It was almost five years ago that I made a decision to become a vegetarian. And as of this month…three years ago that I had to go gluten-free. My…time sure does fly! That being said, when I first became a vegetarian, my life was filled with Morningstar Veggie Bacon Strips and faux meat products…which…looking at now makes me cringe due to the number of chemicals and processed crap that are in them. Besides that…most all processed-to-death faux meat products contain vital wheat gluten…which means…I can’t consume it anyway.
Honestly, after three years I’ve worked around this. But, you see, my roommate has a love of BLT sandwiches. As you know, Cathy eats what I eat at home, so she’s 80% gluten-free and vegetarian. But when we go out…meat is her treat (think those Beggin’ Strips commercials…). Anyway…she’s acquired this taste for BLT sammies…and with a plethora of lettuce from my CSA bin, she put in that request.
So…I needed bacon. And no one makes a gluten-free and vegetarian version of this. So, I had to make it myself. And it’s mainly made up with…beans. So…beancon? I guess? The recipe was adapted from the No Meat Athlete…and now…will forever be made and kept in my kitchen. What’s even better…after you cook the batter up and slice it, the slices can be kept in the freezer and go immediately from the freezer to the pan. Oh yeah…beancon time!
Recipe: Homemade Gluten-Free and Vegan Bacon
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Bake 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans, or other small red beans
- 1/3 cup whole grain buckwheat groats (not buckwheat flour)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/3 tsp garlic powder
- 1/3 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (not all brands are gluten-free, but Colgin is…and that’s what I use)
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1-1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (I subbed San-J Gluten-Free Tamari)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1-1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tsp coconut oil (may sub any oil you prefer)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Rinse the beans and buckwheat, place in large bowl covered with several inches of cold filtered water; let soak overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Drain and rinse the soaked beans and buckwheat. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an s-blade, along with all of the other ingredients. Pulse several times to combine, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and continue pulsing until uniform, but not completely pureed.
Line a 9 x 13 casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Place bacon batter in pan and spread evenly with a spatula. You may choose to spray another piece of parchment paper lightly with baking spray and press the paper on top of the mixture and flatten with your hands. Remove and discard the top piece of parchment paper, then use a spatula to spread over and fill in any bare spots.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into 24-32 strips, whatever size you prefer, I cut mine into 1 inch by 4 inches slices (Do this by making one lengthwise cut down the center, and then 12-16 cuts across the shorter side).
At this point freeze any strips your don’t plan on eating immediately. Frozen strips can go straight into the skillet at a later date, no need to thaw first. To fry, heat a skillet with a small amount of oil and fry both sides to desired level of crispiness. You may also choose to fry slices in cooking spray, for a less crispy, but still very delicious result.
The liquid smoke gives it that smokey feeling of bacon and they taste great. Honestly. I made this once before and used them on breakfast sandwiches, to pair with pancakes, and now…on BLTs. Brilliant recipe. Bacon really can be for everyone…even gluten-free vegetarians and vegans. Because this no meat treat is a delicious, homemade, and easy recipe. And no chemicals. Real food. Real good!