When I first went vegetarian, and later on vegan, one of the things I missed most was the smell of bacon on a Sunday morning.
Of course, the process in which society goes through to get bacon to the table is far from ethical so although I missed the smell, I never looked back once on the decision to stop consuming animal products and byproducts.
However, when I heard that there was a myriad of ways to create a vegetarian substitute for bacon I did get excited. I have had my fair share of experimentation with vegetarian bacon substitutes in the kitchen and have created a compilation of vegetarian bacon reviews.
All of the bacon alternatives I am going to mention require similar if not identical seasoning processes. The only thing that will really differ from recipe to recipe is the base ingredient as well as the cooking methods.
Keep reading to discover which vegetarian bacon ingredients I think to lead to the creation of the best vegetarian bacon.
I will start by sharing with you my least favorite vegetarian alternative to bacon. Coconut bacon, however still packed with flavor, in my opinion, always misses the mark for the recreation of bacon.
Coconut flakes are commonly used in the process of making bacon bits vegetarian.
The problem with this attempt at recreating the smoky goodness of regular bacon bits is that it’s difficult to rid this substitute of its coconut flavor.
If you are a coconut lover, you will most definitely still enjoy this savory vegetarian bacon replacement, but don’t expect your bacon cravings to be fulfilled.
Although ranking last on my list, coconut bacon still made it on my list which means it is still worth trying!
Next on the list of best vegetarian bacon substitute reviews is the notorious tempeh bacon. Tempeh bacon has the ability to take on the flavor of bacon if seasoned correctly.
The fermented soybeans make the texture less authentic, but if cut thin enough can still do the trick. You’ll most often see tempeh being used as a vegetarian replacement for bacon in a sandwich.
Nothing tastes quite as good as tempeh bacon, avocado, and tomato on a fresh ciabatta bun. Add a layer of vegan mayo to take this sandwich to the next level, and there you have it.
A delicious vegetarian bacon alternative being put to use. Tempeh bacon can be used in many other ways as well, I personally enjoy it most when served in this manner.
Rice Paper Bacon:
Now it is time to talk about the ever so popular rice paper bacon. Out of all of the bacon alternatives I have tried, rice paper bacon receives a 10/10 for accurate appearance.
Once your rice paper is all seasoned and cooked, it truly does look like that strip of bacon you have been longing for. If seasoned correctly, your rice paper bacon can also take on the flavor profile of bacon quite well.
Overall, rice paper surprisingly makes for a great vegetarian alternative to bacon.
If you are trying to recreate a beautiful vegan brunch spread I recommend making a lovely tofu scramble paired with a plate full of rice paper bacon.
Portobello Mushroom Bacon:
Last but not least is my all-time favorite vegetarian substitute for bacon, the portobello mushroom bacon. This bacon alternative is my all-time favorite because I find it to be the most versatile.
If you cut your portobello mushrooms into thin, long strips, the mushroom takes on more of the classic bacon strip appearance.
I love topping my creamy vegan fettuccine with my portobello mushroom bacon when cooked this way.
If you cut your mushroom into smaller-sized pieces and allow them to really crisp up in the oven you will now be able to tell your friends that you have the ability to make bacon crisps vegetarian.
Making imitation bacon bits vegetarian is not a skill which everyone possesses, so I can assure you your friends will be impressed.
When cooking your portobello mushroom bacon into small crisps, they taste delicious when used as a topper for a salad.
As stated before, it is the versatility of the portobello mushroom bacon which brings it to the top of my list. If you try any of these vegetarian bacon alternatives, I suggest trying this one.
All of the vegetarian bacon alternatives listed above will require the use of soy sauce in the seasoning process. If you are looking for a gluten-free vegetarian bacon you can easily swap the soy sauce out for tamari.
Otherwise, you should be good to go as coconut, tempeh, rice paper, and portobello mushrooms are all naturally gluten-free.
Of course, it’s important to always check the labels just to be sure!
Now, if you don’t feel like going to all the trouble of creating and mastering the best vegetarian bacon alternative, you may find yourself asking, “are imitation bacon bits vegetarian?”
Therefore, you are in luck. The brand McCormick does indeed have an accidental vegan product.
Their bacon-flavored bits are in fact vegan. Rather than having a pig as their base ingredient for this product, they have created these bacon bits using a textured soy flour base.
This is exciting news for all the times you find yourself in a pinch for time but still need to fill your bacon void.
No matter how convenient McCormick’s bacon-flavored bits may sound, I do still recommend making your own vegetarian bacon alternative from scratch.
The exciting thing about all of these bacon alternatives is not only the fact that they are fun to make and taste amazing, but also that the planet will thank you for being kind to it.
Every time we choose to leave an animal product off of our plates we are saving the environment.
Every step we take in order to save the planet we live on is a step in the right direction. So keep up the good work, and enjoy trying all of these vegan and vegetarian recipes!