Smoky Mushroom “Bacon” that Non-Vegans Will Love
When I was a kid one of my favorite sandwiches was a bacon, lettuce, and tomato. A good BLT rocked my world. I loved the smoky, salty flavor of the bacon. Today, the thought of eating a sweet and intelligent pig makes me feel horrible, but I was raised to believe that meat and dairy was an important part of a healthy diet. I gave up eating mammals over twenty years ago, and I’ve never looked back. However, I never lost the craving for smoky and salty food.
Since Alex and I began this blog we’ve been working hard to find alternatives to animal products that will convert even the most hard core carnivore to a plant based only diet. And I think that this Portobello mushroom “bacon” recipe will lure meat eaters into the light. It may not transform them, but I bet that it will make them crave the shroom over Babe.
The story of Portobello Mushroom “Bacon”
As I was cruising the condiments section of my local supermarket (I spend a lot of time looking for different ingredients these days) I stumbled upon across liquid smoke. I’d never heard of the stuff before, so I picked up a bottle and looked at the label. A little jolt of excitement ran through me the moment I realized that I had struck culinary gold. I thought, hmmm, I could use this in veggie burgers to give them a little extra something, or, I could try making a vegan bacon that mimics the flavor of the real stuff! My imagination had shifted into fifth gear and there was no slowing it down.
I cruised through the aisles looking for that special ingredient that would put a thick and juicy BLT back into my world. Tofu? No, too squishy. Tempeh? No, not a big fan. And then, I saw a big pile of Portobello mushrooms, and I thought, why not? It could work.
For my first attempt at making mushroom “bacon” with liquid smoke and maple syrup, I dipped the mushrooms in the liquid smoke and then immediately fried them. They were all right. Not great, not horrible.
The second time I marinated them in the liquid. They were better, they had a good flavor, but it was almost too much of a good thing. I think I let them soak too long. A little bit of liquid smoke goes a long way.
Round Three – Ding-Ding-Ding, WINNER!
How to Make Vegan Portobello Mushroom “Bacon”
Finally, I got it right. I thought about the kind of bacon that my mom used to cook. Maple flavored bacon. I added maple syrup to the liquid smoke and it was perfect. The syrup gave it just enough sweetness, and it gave the mushrooms a stickier coating, which gave them a tiny bit of crispness . This my friends, is really, really good.
I couldn’t wait to put that BLT together and take a bite. Ahhhh, it was as good as I had hoped it would be. Smoky, mapley, salty, yummy goodness, all without harming one living being. That made it taste even better.
Honestly, this is an easy recipe, it doesn’t require any special culinary skills. I promise. As you can see, it makes a fantastic BLT, and you could also dice the mushrooms and put them in a salad, or put the slices on the side of a tofu scrambler. Anything that bacon can be added to, you can add these mushrooms to. How about putting the strips on a grilled veggie burger for a “bacon” burger?
When you try this, let me know what you thought, write a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
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