Thursday, October 13, 2011

Makin' Bacon

You don't need to buy the pre-packaged kind of veggie bacon. Really. It's easy to make your own. 

I'm at the the end of the garden season, and I have a few eggplants left. There are many lovely things to do with eggplants, but I'd never considered that they could be turned into - yes, truly - bacon. When I saw this recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen, I thought, "No way. That will be soggy and gross. But it wasn't - it was crispy and chewy and just right.  And if you don't count the non-stick spray, there are really only three ingredients. I just made half the recipe - one eggplant's worth - and immediately regretted that I'd only made half. I ate the entire pan's worth of "bacon."

(You could make it look more "bacony" by using the long, Japanese-style eggplants and slicing the strips the long thin way, if you wanted.)

You can use a similar marinate to make tofu bacon. I didn't get fancy when I sliced it, but if you prefer the long, thin strips, you can certainly do that. I used my Tofu Xpress and the water-packed style of tofu for this recipe; I don't recommend the soft/silken style that you buy in the aseptic boxes. I made it almost exactly the same way as the eggplant recipe above, but I baked the tofu about twice as long to evaporate more water out of the tofu, and I added a little nutritional yeast and a bit of real maple syrup to the soy-smoke marinate.

1 package of water-packed tofu, drained well, sliced into 1/8" strips, and patted dry
1/4 c. soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

Heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray it with nonstick. Lay the tofu pieces on the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake another 5-10 minutes. While they're baking, mix the other ingredients in a shallow dish. 

When the tofu comes out, dip each piece in the sauce, and return to the baking sheet. Bake another 5 minutes, then remove them and dip them again.  Repeat this process until the "bacon" is as chewy as you'd like. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a long time. Use them for BLT's, dice them for "bacon bits", whatever!

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