The first thing that most vegans have to come to terms with is that there’s no such thing as vegan bacon or vegan bacon bits for that matter.
Deal with it.
However, the second thing that most vegans learn is that there are awesome vegan alternatives to bacon and some of them can even mimic the crispy texture that you miss.
Then? You realize that being vegan is awesome because you don’t really have to give anything up!
You just need to find something similar, so check out our best vegan bacon alternatives and enjoy!
The Best Vegan Bacon Alternatives
We’ve got five great bacon alternatives for vegans that everyone should already have in their kitchen and then some more options you can get in stores too!
Tempeh bacon is made from fermented soybeans. One really cool thing about tempeh is that easily absorbs flavors from things that you cook it with.
So you can take this vegetarian bacon substitute and cover it in liquid smoke and it’s almost exactly what you’d expect vegan bacon to be.
You can also cut tempeh up and make vegan bacon bits with it easily and cook it for long enough? You’ll even get that crispy texture we were talking about earlier! Yum!
The only thing wrong with coconut bacon is that it’s so tasty that you will never want anything other than vegan bacon bits at every meal that you sit down to. Seriously.
We recommend curbing a bacon bits addiction by sprinkling coconut bacon bits all over salads, and soups, or adding them to a BLT. It’s so close to real bacon and it’s one of our favorite bacon substitutes of all time.
We’ve even put this product on our desserts! It’s made of unsweetened coconut flakes, so you don’t add much in the way of sugar and there’s minimal coconut oil in it after it’s been cooked too.
Shiitake Mushrooms (And Soy Sauce)
Rather like tempeh the shiitake mushrooms love to absorb other flavors but we prefer to use soy sauce with these rather than liquid smoke to get a more authentic bacon taste.
Fry them in olive oil and then make them as crisp (or not) as you like. We find that if you give them a little burned edge, they come super close to the texture of actual bacon.
And as mushrooms are seriously good for you, you can throw them in pretty much every meal that you have. That’s not something you can say about actual bacon, which isn’t exactly healthy food for your arteries.
Seitan is vegan bacon that is made from wheat gluten. It has a very chewy texture, so if you like your alternatives a bit less crispy bacon than others do, this is a great option for your table.
We recommend adding some spices to give it a familiar bacon-style taste – smoked paprika, soy, black pepper, nutritional yeast (we’ve got a list of the best nutritional yeast brands), and a little chili is great.
We’ve even been known to drizzle a little maple syrup onto Seitan once it’s cooked. Maple syrup brings out a delicate and delicious sweet edge in your vegan bacon.
Breadcrumbs (And Smoked Paprika)
OK, they’re not perfect but breadcrumbs can give you the best crunch in vegan food and though they lack the meaty texture of bacon, they are super tasty if prepared properly.
Fry them in some oil, add your usual host of spices to give the product a smoky flavor combined with a salty flavor and then mix it all up.
You can then add this crispy treat to pretty much any recipe and it will taste good too!
And if you end up with leftover breadcrumbs? They’re easy to store and can be used in other recipes the next day!
We don’t recommend that you opt for store-bought options in favor of cooking your own vegan bacon because though they are absolutely delicious – they’re often not as healthy as the options you can make at home.
However, just like you, we lead busy lives and no freezer is complete without a pack of vegan bacon alternatives or two.
We recommend these best plant-based bacon brands for your freezer, we have really enjoyed each of them.
Going vegan does not mean that you have to give up the foods that you love completely. If it did, there would be far fewer people going plant-based.
All you need to do is find something that is very similar to your favorite meat-based product and then you can enjoy all the flavor and fun without any animal cruelty.