Introduction: Eggplant Bacon

Picture of Eggplant Bacon

Bacon is one of the most delicious foods ever, but one that vegetarians, vegans, and other folks with dietary restrictions are sure to miss it at breakfast time (and lunch, and dinner, and snacks). With a few simple ingredients, you can make a yummy bacon-proxy sure to please all your brunch guests - even pork-aholics.

Step 1: You'll Need. . .

Picture of You'll Need. . .
  • A few small eggplants (Japanese or Italian work best - small ones are preferred since they have fewer or no seeds)
  • Bacon Salt (I like to use the maple or natural, but it's up to you) - if you don't have Bacon Salt or don't have access to it, you can try a mix of salt, pepper, brown sugar, and paprika (and maybe a little onion and garlic powder)
  • Oil for frying (vegetable or canola work well)
  • A mandolin for slicing (if you don't have one, you can use a very sharp knife)
  • A medium sized mixing bowl and a sheet pan with some type of cooling/straining rack over it (sheet pan method is not required, but is recommended)
  • Large cast iron skillet
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Paper towels (brown paper bags can also be used)

Step 2: Prep Your 'Plants

Picture of Prep Your 'Plants
  1. Wash your eggplants well
  2. Peel if desired (leaving the peel on results in crisper slices later
  3. Using the mandolin (or knife) slice approximately 1/8" thick. Make sure to use the finger guard and be very careful so you don't cut yourself!
  4. Put the slices into the mixing bowl and sprinkle in Bacon Salt (you'll need a lot)
  5. Toss the slices around with your fingers until all slices are coated on both sides
  6. You can keep the slices in this bowl or transfer them to the draining rack placed over the sheet pan (if using)
  7. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the bitter fluid to drain from the eggplant

Step 3: Fry 'Em Up

Picture of Fry 'Em Up
  1. Pour approximately an inch of oil into your cast iron pan and heat over medium-high heat
  2. Once the oil is nice and hot, gently wipe off the extra liquid (and some of the Bacon Salt) from each eggplant slice, add slices one at a time to the oil. Be very careful! The high water content in the eggplant slices will make the oil splatter a lot!
  3. Fry until crispy and lightly browned all over (or more brown if you like your bacon extra crispy)
  4. Remove from pan using tongs and place on a layer of paper towels or brown paper bags to wick away the excess oil
  5. Enjoy as is, or make yourself a delicious ELT (eggplant, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich!


shesparticular (author)2016-04-04

I haven't tried that but it sounds like a great idea!

NateM30 made it! (author)2016-04-04

I'm cooking these up as we speak! My question is, can I prepare a lot of slices and put them in the fridge for future cooking? Or do they need to be cooked right away

Ormspryde (author)2015-05-09

I am not by any remote stretch of the imagination vegetarian, but my love for eggplant is eternal and deep, so I think I'll give this a shot!

itsme12i (author)2012-02-21

I won't say this tasted like bacon...but then I can't say that it didn't. the ones that sat in the bacon salt the longest tasted the best. I thought they were pretty delicious. I tried them plain and in a sammich and I am pretty sure I will be eating these regularly. I will probably try the oven method...or maybe my GF grill to save a little on fat calories. overall this was a success. thanks.

shesparticular (author)itsme12i2012-02-21

Thanks so much! So glad you gave them a shot and enjoyed them!

cbaleia (author)2012-02-04

Do you think these would turn out okay if I baked them rather then fried them??

shesparticular (author)cbaleia2012-02-05

You could certainly give it a shot :) It sounds like others have tried baking them with good results.

cbaleia (author)shesparticular2012-02-05

Excellent! I am definitely going to give it a shot! :) These sound yummy!

rcole3 (author)2011-12-10

I love meat and eat meat when I can.. BUT sometimes my diet and/or body won't allow it. So, why do people have to hate when it has nothing to do with them! Thanks for the recipe... it's great!

shesparticular (author)rcole32011-12-10

Thanks so much - hope you enjoy it!

lmunn (author)2011-07-23 doing this.

shesparticular (author)lmunn2011-07-23

Please post pictures of your results - hope you love it!

Mr. Potato Head (author)2011-04-18

It may indeed be quite yummy, but all of you vegans need to accept the simple fact that there's no such thing as a "bacon-proxy". It's either bacon (easily identified by the pools of rendered pork fat it sweats onto your plate) or it's not. My only complaint with the whole vegan thing is this quest for "virtual carnivore" experiences. They're just not gonna happen.

bettbee (author)Mr. Potato Head2011-05-24

Oh, Mr. Potato Head, you are so very wrong. We have plenty of substitutes. They may not look, feel, or taste exactly like their crueler cousins, but they are good enough and make us happy. Why you would bother having any complaint at all with the whole vegan thing eludes me - you aren't one, so why go there? Your life is perfect and you NEED something to complain about? Or just to be rude 'cause it lets you vent your frustrations on other people? Sheesh.

And for those who persist in asking why a vegetarian would want substitutes - well, we generally still like the tastes that we grew up with, we simply choose not to eat them. So we get as close as we can. At times, the subs are very close indeed, at others, not so close but also delicious (or not) in their own way. Still NYFP.

shesparticular (author)bettbee2011-05-24

Well said, bettbee. Outside of those who are vegans and vegetarians, there are also loads of folks around the world who don't eat meat at all or don't eat pork for religious reasons.

On a somewhat unrelated note, you might want to check out these Vegan Pecan Pies - they're pretty great!

rtanner (author)Mr. Potato Head2011-04-28

I would have to agree. :)

Fair point. I guess it's the closest thing to bacon (something that I stopped eating for dietary reasons) that I've been able to find. For vegans and vegetarians (as well as more orthodox Jews, Muslims, and others), bacon is off limits (but remains delicious, so a close substitute is often much appreciated).

suayres (author)2011-05-18

This sounds very promising (a promising premise.....hmmmm!). Have you ever tried a baked version of this? I'm a weight watcher and try to avoid frying foods wherever & whenever possible. It seems to me that, if you brushed the slices lightly with oil and placed them on a rack on a cookie sheet, then baked at, say, 425-450F until crispy, you would have a lighter version that's just as good. Hmmm. I think I predict some experimentation in my future. Thanks for the springboard!

bettbee (author)suayres2011-05-24

I do this baked all the time. I slice the eggplant fairly thinly, but not as thin as if I'm frying it, and put the oven on broil but put the pan about 2/3 down in the oven, and let 'em rip 'til they're nice and brown, then turn and brown on the other side. It's also nice to slice up other veggies and do the same with them. Onion slices are especially good done this way. I do spray mine with olive oil (I use a misto sprayer and use my own oil.)

shesparticular (author)bettbee2011-05-24

Thanks bettbee, that sounds like a great way to do it in the oven!

bettbee (author)suayres2011-05-24

PS - When I'm doing any faux bacon I use liquid smoke and maple sugar rather than the bacon salt, which has some stuff I don't like. A very little liquid smoke goes a long way.

shesparticular (author)suayres2011-05-18

I haven't tried it, but I would actually suggest baking at a low temperature (150 degrees or so if your oven can manage, or as low as it can go) for several hours. I don't imagine you'd actually need to put oil on, especially if you use a Silpat or parchment. If you have access to one, I bet a food dehydrator would also work very well, and would allow for a low cooking temperature over a very long period of time, yielding a nice and crispy end product.

Please let me know how your experiments go - I'd love to know if it can be baked and what works best!

suayres (author)shesparticular2011-05-18

I'm get back to you on that--and I actually, I have several silpat-oids (got them at Aldi around christmas last year, they were very reasonably priced unlike the branded ones, so I invested, very happily). If you are interested, I'd keep an eye peeled around christmas time again. The low temp option sounds very promising.

shesparticular (author)suayres2011-05-18

Can't wait to hear how they turn out!

noahh (author)2011-05-18

This looks very good. Do you think any other vegetables would work in lieu of eggplant? Do you need something with a relatively bland flavor or does the bacon salt overpower anything in its way?

shesparticular (author)noahh2011-05-18

I've also done this with carrots and they turned out pretty well. The only difference in the process was that they don't need to sit as long before frying. Thanks for the question!

The Locksmith (author)2011-05-17

You are a god.

Goddess, actually. I'm not, but thank you :)

Well, a diva at the least :)
I am going to try this and your oatmeal milkshake. I'll post photos!

Awesome! Can't wait to hear/see how they turn out for you

flyingpuppy (author)2011-05-09

I'm drooling...


iminthebathroom (author)2011-04-21

wonder if you could bake it on high heat in a silpad and still be crispy. "silpad is like restaurant grade silicone baking mat - more non-stick then even parchment" I have made crispy strawberry jerky on them. I'll have to give it a try

I'm a huge fan of my Silpats - they're amazing! I think it would probably work if baked at a very low temperature for a long-ish period of time, or if a food dehydrator was used (or at least it would be similar). I opt for frying though since I don't make it often and frying imparts some of the fattiness of bacon that baking might not.

How true, think I called them a silpad, whoops

No worries - I knew just what you meant!

shesparticular (author)2011-04-20

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean?

mikeasaurus (author)2011-04-19

Hmmm..A tasty alternative, I'll need to remember this for my veggie friends next time!
When making the eggplant bacon a little crispier, does it become brittle like bacon? Thinking of eggplant/bacon salad.

Awesome question! It becomes quite crisp (and brittle) rather quickly. When it's about as brown as pictured above it breaks up easily and would be great for a salad. When frying though, make sure to keep an eye on it, as it goes very quickly from crisp and delicious to charred, burnt, and inedible.

Xenobia (author)2011-04-18

I used a packet of oriental noodle flavouring with a little paprika to flavour mine instead of bacon salt and it worked great. I would have never of thought to use eggplant as a bacon substiute so thanks!

shesparticular (author)Xenobia2011-04-18

That sounds like an awesome flavor substitution! Hope you enjoyed them!

frenzy (author)2011-04-17

yum! more vegan un-bacons!

shesparticular (author)frenzy2011-04-18


joconnelly (author)2011-04-18

This looks really good. Do bear in mind though that if you are vegan or dairy intolerant, that only the Hickory Bacon Salt is dairy-free and vegan.

Thanks so much for pointing that out (forgot to mention it!). Vegan folks may want to try their own mixture of salt and spices instead (and please do post if you find something particularly tasty).

scoochmaroo (author)2011-04-17

I find liquid smoke goes a long way in satisfying my needs for bacon flavor too. This looks amazing!

Thanks so much! Liquid smoke would be an awesome addition as well (especially if you opted to mix your own salt and spices instead of using Bacon Salt).

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