Crispy Meatless BEAN BACON

Introduction: Crispy Meatless BEAN BACON

About: Hi! I'm Jeromina Juan. Former blogger. Former freelance crafts contributor for Canadian Living in print and Craftzine online. Former full-time civil engineering Utility Design Coordinator. Former part-t...

Bacon is entirely off limits in our pork-free household, granted we are still meat eaters. I’m a former bacon-eater and for over 6 years now have relied on turkey bacon to satisfy cravings. What I have here today is a mind-blowing meatless recipe to satisfy the hunger of former bacon-eaters like me.

This recipe is absolutely protein-packed, made entirely of small red beans and garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) with just some water and lots of flavorful seasoning. Who knew that you could get such crispy, meatlessly meaty, and oh-so-bacony strips from red beans and chickpeas? It's quite simple, you will want to make it all the time in as many meals as possible. Try not to hog it all.

I have entered this into the Meatless Meal Contest and I would appreciate your votes! Thank you so much!

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Step 1: Bean Flours

I automatically reached for canned beans in my first attempt, but don't do that! They are too hydrated and yield soft, mushy bacon that just won't crisp up (think refried beans).

You need bean flours. You can purchase bean flours, but it's much easier and far cheaper to make them at home. Dried beans are sold everywhere.

For this bean bacon recipe, I used dried small red beans and chickpeas. I whirred a batch of each in my blender (a small quantity of about half a cup at a time to be gentle on the motor), put it through a sieve to sift away grainy chunks, and I got myself some bean flours! Easy chickpeasy!

UPDATE and WARNING: It has been brought to my attention that red kidney beans contain toxins when unsoaked and eaten raw. This recipe uses small red beans that are soaked for a few minutes in the batter and cooked in very hot oil. However, given I'm not a food scientist or have much knowledge of the ramifications of eating beans in this manner (only soaked for a few minutes, and only cooked in oil i.e. not boiled), I would suggest go ahead and be safe -- buy the commercial bean flours! And do not use red kidney beans at all costs!

Step 2: Savor the Flavor

To make some flavor-packed, crispy, meatless bean bacon, you'll need:


Red bean flour

Garbanzo bean/chickpea flour

Liquid smoke - hickory (at least), but I also used applewood

Maple syrup

Tapioca starch - this gooey starch is key in giving the bacon some chew, which you can't get on beans alone (and no, corn starch is just not the same)

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Cumin

Smoked sweet paprika

Brown sugar

Salt

Canola oil for pan-frying

Amounts specified in the next step...

Step 3: Bean Bacon Batters

You will need two separate bowls, one each for the red bean batter and chickpea batter in order to get the quintessential pink and white striping. I slightly varied the seasoning in each, to get a different taste combination in each bite. If you're in a rush and don't need to have convincing bacon stripes, then go ahead and combine everything together.

For the red bean batter, you will need: 1/4 cup red bean flour; 1 tbsp tapioca starch; 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked sweet paprika, and salt*; 1/8 tsp cumin; 2 tsp maple syrup; 1/2 tsp hickory liquid smoke; and about 1/2 cup water.

For the chickpea batter, you will need: 1/4 cup chickpea flour; 1 tbsp tapioca starch; 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, and salt*; 1/8 tsp cumin; 2 tsp brown sugar; 1/2 tsp applewood liquid smoke; and about 1/3 cup water.
*NOTE: You can go heavier on the salt, as you wish. Bacon is very salty afterall. What I like to do is grind some smoked salt on it after it cooks for more punch of salt.

1. For each batter, combine the dry ingredients first.

2. Whisk in the liquid ingredients. NOTE: the above water amounts may be variable depending on how finely your flour was ground as the texture will dictate how much water is absorbed.

3. You want to have a thin, runny consistency as shown. RUNNY batter = THIN and CRISPY bean bacon.

4. Place each batter in a piping bag or ziplock bag and let sit for 5 minutes to allow bean flours to absorb the water.

This batter yields about 16 large bacon strips.

Step 4: Pan-fried Bean Bacon

The key to delicious bean bacon is pan-frying to a crisp.

1. Heat a non-stick skillet at around medium heat. Cover the pan in about 1/8" of oil. Make sure the oil is sufficiently heated.

2. Cut about 1/4" off of each piping bag tip. The batter is very runny, so in between uses, lean the piping bags inside the walls of a bowl to ensure batter doesn't leak out.

3. Using both hands, one piping bag in each and tips touching, simultaneously pipe together stripes of batter to form strips, making sure the batter is laid thin so the strips crisp up. I like making 2 quick passes side by side so that I have 4 alternating stripes in a single strip. Do not overcrowd as the batter spreads and they may connect together.

When the batter hits the pan, the edges should sizzle, but not become lacy with lots of holes.. If the edges become lacy, turn down your heat a notch for the next batch.

4. Fry until edges are crisp and the underside is brown, about 2 minutes.

5. Flip and fry another minute or two until your desired crispness and color are reached.

6. Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel. You want to make sure the extra grease is drained as the strips absorb a lot of oil. I didn't go heavy on the salt in the batter as I prefer to finish the cooked strips with some smoked salt.

7. Repeat until all batter is used and make a giant meatless bacon pile!

Step 5: "Bacon Mix" for Future Meals

You can prepare some very convenient bean bacon mix for future use. Then all you need to do is add water, liquid smoke, and maple syrup.

Now you can eat bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without actually eating bacon. Here are some traditional meals you can have bacon-free using this tasty alternative and taking with you a meal rich in protein, fiber, iron, and nutrients that beans offer.

For breakfast -- serve your bean bacon with eggs and diced hash browns.

For lunch -- prepare your bean bacon with slices of bread, lettuce, and tomatoes for a nutrient-dense BLT sandwich.

For dinner -- enjoy a bean bacon-forward caesar salad. It is exceptionally convincing in a caesar! I will try a pasta carbonara soon. I think it is where bacon finishes off a dish that this can fool tastebuds.

Any cooked strips can be reheated to a crisp in an air fryer or toaster/convection oven.

Savor all the ways you can have crispy, meatless, bacon-free bean bacon!

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    23 Discussions

    0
    SoniaR6
    SoniaR6

    10 days ago

    I eat meats except for pork and bottom feeders like crustaceans and mollusks. I am going to try this just because I think it is a neat idea. I stopped eating pork and bottom feeders 6 years ago and never felt better. My arthritis has eased off too. Thank you for sharing the recipe and how to. :)

    0
    sonjalewis
    sonjalewis

    12 days ago

    The "red beans" you used are probably Adzuki beans (Vigna angularis), popular in Japanese cooking, and not related to red kidney beans (so you can probably make flour with them safely). Adzuki beans are shaped more like black beans--shorter & rounder than kidney) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean Your Bean Bacon looks so delicious, and you are very creative!!

    0
    AdyO2
    AdyO2

    Question 17 days ago on Step 1

    but aren't unsoaked red kidney beans highly poisonous?

    0
    sonjalewis
    sonjalewis

    Answer 12 days ago

    Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean and scroll down to learn more about bean toxicities. Red kidney beans, raw or undercooked, are toxic. Soaking doesn't appear to affect that. Soaking helps remove undigestible sugars that cause gas. Many beans related to kidney beans (including green beans) may be toxic if raw.

    0
    paperplateandplane
    paperplateandplane

    Answer 17 days ago

    Wow, I hadn't heard of that before and read up on it. It turns out that red kidney beans do contain some toxins when eaten raw. This recipe doesn't use red kidney beans, but uses small red beans. The batter soaks them for a few minutes and then it is cooked at high heat in oil for another few minutes. But I will go ahead and put a warning in case! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Maybe I will simply suggest to buy bean flours, because they are available in the market and must undergo some processing that removes the toxins.

    2
    Rae1929
    Rae1929

    24 days ago

    Where do you buy Tapioca Stsrch?

    2
    dewigunawanoei
    dewigunawanoei

    Reply 18 days ago

    You can buy Tapioca Starch in Asian Market, such as 99 Ranch Market, or you can substitute with Corn Starch.

    0
    Rae1929
    Rae1929

    Reply 18 days ago

    I’m in Wyoming. No Asian or any kind of specialty stores. But thanks!

    1
    dewigunawanoei
    dewigunawanoei

    Reply 18 days ago

    Corn starch is almost similar to tapioca starch. Tapioca starch is more thick and lumpy compare to corn starch, but the usage is similar. As you can see, all my recipes also use tapioca starch, but I mention in my recipe that it can be substitute with corn starch as well. And I have already tried it many times when my tapioca starch runs out. and the result is the same. Corn starch is easier to be found. We can find it in Walmart.
    I hope it helps

    1
    tercero
    tercero

    Reply 18 days ago

    Bulk Barn (in Canada)

    1
    Libby61
    Libby61

    Reply 23 days ago

    If your grocery store has a 'Bob's Red Mill' section in the baking aisle, he sells tapioca flour which is the same thing as tapioca starch. If your grocery store has a 'health food' aisle, it might be there. Walmart carries a brand called "Namaste Foods" and they have it and call it tapioca starch, which may or may not be at your local Walmart. Tapioca pearls will work too as long as you grind them to a powder. Minute Tapioca probably won't work as it has lecithin added to it.

    0
    Rae1929
    Rae1929

    Reply 23 days ago

    Thank you! I can’t wait to try your bacon. That’s one thing I really missed when I went vegetarian several years ago.

    0
    tercero
    tercero

    18 days ago

    Good ible. I don't miss bacon at all, but it's a neat idea. Thanks for posting it.

    3
    TracyL87
    TracyL87

    23 days ago

    Great recipe! I happen to not eat meat and am looking for alternative ways to get those foods I once loved. I appreciate the effort and will try it soon!

    3
    iamunique127
    iamunique127

    24 days ago

    Good photography like yours really makes a good Instructable great. I didn't really need to read the instructions, the photos were nearly enough by themselves. I'm going to surprise my wife and cook something: this bacon. Thanks a lot.

    1
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    27 days ago

    Ooooohhh that is really interesting. It looks perfect :D

    0
    paperplateandplane
    paperplateandplane

    Reply 25 days ago

    Thanks! This was so much fun! I hope you try it out!

    0
    Mimikry
    Mimikry

    26 days ago

    I will sure try this!
    cool recipe!

    0
    paperplateandplane
    paperplateandplane

    Reply 25 days ago

    Thanks! So glad you're trying it out. Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions!

    0
    Asyamra24
    Asyamra24

    Question 25 days ago

    Wow! This vegan bacon look so similar with real bacon 😀
    Can I replace maple syrup with honey?