Hello everyone!! I am SO. EXCITED. to share this recipe with you today. Why?! Because I’ve finally created a recipe for the PERFECT COCONUT BACON.
Hold on, backtracking… I know that what I just said is quite a categorical statement. HOWEVER, I have been trying to find a really good coconut bacon recipe for months now and haven’t found one that really worked for me. (But that’s not to say that those other recipes aren’t great!!)
The majority of coconut bacon recipes on the interwebs involve some permutation of tamari, maple syrup, and liquid smoke. The tamari gives the coconut bacon salt and umami while the maple syrup adds richness and sweetness, and the liquid smoke adds (obviously) that smoky flavor. At first I was skeptical about liquid smoke, but then I read that it’s just made by collecting the smoke from burning wood, which becomes a liquid when it cools. I figured it couldn’t be that much worse than inhaling the residual smoke from the woodstove in my family’s living room.
So I bit the bullet and bought some liquid smoke, and ended up trying a few popular recipes from vegan/vegetarian blogs. The coconut bacon I made from those recipes was okay, but it wasn’t that addicting, crunchy taste I was looking for. And I always followed all recipes to the T, but every time I ended up with a tray full of coconut bacon that was burnt to a crisp on the outskirts of the tray, and soggy in the center of the tray. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. Where was the crispy coconut bacon I had seen in the pictures?!
What’s more, biting into the center of the tray/soggy bacon, it was like taking a sip of liquid smoke. Maybe some people can handle that, but I felt sick to my stomach after having a few pieces. I was really grossed out, and was almost turned off to the idea of coconut bacon forever.
But I knew there had to be another way!!
My epiphany came when I saw this recipe for coconut bacon on one of my favorite vegetarian blogs – A Couple Cooks. Their recipe was different from anything else I had seen online, and I was stoked to see that they used sriracha in the mix! Using their recipe as my starting point, I finally made a concoction that (I think) makes the best coconut bacon!!
What makes this recipe different is that:
1// There is no liquid smoke – the smokiness comes from smoked paprika
2// Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps crispify the bacon
3// The cooking technique ensures that no bacon is left behind, allowing all pieces to be cooked evenly!
As always, I taste-tested this baconerific masterpiece on some non-vegan friends (this time, three very hungry non-vegan dudes), and they absolutely LOVED it. I think my guy described it the best – “It doesn’t really taste exactly like bacon, but there’s something about it that makes you want to have another piece.” I’m not going to lie to y’all and say that this is a perfect carbon copy of bacon. Instead, it’s a CRISPY, UMAMI, SLIGHTLY SPICY, SMOKY, and TOTALLY SATISFYING bite of heaven.
I hope you guys all love this recipe as much as I do… I’ve literally spent months perfecting it!!
- 2 Cups Coconut Flakes (not shredded)
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2½ Tbs Tamari
- 1½ Tbs Sriracha
- 2 Tsp Maple Syrup
- 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- Baby Kale
- Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
- 2 Avocados
- ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tsp Maple Syrup
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl, combine coconut flakes, olive oil, tamari, sriracha, maple syrup, and smoked paprika, and stir well. For a richer flavor, let coconut flakes marinate for a few minutes.
- Place coconut flakes on a tray lined with parchment paper. Try to evenly space out the coconut flakes as best you can - aim for the least amount of overlap possible.
- Once oven is at 350, bake coconut bacon for 5 minutes.
- After five minutes, take coconut bacon out and stir well. Once coconut bacon is evenly spaced again, put the tray back in the oven.
- After the previous step has completed, keep baking coconut bacon FOR TWO MINUTE INTERVALS, STIRRING AT EVERY INTERVAL. This step is crucial! It prevents the coconut bacon from cooking unevenly.
- In total, your coconut bacon should bake from anywhere between 10-15 minutes (including the first five minute bake). However, this time may vary based on your oven. Be sure to always take the coconut bacon out and stir EVERY TWO MINUTES. And be careful - it can burn easily!
- Either in a blender or in a bowl, combine all vinaigrette ingredients and blend (or whisk). Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- I didn't provide exact measurements here because this salad is so easy and forgiving to make. Assemble a bowl full of baby kale (or iceberg lettuce / romaine if you're a traditionalist!), cherry tomatoes, and avocado. Toss with as much vinaigrette as desired, and top with coconut bacon.
Song of the Day:
21st Century Kid – Jamie Cullum