Faking bacon is one of the most challenging things in vegan and raw cooking. There’s a lot of different recipe types out there, with great flavor, but not necessarily a true-to-life, “mock” bacon option. These are alternatives, but when you want that smoky, maple-like flavor, with the crunch, there’s only a few plant-based options that come close. Coconut is one of them. The secret in the flavor has to do with the addition of liquid smoke.
So what is liquid smoke? Liquid smoke is generally made by condensing the smoke from wood, but with additional food additives included. A water-soluble, yellow to red liquid, basically used for flavoring. The concept behind it is to provide that wood smoke flavor to foods without actually cooking the food on smoked wood. Although liquid smoke is not considered the heathiest thing to consume, there are some natural liquid smoke products that are better to use for when you do crave that true bacon taste. Colgin’s Natural Liquid Smoke is one of them. It’s basically water, natural hickory smoke flavor, vinegar, molasses, and natural caramel color. Just know that you don’t need much for this recipe. If you choose not to use liquid smoke, you can always substitute for more tamari, or aminos, but I highly recommend you give it try. You’ll find a lot of vegan recipes use this liquid smoke.
So moving on. This recipe is quite simple, and fast to make. The best coconut to use for this is dry, unsweetened, coconut flakes. Not the shredded, but the flakes. You could use raw young Thai coconut meat – which I have done before. But, it doesn’t seem to work as well as the coconut flakes do.
Coconut bacon bits are great to use as a finger food snack, top salads, on tofu scramble, mixed with vegetables, or even as an ice cream topping. Sweet and savory is always a hit!
Just a few notes before you get started. Make sure you line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Don’t use foil, or straight on the pan. This could cause the flakes to burn while baking in the oven. Also, be sure to toss and stir the flakes throughout the baking process, so that it bakes evenly, and doesn’t over cook in areas. You’ll be able to tell by the “smoke” coming from the liquid smoke. I recommend stirring it around about every 5 minutes. Okay, so now for the recipe!
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, flaked coconut
- 1 T coconut aminos (you can substitute with soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos)
- 2 tsp liquid smoke (I recommend Colgin’s Natural Liquid Smoke)
- 2 tsp maple syrup (I actually used SweetLeaf’s Zero Sugar Syrups, Maple flavored)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
How to Prepare:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and whisk together till ingredients are well incorporated.
- Toss coconut flakes into the mixture and toss well. Make sure mixture covers all the flakes.
- Spread flakes evenly over a large cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.
- Place sheet in the center of the oven, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring and tossing flakes every 5 minutes or so, to ensure they don’t burn.
- Remove from oven, and let cool. Give the flakes another good toss. Ready to serve!
- Place flakes in an air-tight container when storing. The bacon bits will keep fresh on y our counter for about 4 to 5 days.
These bacon bits are just so delicious! You’ll discover they won’t last long. We ate our batch within a day and half! Yum, yum! I hope you try this recipe, and let me know what you think. Please be sure to like and share my post! For now, here’s some recipe inspiration featuring these delicious coconut bacon bits Enjoy!