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It can be hard when making an effort to make choices that are less cruel to the animals that inhabit this planet, especially if you’re just starting out. When I decided to become a vegetarian in 2016, the need for me to stop contributing to the horrible conditions that factory farmed pigs and other animals endure was the driving factor. It’s always about making a choice every time you feed yourself. But did I miss bacon? Yes. The truth is that I miss a lot of things, or, I did miss them. Nowadays, we are blessed with so many plant based substitutes for animal products, it will make your head spin. For that, I’m grateful. But when I can make a substitute that is nearly as good, AND that which is made with whole ingredients, I’m all about it.
Let me introduce you to Coconut Bacon! I had always been skeptical about making coconut bacon, but it truly is marvelous. It’s crunchy, smoky from the smoked paprika and liquid smoke, salty from the soy sauce, and slightly sweet from the maple. The fat content of the coconut is reminiscent of the real stuff. When you bake it off in the oven, your house smells amazing as a result.
Once it comes out of the oven, and onto parchment to dry and crisp up, you’ll be hard-pressed to not snack on it all day long. I made this batch yesterday, and today it’s gone like the wind. Is it as “good” as bacon? No. I doubt anything will ever mimic that in the plant based world, but this is pretty damn close, especially with whole ingredients.
A note worth mentioning – this does soften if you put it atop anything that is very liquidy. It will soften at once, and won’t have the crunch factor that is so appealing. I’d restrict the use of this to wedge salad, baked potatoes, nachos, glazed doughnuts, and avocado toast. Enjoy and let me know what you do with
- 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 3 Drops Liquid Smoke
- 1 Cup Flaked Coconut unsweetened
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika in a medium bowl, mixing well to thoroughly combine. Add the flaked coconut, and gently fold until all surfaces of the coconut are covered with the sauce. Be careful to not break up the coconut flakes while you do this.
- Spread evenly on a small sheet pan, and place in the oven. Toss every 3 minutes, until the 10 minutes is up. Bake until the sauce is slightly sticky, about 10 minutes total. If you see them getting very dark, it's time to take them out.
- Once out of the oven, turn the mixture out onto parchment paper, and separate the flakes the best you can. As they cool, they will harden into crunchy coconut bacon, ready for topping your favorite dishes.