What is coconut bacon and how do you make it?
Coconut bacon? At first I was sceptical. I wondered who this trendy bacon impostor was, and the guilt of betraying proper bacon was also weighing on me – I’ve been a big fan for as long as I can remember.
I put all that aside and, with an open mind and empty stomach, decided it was time to give this mysterious vegetarian bacon a try. It turns out it’s oh-so easy to make and super-tasty to boot.
What is coconut bacon, though? Well, it’s flakes of coconut, cooked in a way that make them uncannily bacon-like.
It’s not a complete replacement for the real thing, of course, but it can do almost anything the original can – in BLTs, crumbled in a salad or in a veggie (or beef) burger. That said, I can’t imagine it being as satisfying as real bacon is, served alongside some fried eggs.
The one way in which coconut bacon outshines regular bacon is in its snackability*. You could plop yourself on the sofa, flick on your favourite TV show and end up looking down to find you’ve eaten almost all of your coconut bacon. You may even find yourself dipping it in some spicy houmous…
The other good thing about coconut bacon is it’s just as good cold as it is hot – hence the appeal of all-day grazing.
Makes 150g (serves 4-6 as a snack)
You will need:
- 150g unsweetened, flaked coconut
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- Black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan /gas 4.
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly dispersed.
- Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
The resulting bacon has a great crunch and chewy texture, but these qualities depend on how long you cook it for. As you can see from the picture above, I like mine rather crispy. I took my coconut bacon out at the 12 minute mark, but do keep a watchful eye over it as it turns golden quickly and ovens can vary in temperature.
*The ease with which one can eat something on its own, casually, at odd times of day.