The Vegan Bacon Guide – 5 ways to make vegan bacon
Bacon! One should almost think it was an oxygen tank and not a piece of meat. I don’t even know how many times I have heard the frase “I would go vegetarian/vegan if bacon was vegan” or “I can’t live without bacon”. Not only one recipe, but 5! And there are even more out there. You can use carrots, eggplant, all kinds of mushrooms … Some will taste almost like real bacon (seitan!) and some will taste more like smoked veggies, but they are all SO good!
I have to say that I did not invent this! But in 2011 the name “facon” was not something most people had heard of. I read about it in another Norwegian food blog, and found it in a couple of American vegan blogs, made my own version of the marinade and BAM! Later years just about every vegan or vegetarian food blogs have at least one recipe for facon.
The secret is in the sauce! You can use whatever vegetable or (plant based) protein source you want, it will still taste like bacon if you use the right marinade. Liquid smoke will make sure of that, but you also need something sweet, salty and something to make a nice crunch. The (not so) secret weapons here are maple syrup or good old ketchup, soy sauce and nutritional yeast.
Experiment with the marinade. Maple syrup gives a nice taste of maple bacon, but if you don’t have that at hand use ketchup instead. Add some freshly ground pepper, or use smoked paprika powder instead of liquid smoke. Add garlic powder or a little bit cumin. Fry some slices/pieces of fresh apples and onions with the facon, this is amazing together with potatoes and white creamy sauce (a real Norwegian traditional dish called “epleflesk”).
I have mostly used tofu as the base for my facon. It’s juicy and so good, but tofu is not so easy to get hold of here in Norway, one has to shop at international food markets etc to get a good, firm tofu at a good price. So I have been searching for cheaper and easier ways to make facon, and boy have I succeeded!
We make our own tempeh, so I started using that. WOW, so delicious! Then I tried mushrooms. Even better!! I also make a lot of seitan, so of course I had to try making seitan facon too. It was TO DIE FOR! Seitan facon is by far the most “meaty” facon I have ever tasted, and we ate over 2 pounds of seitan bacon for one breakfast … Yes, we are 7 people but still. SO GOOD!
Here is the recipe for facon marinade. It’s suitable for all the facon versions below.
1. The Queen herself – tofu facon!
This is the original and have been made for almost 10 years at my house. I hadn’t even thought about using anything other than tofu since it was so good. Now I often use mushrooms or seitan, but I still make a lot of tofu bacon because it’s great, and since my kids love it.
Cut the tofu in strips or pieces, and fry in a little oil. Pour over the marinade and fry until golden and crispy. Here we have made a movie showing you how to make our tofu bacon:
2. Tempeh facon- healthy and delicious!
Tempeh is expensive and almost impossible to come across here in Norway, so … We make our own! It’s easy but takes a while. We make huge batches at a time, so we are not running out. Our freezer always have a lot of nice, homemade tempeh blocks, and we love it!
Cut the tempeh in strips or cubes, fry in a little oil (or use an airfryer), pour the marinade over and fry until golden and crispy.
3. Mushroom bacon – poor man’s bacon!
Ok, I’ll admit it – it feels a little wrong calling this facon “poor man’s bacon”, simply because it’s one of the best versions of bacon I have ever tasted! But mushrooms are cheap and easy to get hold of, so everyone can make this easily and everyone can afford it, anytime. And it makes the most juicy, tasty bacon you can ever imagine!
Cut mushrooms into small pieces or thin slices and fry in a little oil until slightly crispy. Add the marinade and fry until desired crispyness.
4. Seitan Bacon – the most meaty bacon of them all!
Are you looking for something really meaty and similar to the real deal, here it is! We make our own seitan (recipe here, just adjust spices after your own taste), but you can also use store bought seitan. It’s so freaky, even the most meat eating vegan hating bacon lovers will love this!
Just slice up some seitan, pan fry it in oil, add marinade and fry until golden and slightly crispy.
5. Rice paper bacon – for those who like it crunchy!
Not a fan of fatty, juicy bacon? Prefer it thinner and more on the crunchy side? Make ricepaper bacon! It’s made from spring roll rice wrapper, which you just cut into strips, dip (double, so they become slightly thicker) in cold water for 10 seconds (not longer!) and then dip them in the facon marinade. Place them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400 F until crispy. It takes about 7-8 minutes, but check them often because they burn easily.