My girlfriend and her daughter are both vegan, so I am always looking for new foods and recipes that we can all enjoy together. They absolutely love this vegan version of bacon, and even as a carnivore, I love it too. Unlike some vegan approximations of animal-based foods that miss the mark, I would eat this bacon any day. It is also probably an order of magnitude healthier for you than the real thing. As you can see in the attached video clip, our pig, Overton Spoon thinks it tastes great too! And being made of bacon, he should know!
The base for for this bacon is the wonderful porcini, aka boletus edulis, aka king bolete. The flavor, size, and dense nature of this mushroom make it a perfect choice. On the west coast, porcini come up a couple weeks after the first rains and can often be found at farmers markets, specialty stores, and occasionally at regular super markets. Smoking the mushrooms at the end really gives this "bacon" a wonderful flavor and is easy ad fast to do. Another option would be to use "liquid smoke" which is available at the grocery store.
If you are unable to acquire porcini, you can substitute any other sizable, dense mushroom, such as the king oyster, which is commonly available at asian markets.
Step 1: Let's Get Started!
- Fresh porcini(or king oyster or other large mushroom). If possible pick mushrooms with a big thick stipe, as there will be considerable shrinkage in the oven.
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Sriracha Sauce
- Maple syrup
- brown sugar
- Hickory chips(for smoking)
Preheat your oven to 350.
The first thing I do is cut off the caps and save for later. I then take the stem and run a potato peeler over it, just to remove the outermost layer, which can be slightly tougher. It also leaves you with a very clean mushroom. I try not to use water, as the mushrooms will suck up water quickly and we are trying to remove most of the water.
Next, slice the mushrooms into slabs and slices between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick. This may seem thicker than bacon, and it is, but remember there will be a lot of shrinkage. Get a couple baking sheets, cover with aluminium foil, and brush them with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil. This keeps the mushrooms from sticking and also adds some fat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, flip and repeat.
Place baking sheets in the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes. After the time goes off, flip the mushroom pieces with tongs and put back in the over for another 20 minutes. What we are going for here is a happy middle ground between floppy and burnt. Remove pieces as they look done. They will finish at different times so it's good to check it every 5 minutes or so. Continue to flip every 20 minutes. The total time will probably be between 40 and 80 minutes, depending on how thick you slices your mushrooms and how high their water content is.
I will typically do two batches of 2 trays. So after the first batch finishes, I will set aside and repeat.
Leave the oven on, as we are going to throw the bacon back in after smoking.
Step 2: Finishing It Up!
Time to mix up the marinade. I use this amount for 4 trays worth of mushrooms, so you can adjust accordingly.
Mix the following in a big bowl:
- 2 Tbs of vegetable oil
- 2 Tbs Sriracha
- 1 Tbs Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Gently toss the mushrooms in the marinade.
For the next step I use a $10 stainless steamer I bought at the asian market, but you can improvise with a pot and steamer insert or something similar. All you really need is something close to airtight to ensconce your bacon in delicious smoke. Put a handful of wood chips(I used hickory) in the bottom and load the steamer trays with the mushrooms. Torch the hickory until it is burning well and then place the steamer trays and lid on top. The lack fresh oxygen will snuff the flame. Delicious smelling smoke will fill the steamer and coat the bacon. Leave for 10 minutes.
Lastly, put the mushrooms back on the tray and pop back in the oven for a few minutes. What was 4 trays of mushrooms will now fit on one tray :(This
That's it!. My favorite way to enjoy vegan bacon is in a Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato sandwich, or in a Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and sautéed porcini.
Thanks for reading! If you like this instructable, please vote for me in the Vegan contest.