Vegan Coconut Bacon BLT
I admit, I've been holding this recipe back from you guys. It's been tough keeping it from you while I was working on it over the last couple of weeks! Especially because I dreamed up the idea for this months ago.
But since it's nearing the end of Summer, I realize that letting the season go by without gifting this to you would be so so SO unfortunate.
So, onward, to the most delectable vegan bacon you will ever eat!
There's a lot to love about this coconut bacon recipe. It's crispy and juicy, flexible and flavorful.
It's divine in a BLT, in a vegetarian cobb salad, or alongside a plate of egg or tofu scramble. In vegan grilled cheese? HOLD THE PHONE. Dis ish is about to rock your mother lovin' world!
It's freakily similar to animal-based bacon. Actually, it's most like the fatty marbling in pork bacon. Imagine vegan bacon that tastes like it's made completely out of pork fat.
I should also mention that it got the hearty "holy shit this is good" approval of many meat eaters (and bacon lovers!) at a dinner party I hosted this past week.
I wrapped it around chèvre stuffed dates and then crisped it up briefly under the broiler. Cue the moans of pure, guttural pleasure!
The bacon itself is made with whole Thai coconut meat. The kind you scoop out of the inside of a fresh Thai water coconut.
Then long strips of the coco meat are marinaded in a tangy-salty-sweet sauce.
Then we bake it off. I like to bake it until it's just beginning to crisp on the edges, then broil it briefly to get it super crispy.
I suppose you could also dehydrate the coconut bacon if you have a dehydrator. I haven't tried that, but a friend of mine mentioned she used to make a recipe similar to this at the raw foods kitchen where she worked. And they used a dehydrator there very successfully. If any of you try that, I'd love to hear your results!
For the sauce, I use tamari, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. I also add maple syrup and smoked paprika; I've also used hickory syrup instead of the maple / smoked paprika. Hickory syrup, which is a particularly Virginian product, is very smokey. It's pure simple syrup that's been boiled down with hickory bark. You know "hickory smoked" bacon / sausage/ meat-products? Yeah. That flavor. But sweet.
When it comes to marinating the coconut bacon, I've tried long marination times and short marination times. I prefer a shorter marination time of two hours, as the coconut meat soaks up the marinade rather quickly. But it remains rather firm, which I like.
You could marinate the coco meat overnight, but the coconut bacon comes out less firm when you bake it up. It'll brown quickly on the edges but stay overly soft in the center. Not bad, just not my personal ideal.
I loved this in a quick BLT with sunshine ripe heirloom tomatoes, crisp chilled romaine and this avocado mayo. This avocado oil mayo is so fresh and creamy and tangy, the perfect highlight for the sweet tomato and smokey bacon. That same company makes a vegan mayo with aquafaba. I'm a huge fan!
And I currently exclusively use this gluten free bread, just because it's the best one out there, made with a natural sourdough process. If you are in love with any GF bread brands, share! I'm always on the lookout for badass gf bread.
Some important notes:
- It's important to pick excellent quality Thai water coconuts to get the thickest meat. Shake your coconuts at the market and make sure you can't hear water sloshing around (as if there's an air pocket). You want it so heavy and full of water that there's no sloshing sound when shaken.
- Be a smartie when it comes to opening your coconut. This is a great 1 minute video tutorial! So much easier than my old hack & grunt method. Use a sharp knife that's not too precious.
- Buy 2-3 coconuts, because it's possible that one of your cocos will have thin or more jelly-like meat. Coconuts harvested when really young often have sweet water but very little meat. Just a precaution, to make sure you get some awesome thick meat!
- Use a sharp, big spoon to peel the coconut meat out of the husk in long strips. I do this in a clockwise circle from the top of the coco to the bottom. I'm hoping to get a video tutorial of this done sometime soon to explain this even more clearly!
Vegan Coconut Bacon
Created by Renee on August 19, 2016
Note: if you are getting creative and, say, wrapping this coconut bacon around dates *hint hint* you want to hold off on broiling until your treat is all put together. The coco bacon is very flexible until crisped up under the broiler. // Regarding prep time, mostly you’re waiting around for the bacon to marinade....
- Prep Time: 2h 30m
- Cook Time: 20m
- Yield: 2-3 cups bacon
- 2 -3 thai coconuts, tops lopped off
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (or sub out regular smoked paprika if you prefer it to be mild)
- optional (but awesome): 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- Pour out the coconut water from your thai coconuts and set aside for other uses (I drink mine immediately #addict).
- Using a large, sharp spoon: scrape the meat out of your thai coconuts in long strips. You want them about 6.5" x 1.5". This is a messy process, and perfection is not at all necessary. You\'ll end up with little strips and nubbly bits along with the longer strips. C\'est la vie.
- Place the coconut in a colander and rinse well to remove any woody pulp or shards on the coconut meat.
- Place all of your meat in a quart-sized plastic bag.
- Make the marinade: whisk or blend together the tamari, apple cider vinegar, balsamic, maple syrup, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika and OPTIONAL porcini. If using the porcini you definitely want to blend. I like my immersion blender for this, as it\'s the least messy.
- Pour the marinade in the plastic bag along with the coconut meat. Zip it closed, removing excess air. Squash the marinade around with the meat, making sure your get all of the coco meat totally saturated.
- Set in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
- Once marinated, preheat the oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using tongs (or your hands, although it\'s super messy) lay out each but of bacon on your baking sheets. You want them totally flat, with space between each piece. Don\'t overlap any of the pieces or they won\'t crisp up.
- Bake for 12 minutes, then remove the bacon from the oven and flip each piece using your tongs. Bake for another 4-5 minutes.
- Set the oven to broil and broil for 2-5 minutes, checking frequently, until crisp to your liking. The smaller bits might blacken, but honestly they might be the best bits of the lot.
- Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Best eaten immediately.
Coconut Bacon BLT
Created by Renee on August 19, 2016
BLT’s are all about best quality ingredients. So splurge on some fabulous tomatoes, best quality (or homemade) mayo, your favorite bread and a nice, crisp lettuce. Don’t forget the coco bacon!
- Total Time: 5m
- your favorite bread, toasted
- tipe, sweet heirloom tomatoes
- iceburg lettuce (for crunch) OR a crisp butter lettuce
- avocado oil mayo or vegan mayo
- Celtic sea salt
- pepper, freshly ground
- coconut bacon, still warm from the oven
- Spread mayo over your bread slices, top with crispy lettuce and thick slices of tomato. Add salt and pepper. Top with coconut bacon. Sandwich everything together. Drink with lemonade. Revel in Summertime bliss!