What Is Coconut Bacon And How Do You Eat It?

bacon frying in pan
bacon frying in pan - Bonnie Marquette/Getty Images

A select few foods need no introduction and seem to make people salivate just at the mention of it — and of these, bacon has always seemed to reign supreme. Its uniquely salty, smoky flavor and chewy-yet-crispy texture has bewitched our taste buds for thousands of years, not only finding its way into many of our entrees and side dishes but even inspiring its own, including bacon cheeseburgers, bacon doughnuts, and you guessed it, bacon-centric ice cream.

But what if there was a delicious way to capture that signature taste without using meat? You're in luck; there is. Coconut bacon, a vegan alternative to pork bacon made with unsweetened coconut flakes, is a unique spin on the popular food. With its healthier profile and equally smoky flavor, it's a promising alternative that may just get you hooked. So whether you've given up pork for health reasons or just want to change things up a little, coconut bacon is worth a try, and it may just become your new favorite way to enjoy it.

Read more: 11 Things You Didn't Know You Should Be Doing With Bacon

How To Make Coconut Bacon

coconut flakes in a bowl
coconut flakes in a bowl - Bhofack2/Getty Images

First, you'll need unsweetened coconut flakes, which you can grab at the grocery store. Then you'll dive into the secret to making your coconut bacon taste as close to real bacon as possible: The marinade. The key to a great coconut bacon marinade is liquid smoke. The rest of your marinade can include maple syrup, tamari (which is gluten-free) or soy sauce, a neutral oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Still, it's the liquid smoke that will add that smokiness that resembles the taste of bacon. You'll want to toss your coconut in your marinade, then bake it in a thin layer for about 6 minutes at 325 F. Turn the pan and bake for another few minutes until your coconut is golden brown. Remember to watch your bacon as it cools, as it will continue to cook as it settles, and you don't want it to burn. That's it — a few simple steps and you have crispy, flavorful coconut bacon you can eat as-is, add to a salad, or even use as a topping for countless dishes.

Other Delicious Substitutes For Pork Bacon

person slicing carrots with mandoline
person slicing carrots with mandoline - South_agency/Getty Images

There are many other delicious plant-based alternatives to pork, which, when prepared correctly, can also capture that smoky, salty taste and texture of real bacon. Carrots, for example, can be sliced thin, marinated for 15 minutes to an hour, and pan-fried in olive oil.

You can also use tofu as a delicious bacon substitute for a meatier texture. But tofu can be harder to handle, so you might want to cut your strips shorter and thicker than you would carrots. Then, marinate your strips for at least 15 minutes (and up to three days in the refrigerator) before frying. If you're feeling adventurous and want a substitute for bacon bits on your salad — you can even use breadcrumbs. All you need is a few pieces of stale bread with your choice of seasonings and soy sauce, then fry and crumble it, and you've got a tasty alternative. So, with a little bit of creativity, you can have your bacon and eat it, too.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.