|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|
|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:
- I can buy the dried beans and buckwheat groats in the bulk bins at my local health food store very inexpensively, and..
- 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).
- The ingredients are healthy!
- The preparation is extremely easy.
- After baking the "batter", slice it and freeze it for later use.
- Frozen slices go straight into the frying pan and are crispy and ready to eat in minutes.
- 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).
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!