What is the most-craved meat item among omnivores turned vegetarians? I bet you didn’t have to think too hard about that one, eh? Yup, bacon. It’s not really all that surprising: bacon is salty and crispy and totally crave-worthy. I can’t say that cravings for bacon are keeping me up at night, but, once and a while I reminisce about the times prior to the Bomont music ban when Bacon was still allowed to dance deliciously upon my taste buds (somebody?…anybody…?).

On a related note, you know that little refrigerated section next to the produce in grocery stores?…the one that contains all of the veggie-versions of carnivorous products? Yeah, that’s the one. I don’t like it. Firstly, the products aren’t delicious, and secondly, I am totally convinced that they contain any real nutritional value. So what do I do? DIY, of course.

I have made many, homemade, vegetarian meat substitutes, and I love them. They are fun to make, healthier, and they make you feel totally accomplished. True.

Not only is this bacon not a sodium and fat factory in and of itself, this vegan version is actually healthy. Yes, healthy. It’s packed full of good things: primarily adzuki beans and buckwheat groats, but there are also some tasty supporting players: coconut oil and maple syrup among others.

If you’ve never introduced buckwheat into your diet, here’s what, Nutritionist, Leslie Beck has to say about these cute little guys:

“[Buckwheat groats are] closer to being a complete protein than other plant sources, including soybeans, since it contains all eight essential amino acids in good proportion. In particular, [buckwheat] contains significant amounts of the amino acid lysine, which makes it unique as a grain substitute, since this amino acid is typically lacking in most true grains.

[They are] full of B vitamins and [are] rich in phosphorous, potassium, iron and calcium. One cup of buckwheat kasha kernels contains more than 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber.”

So, has this lean vegan bacon just captured the heavy-weight championship belt in its cross-division competition? In the world of vegetarian/vegan bacon substitutes, this recipe can comfortably and confidently run a lap around the arena with, said, belt held high above its head in celebration of its superiority. If you’re wanting real bacon,however, these fabulous little vegan strips and I probably won’t pull the wool over your eyes. Carnivore or not, give this a try. It’s healthier, actually has nutritional value, is crispy, and is super fun to make.

My finacee is a born-again carnivore and, rather than shunning this veganized version of a meat-lover’s favourite, he has welcomed it into his heart. And he even enjoys it.

Sold? You should be.

Vegan Bacon

Source: No Meat Athlete


  • 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans or other small red beans
  • 1/3 cup hulled wholegrain buckwheat
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke**
  • 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos (May be substituted with soy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

1. Rinse the beans and buckwheat,  place in large bowl covered with several inches of cold filtered water; let soak overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Strain the soaked beans and buckwheat and rinse.

4. Place in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the onion powder, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, aminos or soy sauce, salt, tomato paste, coconut oil, and maple syrup.

5. Pulse several times to combine, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and continue pulsing until uniform but not as pureed as hummus.

6. Line a standard-size cookie sheet with parchment paper and coat pan with baking spray.  Place bacon mixture in pan and spread as much as possible with a spatula.  To get the mixture very thin and evenly spread, spray another piece of parchment paper lightly with baking spray and press the paper on top of the mixture and flatten with your hands.  Remove and discard the top piece of parchment paper, then use a spatula to spread over and fill in any bare spots.

7. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then slice into 24 strips, about 1 inch by 4 inches (Do this by making one lengthwise cut down the center, and then twelve cuts across the shorter side).  Remove the strips with a small spatula.

8. When you’re ready to eat it, heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.  Fry the bacon slices for 2-3 minutes, flipping once.  Alternatively, before frying, you can freeze the bacon, then fry when ready to serve (no need to thaw first).

**It is the hickory smoke that imparts the typical, smoky, flavour to this wolf-in-lamb’s-clothing of the bacon world. I have found it at Loblaws; I imagine most larger supermarkets would carry this. It comes in a little bottle and is quite potent.