special breakfast was usually french toast or crepes
non-vegan bacon has been censored!
When I was a little girl, my mom used to make us bacon sometimes. I always liked the smell of it, but actually I didn't really like to eat it that much. But indeed I did eat it, and do you know why? Because my brother loved bacon and I refused to allow him the joy of also eating my portion. Ha ha. I went vegetarian at age 14, so I guess he got the last laugh.
All of this is to say that bacon isn't something I've been missing all my life. So discovering vegan varieties of bacon has been a lot of fun for me. I'm free from any burden of needing vegan bacon to resemble the "real thing" and I'm also free to enjoy vegan bacon in all of its own smoky glory.
Baconish is a new vegan cookbook from Leinana Two Moons - who blogs over at Vegan Good Things. It is dedicated entirely to vegan bacon recipes!
The whole first chapter of the book is comprised of vegan recipes for bacon, and there are 10 different varieties: carrot bacon, eggplant bacon, chickpea bacon, tempeh bacon, tofu bacon, mushroom bacon, and on and on! I tried two of the bacons for this review (carrot and seitan) and I am eager to try more -- next up I am hoping to try the tempeh and coconut bacons.
The Carrot Bacon was soooo snackalicious. I made a big batch, and Leinana suggests keeping an eye on it in the oven because it might burn at the end. Indeed, I was busy doing other things in the kitchen, and lost about 2/3 of my batch due to burnage. Ooops! Next time I'll keep an eagle eye on it -- especially since now I know how yummy it is. I made this carrot bacon to go with the White Bean and Bacon Soup (below) - but Mr. VE&T had such a hard time controlling ourselves. We just wanted to eat it all off the cooking sheet. It's lightly sweet and smoky, and a little chewy. My pal Kittee also made the carrot bacon and she finished hers in the dehydrator which seems like a rad idea, if only I had a dehydrator.
White Bean and Bacon Soup
After the first chapter full of various vegan bacon recipes, the rest of the chapters in the book are filled with recipes that incorporate the bacons. There are chapters on Breakfast, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Sides, Main Dishes, and even Sweets and Such. There are some pretty tempting-looking desserts that incorporate vegan bacon!
This White Bean & Bacon Soup was the first dinner I made from Baconish. It calls for Seitan Bacon in the soup (you can see the chunks in the soup) and for Carrot Bacon as a garnish on top. We both really loved this soup. It was hearty and chock full of delicious spices, two cans worth of white beans, and just the right amount of smokiness. I'll definitely make this soup again - it's especially perfect for cold nights when you need a real warmer-upper!
warm soup on a cold night
complete with snuggly pets, cozy socks, and the sofa
Whoa. This biz is tasty! I made a batch of the Seitan Bacon for the White Bean Soup. But the soup only used up about 5 slices of bacon, so I used the rest for all sorts of yummy eats. It has actually been quite a while since I made any home made seitan. I wonder why? I really like seitan, and making this recipe reminded me that it's fun and easy to make at home. I hadn't ever tried seitan bacon before, and I really liked this recipe. Smoky and peppery (look at all that pepper on the outside!), and very nicely seasoned. I still have a little bit left in the freezer for some future enjoyment.
Seitan Bacon BLT
Well there's one thing that you just gotta do when you have a bunch of extra seitan bacon staring at you -- make a BLT, of course! I had some nice whole grain bread, lots of perfect avocado, lettuce and tomatoes, and some pan-fried slices of seitan bacon. It was so delicious! We've been having such volatile spring time weather this year - one day it will be so cold and wintry that you want something like that white bean soup, and then just a couple days later, it's hot and sunny and you're sitting out in the backyard enjoying your first BLT of the season. Ahhh. I like it all, so I'm happy either way.
blt on a hot day!
complete with glass of water and inquisitive kitty
Tofu Quiche with Broccoli, Seitan Bacon, and Chao Cheese
I also used some of the seitan bacon in a delicious tofu quiche - I used Somer's recipe and added in sundried tomatoes, seitan bacon, lots of chopped up broccoli florets, and a few slices of chao cheese. It was so rich and delicious! After I made this, I realized that Baconish actually has two quiche recipes of its own: Quiche Lorraine and Bacon-Spinach Quiche. I pretty much love tofu quiche, so I am eager to try these recipes soon!
The More-to-Love Elvis Sandwich
The More-to-Love Elvis Sandwich was so fun! I've never really had anything like this before! It calls for peanut butter, bacon, banana slices, and an optional drizzle of sweetener. Such a delicious combination of flavors! I made mine into an open-faced sandwich for a fun breakfast treat, but in the book the recipe calls for two slices of bread, and then to cook it like you would cook a grilled cheese. I loved my open-faced creation, but I also love the idea of cooking it on the griddle (or in my beloved panino press!!) for extra toasty perfection.
Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
This Cauliflower Bacon Gratin was a big hit! So good. It was warming and filling with lovely savory flavors. The cauliflower wasn't overcooked, so it still had just the right "al dente" crunch, which was perfect with the rich, creamy sauce and the crispy crumb topping. I wanted to make the gratin a little lighter, so when I made it I reduced the cashews in the sauce from 1 cup to 1/2 cup, and I reduced the bacon slices from 8 to 6. Even with those adaptations, the dish was super delicious and satisfying!
Baconish is a fun and creative book, and we really enjoyed the meals we've made from it so far. There's still SO MUCH more for me to explore. This book is loaded with color photos, it's well-laid-out (you never need to turn the page to continue making a recipe), and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Those are all traits that I really appreciate in a cookbook!
Several of the recipes are a bit on the indulgent scale for my tastes - but obviously a vegan bacon book is going to have a lot of Southern flair and some really rich recipes. Even the recipes that I'm not likely to make gave me some good inspiration for lighter variations that I could make myself. And obviously, I still found plenty of amazing recipes to try, and many more to bookmark. I am super impressed with the creativity of this book - both in the variety of vegan bacon ideas, and with all the many ideas for what to do with vegan bacon. I got so many new ideas from this book!
Some of the recipes I have bookmarked to try include:
Butternut Squash Carbonara with Bacon and Sage
Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn
Bacon-Stuffed French Toast
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Shallots
Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Grilled Cheese
Happily, you don't just have to read about this new book! The publishers of Baconish (Vegan Heritage Press) are letting me offer a giveaway to one lucky reader in the USofA. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post and tell me about your favorite vegan bacon experience... or really just any comment will do!