I love bacon, and the only thing stopping me from eating a ton of it is the negative health impact of doing such a thing. So, obviously, I’m NOT a vegan, and I generally find it weird that vegetarians and vegans try to replicate meat with other organic matter. Think of those ridiculously over-processed and overpriced Impossible Burgers. Holy shit, look at this ingredient list: Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, and 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.
If you think that’s good for you, knock yourself out.
But this post is not about vegetarians or vegans—whose lifestyle choices I generally support. I just wanted to try something different with this tofu bacon, and it was worth the try.
That said, don’t delude yourself that this is a replacement for bacon. It’s generally flavorless, but what really works is the texture—it perfectly mimics crispy bacon in its crunch. As such, it’s good for a BLT-type sandwich or even as part of a grilled cheese sandwich.
What you’ll need:
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- BBQ sauce or liquid smoke or even maple syrup for brushing on the tofu slices to make them more “bacon-like”
- Cooking spray
What to do:
Open the tofu package and drain it. Then press the tofu with a heavy skillet on top, or, if you have one, a tofu press. The key here is to get the tofu really dry, so press it for a long time—a minimum of an hour.
Slice the tofu along the short edge into about 1/8”-thick strips, even thinner if you can. While I didn’t try it, I wonder if a mandolin would be a good tool for cutting uniform-thick strips. Lay the strips out and use paper towels to blog any more liquid from them.
At this point you could spend time looking online at other sauces and marinates designed to impart bacon flavor, or you could go the easy route and brush bbq sauce, liquid smoke or maple syrup (why not all three) on the tofu slices and let them sit for awhile before baking them.
To bake, heat your oven to 350 degrees—some people recommend 425, but I feel “low and slow” is the best route here. On a baking sheet, add foil or parchment paper and give it a quick spray with oil. Lay out the slices in a single layer and bake until crisp. Maybe start out with 10 minutes, and check every few minutes until they start to brown. How long this will take depends on how accurate your oven heats, how thick your slices are and how much flavorings you put on them.
When done and crisp, add to your favorite BLT or grilled cheese sandwiches.
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