Eggplant "Bacon" (Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, ACD Friendly)

[You have blown me away with all your responses to my call for recipe testers–thanks to everyone who sent emails!  I’ll be taking names/email addresses until early next week, so if you’re interested, please send an email to dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom with the subject line, “BREAKFAST TESTER.”  I’ll get back to everyone later in the week!]

As I mentioned in my last post, the HH and I munched on some eggplant “bacon” with our Christmas Day brunch pancakes. Yep, another veggie-based faux meat from DDD! First it was beet pepperoni (or, as River dubbed it, “beetaroni”); then cauliflower meat crumbles, and now, bacon. What’s up with that?

I suppose it’s kind of ironic that the daughter of a butcher doesn’t eat meat.  And isn’t it ironic that, considering I don’t eat meat, I have so many faux meats on this blog? It’s like I’m destined to create vegan counterparts to the items my dad sold in his work life.  Ironic! It’s like my genetic makeup has preordained that my kitchen adventures would be intertwined with meats of some sort or another.  It’s like–

It’s like rain, on your wedding day. A free ride, when you’ve already paid. It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take. . . and who would’ve thought–

(Oh, sorry, a different kind of irony, there. And hey, congrats on the new arrival, Ms. M)– 

–It figures.

Maybe it’s the fact that at almost every meal, the HH whines about the lack of meat. Maybe it’s that our society has ingrained the concept of a savory, smoky, succulent serving of food alongside every grain, breakfast item or mashed tuber.  Maybe it’s my competitive streak and I’m attempting to out-Bourdain Bourdain.  

Or, maybe, I just like playing with my veggies.

Whatever the reason, I knew I had to try this as soon as I read about eggplant bacon in my new cookbook, Raw Food for Everyone by Alissa Cohen.  Cohen’s version adds but 3 ingredients to the eggplant (liquid aminos,  agave and cayenne) and is dehydrated for 12-15 hours.  I wanted more complexity to enhance the naturally meaty taste and texture of eggplant. I knew I’d be too impatient to wait the full dehydrator time (even though my oven has a digital display that can be set at 115F) and so I just baked the strips in the oven at 325F.  It took a while but in the end, I had crispy, crunchy “bacon.” 

These strips were a perfect accompaniment to the light, fluffy pancakes and sweet plum sauce at our brunch.  The HH enjoyed them just as much as I did, in fact, and ended up eating more than half the batch.  Rather ironic, I’d say.

And in the “I-Am-So-Excited-I-Am-Doing-a-Happy-Dance-Right-Here-at-My-Computer” Department:  DDD has just been named a finalist in the Canadian Food Blog Awards!  You can check out all the finalists here.  And thank you, all, once again for nominating my blog for the award, and for reading!  You are the BEST! :D   

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Last Year at this Time: Quick & Easy Dal and Spicy Chickpea Koftas

Two Years Ago: Do Try this at Home: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce (ACD maintenance only; can be made GF)

Three Years Ago: Encomium to the Soap Star Bloggers

© Ricki Heller

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Comments

  1. Awesome! I have purchased what I deem vegan bacon bits (smoked sun dried tomatoes) but I love these! And many congrats!

  2. Hooray for your nomination! The eggplant “bacon” looks tasty, and I’m so glad you didn’t make it in a dehydrator, since mine is still in Wisconsin. Of course, if you bake it, it won’t be raw, but that’s OK with me. I think I’ll try your version.

    • Thanks, Andrea! What a lovely way to end 2010 for me and DDD. :D And I wasn’t worried about it staying raw, either (eating it with cooked pancakes and all that. . . ) ;)

  3. OMG, I really wish it wasn’t summer her at the moment so I could make this.

  4. Congrats on being a blog award finalist! BTW I’m lovin’ this eggplant “bacon” idea! Very cool.

  5. I love the idea of this on a pizza! Along with your “beet pepperoni” we’ve got a “meaty” feast pizza! Haha. Look forward to trying it this coming week with one of those eggplants in my fridge…

  6. Oh and big congrats for being a finalist, that’s amazing news :)

  7. it goes without saying that I will be bookmarking this! I have found myself making a few faux meats – not for the taste but for the comfort and nostalgia because if it really tasted like meat I would hate it but I love the interesting flavours – surely this is better than meat!!!

    Congrats on the blog awards – hope you have a happy new year

    • I have to agree, Johanna–it’s not meat that I’m seeking, but the idea of meat. The Platonic version of “meat,” if you will. ;) And thanks for the congrats. Hope your new year was great, too (I think it’s already happened where you are. . .) :D

  8. Yeah for eggplant bacon! And being a Canadian Food Blog finalist! So many things to be happy about! I hope you had a great Christmas…not doing much blog reading over the holidays, but trying to catch up now!

  9. Ricki, congrats on being selected as a finalist. You definitely deserve it! I checked out the website and I was surprised to see your blog listed under “niche” instead of “healthiest.” Oh well, I guess everyone has a different definition of healthy. Now I’ll have to go check out other sites on the list.

  10. Do you mind if I ask what kind of app you use for the recipes? Do you just embed code? It looks so much nicer than what I have, which essentially requires you to either write it down or print the whole post.

    Thanks! :)

    • Cami, I honestly don’t know! I had someone install it for me. All I have to do is type “print recipe” before and after the recipe, and –voila!–there it is. I thought that Alvin, the owner of the company, was very easy to work with, and prompt. His company is Big Sky Design and there’s a link at the very bottom of every page. If you contact him, tell him I sent you! :)

  11. Happy 2011 Ricki! So, what if you’re not a lover of eggplant? Do you think it might trick my taste buds to prep it this way? Daughter of a butcher! No wonder you’re vegan, I can’t imagine seeing the behind the scenes of a butcher’s life!

    • Hmmm, not sure. It doesn’t taste like eggplant to me, but I may not be able to tell any more–especially since I like the taste of eggplant! And re: my dad’s store, strangely enough, when my sisters and I went there on the weekends, we never quite realized that those huge sides of beef hanging in the freezer were dead cows. We just ran around the store pointing out all the things we wanted to eat! But I did eat enough meat in those days to last pretty much the rest of my life. ;)

  12. i’m skeptical enough to try it :)

  13. I love that you used eggplant to make vegan bacon! How fun.

  14. Hi, was wondering if you can cook these so they’re not too crunchy and they’d still work (because I prefer sort of flexible bacon, fake or otherwise).
    Thanks,
    Anne

    • Hi Anne,
      Yes, that would work just fine! You would just have to be sure that they’re cooked enough to hold a shape (too soft and the middles will fall out). ;)

  15. Hey! I stumbled upon this recipe because of the ACD friendly tag. I just wanted to ask, how is it friendly for the anti-candida diet while it has soy sauce/Bragg’s? Are you saying it’s good for people who are trying to prevent an overgrowth? Because everything I’ve read suggests that, when trying to rid your body of candida, all of those things are big no-no’s. Not trying to be fussy, just curious!

  16. I never used stevia. Would the recipe work with honey or organic sugar?

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