So, you’re a vegan. That doesn’t mean you don’t miss bacon. Even the most enlightened among us can’t help but crave a strip of savory bacon from time-to-time. There’s just something about its crispness, its saltiness, and that hint of smoke that make us hanker for it long past the bells of breakfast.
Back in April, vegan cook Tabitha Brown went viral on social media platform TikTok after her recipe for carrot “bacon” elicited some 12 million views, per PlantBasedNews.org. On IGTV, the same recipe video also yielded quite the response with 578,840 views and counting. Check out the clip below.
So what is it, exactly about carrot-based bacon that makes our hearts sing so? (Okay, we love tempeh bacon, too.) As the maker of our go-to carrot “bacon” recipe, Chris Riley, culinary expert and founder of The Daring Kitchen has an inkling of a clue, having mastered a smoky, savory rendition of the vegan favorite.
“This is a great healthy snack to make for a few days ahead, especially if you are meal prepping. The Dijon, honey, sesame oil and soy sauce give a rich taste to the vegetable and will definitely surprise anyone that is skeptical towards carrot chips or ‘bacon,'” he tells us. Try serving your carrot “bacon” with a dip like guacamole or hummus or a cashew-based cheese dip. Or, serve on sandwiches or veggie burgers as a delightful topper.
Worth noting: “If you want to make this extra authentic use a small amount of liquid smoke (a substitute for cooking with wood smoke). It is quite concentrated so ½ teaspoon will be enough to add to the mix before baking,” says Riley. Yes, please, bring on the umami.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go whip up our vegan BLT recipe to accompany these savory slivers.
Table of Contents
Easy Carrot Bacon
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredient (i.e., everything except the carrots).
- Cut off the ends of the carrots, then peel them as you normally would. Use the vegetable peeler to slice the carrots lengthwise into thin strips. You can also use a mandolin.
- In a bowl, toss the carrot slices and marinade together. Make sure all of the carrots are coated.
- Spread the coated carrots on the lined baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 8 minutes, remove them from then oven, and flip over. Brush the carrot strips with the remaining marinade and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the slices are wavy and slightly browned.
- Compared to smaller carrots, bigger ones are easier to peel into strips.
- Instead of maple syrup, you can also use agave syrup or brown sugar. If you follow a vegetarian diet, try honey.
- Use more or less spices, depending on your taste buds. For example, if you want an extra kick, add a bit more black pepper or smoked paprika. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon onion powder for even more flavor.
- Once the carrot bacon has cooled, chop it up for instant vegan bacon bits. Use them as a topper for soups, stews, or salads, or add them to vegan breakfast burritos and tofu eggs.
- The total time it takes for your carrot bacon to cook depends on the thickness of each strip, as well as your oven. Watch it closely, as the carrots can quickly burn.
- For a delicious vegan BLT, pair the carrot bacon with lettuce and tomato on your favorite bread. It’s also super tasty with veggie burgers.
- When you can no longer peel the carrots into ribbons, set the scraps aside. You can chop them up for stews, soups, salads, or any other dish you’d use carrots. Another option is to use them for vegetable broth.