My dear, sweet, coconut bacon skeptics, hear me out. This vegan “bacon” is amazing! It’s crispy, sweet, salty and tastes just like the real deal, so don’t knock it til you try it! I could go on about it, but I think Cookie’s coconut bacon desperation says it all.
Granted, my dog loves kale and ate half a pack of gum when I was at yoga last week, but I’ve honestly never seen her work so hard for crumbs that aren’t meat. (And look at those irresistible fuzzy ears! She kills me.)
I shared coconut bacon last year with my heirloom BLT salad recipe, but this stuff is so good that I decided it needed its own post. You can use it as an accent in any recipe that calls for crumbled bacon—salads, BLTs, you name it. It’s incredibly easy to make (it’ll take you 15 minutes, max) and you can freeze extra for later. Although, it’s hard not to eat all of this bacon as it comes out the oven. I dare you to try it!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a half-sheet pan or large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
- Measure the coconut flakes out onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the coconut flakes with tamari, liquid smoke and maple syrup. Mix well. Spread the flakes into an even layer on the parchment paper. Bake on the middle rack for 12 to 14 minutes, flipping halfway, until flakes are mostly dry and turning golden on the edges. (Keep an eye on the coconut as it can go from golden brown to deep burnt brown fairly quickly. For softer bacon, you'll probably only need to bake for 12 minutes, for crispy bacon, aim for 14.) The coconut flakes will further crisp up as they cool.
- Let the "bacon" cool, then use it immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Coconut bacon keeps well in the freezer for several months. No need to defrost!
Make it gluten free: This dish is gluten free as long as you use gluten-free tamari, which is a variety of soy sauce that is usually (but not always, check the label) gluten free. I always use tamari instead of soy sauce because I prefer the flavor of it!
Where to buy: Look for coconut flakes in the baking aisle or health food section at well-stocked grocery stores. Look for tamari next to the soy sauce in the Asian aisle. Look for liquid smoke near the barbecue sauce.