I spent many years eating meat, and the only one that I miss (flavor-wise) is bacon. With this eggplant “bacon” recipe, I have been able to bring a special, salty crunch back into my life.
You can prepare this recipe two ways, either enzyme-rich and raw (optimal, and shown above) or baked at a low temp in the oven. Perfect for a Veggie BLT!
Makes: about one casserole dish of veggie bacon
Dehydrated Preparation Time: 4-6 hours to dehydrate, 8 hours to marinate (it’s worth it!)
Baked Preparation Time: 1-2 hours to bake, 8 hours to marinate
For raw preparation
For oven preparation
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
3/4-1 cup fresh, organic beet juice (2-3 medium beets or 1-2 large beets)*
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp raw honey (can substitute organic maple syrup, organic brown rice syrup, raw yacon syrup or raw honey to taste. Note that honey isn’t considered “vegan” and maple syrup and brown rice syrup aren’t considered “raw”.)
1/4 cup Ume Plum Vinegar
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (can use Celtic sea salt instead)
1/2 cup water
* If you don’t have a juicer, just blend 1 medium diced, raw beet with other marinade ingredients. If it gets too thick when blending, just add more water and/or oil.
Let’s Get Started:
Wash your eggplant and beets well. Run your beets through the juicer and set the juice aside. Don’t forget to admire the amazing color.
Slice your eggplant lengthwise to create 4 long wedges. Then carefully take those wedges and slice your eggplant into long strips with you Mandoline slicer. Achtung!The Mandoline blade is extremely sharp and wants to eat your fingers. Be very careful.
Let’s create the marinade. Place your fresh beet juice, olive oil, sea salt, vinegar and honey into a casserole dish and stir until completely mixed. Please note that the marinade will not look uniform in color because of the oil. Just mix all of the ingredients until they are blended to the best of your ability. You can always add a step if you wish, and blend your marinade, on low speed, in the blender.
Now, I have not tried this yet, but I bet if you add a tsp or two of Liquid Smoke to the marinade, you may get somethin’ reeeeal special. Of course, Liquid Smoke is not raw, so if you are super strict with your rawness, skip this suggestion.
Pour a little bit of your marinade into a bowl. Dip a slice of eggplant into this bowl, coating both sides with the marinade, and then place your dipped eggplant into the casserole dish. Repeat with all strips of eggplant, creating layers of coated eggplant, until all slices are nestling in marinade. Pour the marinade from your dipping bowl on top of the eggplant. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap, or a cloth and place in the fridge. Marinate for 8 hours. Every 2-4 hours re-coat the strips with marinade by spooning the marinade from the bottom of the dish onto your strips. You could also flip the pieces in the dish with a spatula as well. Whatever works. Just coat.
If preparing raw:
After your slices have marinated, place the veggie bacon strips on the Teflex sheets on the dehydrator trays (shown below). Slide trays into the dehydrator set to a temperature of 95-100°F and let slices dehydrate for 4-6 hours.
After 3-4 hours, you will want to transfer your “bacon” from the Teflex sheets to the dehydrator screens so the air can get to both sides of the veggie bacon. To do this, simply place a dehydrator tray with the screen (bottom, left) on top of your “bacon” that is on the teflex sheet/dehydrator tray. Place one hand underneath the Teflex tray and one on top of the screen tray. Quickly flip (see post-flipped position bottom, right). Remove the top tray and then peel back the Teflex and your “bacon” should be resting proudly on the screen. Pop the tray back in the dehydrator for remaining dehydration time.
Keep checking on your “bacon” and when it is super crispy, you are good to go, and you can turn off your dehydrator. If you reach the 6-hour mark and your “bacon” is still not crispy enough, just keep dehydrating until you reach the crunch-factor that will make you happy.
If preparing veggie bacon baked:
Place the marinated veggie bacon strips side-by-side on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into the oven set to a temperature of 200°F and bake for 1-2 hours or until desired crispiness is acheived.
Store your veggie bacon, whether baked or dehydrated, in an airtight glass dish on the counter or in your pantry. You can also keep it in the fridge.
Crumble your veggie bacon on salads or spread some almond butter on manna bread and top with veggie bacon (go crazy and add banana). You can munch on veggie bacon plain, make a BLT with it—endless possibilities
Please improvise with this recipe if you wish. Try adding the Liquid Smoke. Try raw maple syrup instead of honey or agave. Pinch of cayenne? Use less olive oil. Just have fun with it. Make it tasty and share your discoveries with us!