Friday, October 1, 2010


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Steamed baby green beans and patty pan squash with Tofu "Bacon"
The other day I revisited a recipe from my very first cookbook, "The Almost No-fat Cookbook"-- a simple recipe for Tofu "Bacon". I hadn't made it for a long time, but I really wanted "bacon" on a fresh tomato sandwich! So I got out a block of extra-firm tofu and mixed up the marinade in the book.

The results were tasty but, though I used Kikkoman Lite Soy Sauce (low salt), it seemed too salty to me. So, this morning before I left for work I "tweaked" my recipe to give it more flavor with less salt. It marinated all day and I browned a few slices tonight to flavor our steamed green beans and baby patty pan squash (the latter from our garden).

Success! Here's the recipe:

Makes about about 24 thin slices
PS-- Please don't use Bragg's instead of the soy sauce. It's actually higher in salt than regular soy sauce! (See for info on this.)

 12-16 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tamari or Soy Sauce (can be low salt)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon dark (roasted) sesame oil

Pat the tofu with a clean cloth and shave it into long, thin slices with a cheese slicer (see pictures below).

Mix together the Marinade ingredients in a shallow container. Carefully add the tofu slices to the Marinade, making sure that they are covered by the Marinade. Cover the container and refrigerate it. Let the tofu marinate for at least 8 hours, or for a few days.

When you are ready to cook the "Bacon", heat a large, sturdy nonstick skillet over high heat. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of dark sesame oil to the skillet and swirl it around the pan to cover the bottom. When the pan is hot, add some of the slices.

Fry the slices on both sides until golden-brown and a little crispy. Turn the slices several times as the cook. If you cool the slices in the pan, they crisp up more that way, but I just cool them on a plate and cook the next batch. (Add a bit more dark sesame oil for each batch.)

I now have a Cuisinart Air Fryer counter-top convection oven and I've been making this "bacon" in it.  It works so well and the color is much better than in these pictures (will try to get some new ones up soon!).  I use the baking pan that comes with the oven, lightly greased, and air-fry the marinated "bacon" (arranged in a single layer, not quite touching) at about 400 degrees F for about 7 minutes, or until the top of it is starting to char a bit.  I turn them over and air-fry until that side is crispy.  Repeat with any leftover pieces.

The "bacon" is delicious hot or cold, and terrific on a vegan BLT!

Vegan "BLT", except I used avocado instead of lettuce-- this was my breakfast this morning!

(Note: the Nutrition Facts are approximate because the number of slices you get varies. I calculated this using 12 ounces of extra-firm tofu cut into 24 slices, and 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil in total.)

Nutrition Facts Nutrition (per 4 slices, approximately): 125.2 calories; 47% calories from fat; 7.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 805.8mg sodium; 201.1mg potassium; 9.7g carbohydrates; 1.2g fiber; 6.2g sugar; 8.5g net carbs; 8.2g protein; 2.8 points.
(As a comparison, 4 slices of cooked cured pork bacon [7 g each] contains 164 calories, and 12 g fat, 36 g cholesterol.)



Vic Robinson said...

This looks very good. I generally make my mock bacon with tempeh because I like the crunch it offers but this seems like a great option as well!

Marie said...

Now this gives me a good reason to use that old cheese grater! Tofu bacon, yum!!!

Claire said...

This looks great - like a less salty version of the tofu jerky I make sometimes.

Lisa Viger said...

This looks great ... really like how you used the peeler to get thin slices.

in2insight said...

This turned out to be the best fake bacon ever.
Only change I made was to bake on an oiled pan rather than fry. (Get more cooked at a time)
Wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

Rebecca said...

This was amazing. It was SO easy - and my DH and omnivorous friends gobbled it up. Now I have to make more! Thank you!!!

John said...

Best fake bacon I've had - manufactured or otherwise.

I misread the recipe a bit and put some sesame oil into the marinade - but this was not an issue and might have added to it.

Really very very good.

Anonymous said...

Arrgh! I gave away my cheese slicer when I went vegan!

Anonymous said...

I love this recipe! I took it to a party with non-vegans and they gobbled it up! No it's not bacon but it's the next best thing. Better than bacon! Guilt free!

Rebecca Stucki said...

The first time I made this recipe, I used tofu - it was excellent! The second time, I replaced the tofu with eggplant, sliced very thin with a mandoline (adding 1-1/2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil to the marinade. Then I dehydrated the eggplant strips at 104° for about 8 hours or until crisp. Made "AELT"s with the eggplant, tomato, avocado and Vegenaise on romaine lettuce leaves. OMG! The absolute closest thing to bacon that this 3-year vegan has tasted! It has the same sweet, salty, chewy and crisp taste and texture.

Anonymous said...

If the thin tofu slices stick to the pan after you lay them into it, just let them cook until they release.

By the way, I once sliced a bunch of eggplants paper thin on a (vegan only) deli slicer - the only way to slice veggies this thinly that I have found - and fried them, skin and all. No marinade, nothing, just a little salt after they were fried. I took the resulting crips to a bbq and they were gone in about 3 minutes.