatten with your hands. Remove and discard the top piece of parchment paper, then use a spatula to spread over and fill in any bare spots.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into 24-32 strips, whatever size you prefer, I cut mine into 1 inch by 4 inches slices (Do this by making one lengthwise cut down the center, and then 12-16 cuts across the shorter side. See photo above).

At this point freeze any strips your don't plan on eating immediately. Frozen strips can go straight into the skillet at a later date, no need to thaw first. To fry, heat a skillet with a small amount of oil and fry both sides to desired level of crispiness. You may also choose to fry slices in cooking spray, for a less crispy, but still very delicious result.

*Not all brands of liquid smoke are gluten-free. Thanks to Jessy for the gluten-free, soy-free tips!


  1. Oh my goodness I love you!!!! In a totally non-creepy way of course. It's just that my son can't have soy, and I'm always looking for new recipes to try. Thank you. :)

  2. I'm going to have to try this - I think my son will really like it. I love the look of your blog, very easy to read and the pictures are beautiful.

  3. So clever and delicious looking. Pork was the first meat to go from my recipe repertoire. Will try out on my bacon-loving husband; he misses the real thing, but maybe this will help his perpetual withdrawal. ; )

    Glad you are feeling well enough to blog often.

  4. Very cool. thanks for sharing. May need to try this one out!

  5. I am very impressed! I've only had tempeh bacon so far. I've seen eggplant bacon on some blogs in the past, have you tried it?

  6. Very interesting looking recipe. Shame I hate buckwheat! Still, bookmarked to try later. Thanks for the pointer.

  7. Yum! This looks awesome! I'm always on the look-out for soy-free meat alternatives.

  8. Yes! It looks and sounds fantastic! I think I'll try this next time I make bacon!

  9. What a neat concept! Definitely have to try this.

  10. wow! amazing recipe! thanks for highlighting this!

  11. Oh my. I am a tempeh bacon fiend. I will have to try this.

  12. This is a great idea that I never would have thought of doing. I'm totally giving it a whirl. Thanks!

  13. I have tried tempeh, coconut, eggplant, and shiitake, and of those shiitake is my favorite, but it's only in crumbles. I will definitely be trying your recipe!

  14. looks like a wonderful breakfast meal!

  15. I've never seen a recipe like this one, definitely going to give it a try. :)

  16. i cannot WAIT to try this recipe!!! thanks for sharing!

  17. This sounds crazy awesome! I love that it's made from real whole food ingredients and not from processed stuff!

  18. I followed a similar path when veggie, and tried to make my own sausage (used seitan, couldn't get it to stay together). I can't wait to try this, it's genius!

  19. ooooooooooooh, yum! i remember seeing this on the No Meat Athlete a while ago, but i totally forgot about it probably 'cause i was debating whether or not it was gonna be any good. sweet awesomeness - i can't wait to try your version, Sarah! you better believe i'm printing this off right now. thanks so much!

  20. Is there a special reason you chose coconut oil? Could I sub that for any oil? (Am allergic to coconut.) Just wondering if you chose it for taste or consistency or just oil so I'll know what to try and duplicate... Thanks! "Bacon" quest continues...

  21. That bacon looks SO good! I never thought you could make bacon out of beans. But then again if you would have told me a few years ago you could make a burger out of beans I would have thought you were lying. That is pretty awesome and I'll definitely be giving this a try. I'm going to add you to my blogroll because you've just become one of my new favorites! :D

  22. Genius! I love adzuki beans and this sound like a great way to use them. I like that they're freezer friendly.

  23. That looks absolutely amazing - I have to give it a try. Any idea what I can use as a substitute for liquid smoke ?

  24. Wow that is exciting - I have tried tempeh bacon a few times and it will never crisp so I am going to try this - I even have some buckwheat groats in my pantry so I reckon I can have a go!

  25. I'm bookmarking this recipe now =)

  26. How is it I hadn't seen this recipe yet?? On my to-make list STAT! :D

  27. For at least the first couple of years of being a vegetarian, I couldn't understand really why vegetarians would eat fake meat. Now I eat it sometimes to add some variety. It took me a while to discover homemade seitan, and I'm totally hooked! Especially when it's baked instead of boiled. I'm definitely adding this vegan bacon recipe to my to make list! I tried a storebought tempeh bacon recently and didn't like it though I know everyone swears by tempeh bacon (though usually the homemade version).

  28. Thank you for not putting wheat and other gluten ingrediants in this! Finally a vegan bacon I can partake of!!!

  29. This looks amazing! I am totally trying this ..

  30. I am SO thrilled that I stumbled across this site- I am eliminating soy from my diet so recipes like this one really give me hope that culinary yumminess is still a possibility- thank you!

  31. This recipe is now bookmarked !!
    Congratulations and greetings from France :)


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