You Can Make A Vegan Bacon Substitute From Banana Peels

At one point in time, banana peels were just that — banana peels, used only for the satisfaction of opening the ripe, sweet fruit found inside and then discarded along with the rest of your scraps. But those peels offer many of the same key nutrients you get from the fruit itself, including vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium (via Insider). So not only does finding ways to use them cut back your food waste, but it also adds an extra boost of vitamins and nutrients to your diet. Only, you'd probably never imagine creating bacon with them.

While the idea of using banana peels as a meat substitute may be controversial to some, it's completely accepted in cultures around the globe. In fact, people in Brazil use up banana peels as a substitute for the roast used in one of the country's most traditional recipes: carne louca (via Culture Trip). The New York Times also describes similar recipes from Venezuela that use banana peels as a substitute for beef, along with other Indian and Bangladeshi recipes that use many different parts of the banana plant — from the peels to the flowers and even the trunks.

It's understandable if the die-hard bacon lovers are resistant to the idea; However, if you're a vegan, vegetarian, or living a low-waste lifestyle, Real Simple confirms that this is a recipe for you.

Banana peel bacon

Whether you're substituting for beef or pork bacon, banana peels offer a much more sustainable substitution — one that produces no waste, and sacrifices no animals in the process. With beef and pork acting as some of the worst proteins for the environment, per HuffPost, that much is easy to understand. However, a more difficult idea to grasp is how exactly a banana peel can be made to look and taste even remotely similar to the real thing. As it turns out, it's all in the marinade.

Real Simple explains that, when creating the bacon substitute, banana peels have been marinated with a mixture of vegan Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic, and other common barbecue-esque seasonings. However, you're free to use whatever seasonings you like. For example, It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken uses a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika in its recipe — and emphasizes the importance of very ripe banana peels.

Once the banana peels have had anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours of time to marinade, the strips are heated on pan over medium heat, per It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken. In a matter of minutes, they begin to bubble up and turn a nice golden color — transforming into bacon strips before your very eyes. Once fried to your desired crispiness, they can be chopped and added into a salad, used in a vegan BLT, or served the simple way: Alongside your favorite egg alternative.