Dining

Can't Believe It's Not Bacon

What the hell is coconut bacon and should you be eating it?
Photo: Meghan Uno/Tasting Table
Coconut Bacon

Giving up bacon may be one of the hardest parts of going vegan or vegetarian. It's so difficult, in fact, that many people even make bacon an exception in their meat-free diet. Or, bacon can serve as the gateway drug that converts vegans or vegetarians back to the dark (meat) side.

For vegans and vegetarians who have eliminated bacon, a new vegan hack is coming to the rescue. Meet coconut bacon: A replacement that's been making waves in the food blogging community for some time now and is about to rock your meat-free world.

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Coconut bacon is made with unsweetened coconut flakes that have been mixed with salt and spices and baked in the oven to achieve a flavor and consistency that's remarkably like the real thing. Recipes differ slightly, but typically include soy sauce, maple syrup, salts or spices and liquid smoke. If you can't find liquid smoke, smoked salt or chipotle powder will do the trick.

The baked coconut flakes retain only a subtle trace of their original flavor—the smoke and spice dominating the conversation instead. It's not just about flavor, either. Baked in the oven, the flakes become oily and crispy, mimicking the texture of crispy bacon.

Every once in awhile, a vegan craze hits the blogosphere like this. There was the popular flax egg, aquafaba (an egg replacement made from chickpea brine that is just starting to make waves), or using avocado in baking or smoothies. More than just passing trends, these tricks really strike a chord because they actually taste good.

Coconut bacon should be no exception. Oddly addictive, this bacon crumble-like treat goes well on salads, potato skins, nachos and, of course, maple bacon doughnuts. It's also good by the handful.

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