Eggplant Bacon

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About: Learn more about me here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Featured-Author-shesparticular/ or follow me on Twitter (@shesparticular) (if you're into that sort of thing).

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. . .

Software:
  • 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)
Hardware:
  • 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

  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

  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!
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46 Discussions

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shesparticular

2 years ago

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

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Ormspryde

3 years ago on Introduction

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!

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itsme12i

6 years ago on Introduction

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.

1 reply
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cbaleia

6 years ago on Step 3

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

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shesparticularcbaleia

Reply 6 years ago on Step 3

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

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rcole3

7 years ago on Introduction

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!

1 reply

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.

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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.

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shesparticularbettbee

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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!

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).

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suayres

7 years ago on Step 3

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!

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bettbeesuayres

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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.)

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bettbeesuayres

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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.