Dear VT: Best Veg Substitutes for Bacon?

By Tami Fertig October 25, 2013 Categories: Dear VT


Tempeh Bacon

We get lots of questions from our readers. Here, VT editors respond.

VT reader Richard asks: “I am switching to a vegetarian lifestyle, but I still on occasion crave meat. Just wondering if you had a good alternative to bacon? Seems to be my worst addiction.”

Not to worry, Richard! You don’t need bacon to get that rich, smoky flavor and crisp-chewy texture. (Extra incentive to ditch it: a new study finds that eating bacon regularly could negatively impact male fertility.) You can always find veggie bacon strips in the supermarket fridge or freezer section, but if you want to get more creative, here are five easy swaps:

Sun-dried tomatoes The oil-packed kind adds rich, salty goodness to scrambled eggs, soups, and pastas. Use in moderation—a little goes a long way.

Crispy fried shallots Got oil? Got shallots? That’s all you need to make this crunchy, sprinkle-on-anything topping. (Try the ones in our Green Beans with Walnuts and Shallot Crisps.)

Veggie chips VT food editor Mary Margaret Chappell is all about putting BBQ-flavored Terra Chips in her CLT sandwich (chips, lettuce, tomato). Other smoky sammie add-ins: grilled tofu slices and smoked cheese.

Roasted mushrooms Earthy-tasting shiitakes get crispy on the outside but stay juicy on the inside. Marinate in soy sauce to up the umami factor.

Tempeh bacon Make it yourself with this vintage VT recipe, or whip up the crumbles in our Warm German Potato Salad. They take only 5 minutes to make!

Got a question for us? Send it to editor@vegetariantimes.com.

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comments

I find halloumi to be my favourite! Not to put in dishes exactly but if the saltiness really does the trick.

rhiannon - 2013-12-27 00:13:16

Lightlife makes awesome Fakin' Bacon. It says Smoky Tempeh Strips on the package, and it's sooooo good. The ingredients are wholesome, too.

Maggie - 2013-11-19 20:09:01

Seitan...the best substitute for bacon!

Danny - 2013-11-13 01:22:30

I suggest that he visits an intensive pig farm - Pig poo smells just like bacon, it might do the trick.

Susan - 2013-10-31 07:19:36

I slice zucchini into super thin strips and soak them in soy sauce for an hour.

Erin Renee - 2013-10-29 04:37:22

Sun dried toms are my go-to bacon substitute too! I also find that blue cheese (a good Stilton, say) makes a good alternative as well. Salty and tangy. And if you're properly strict (I tend to fail on that front when it comes to cheese) a quick Google reveals a lot made with vegetable rennet, at least it does here in the UK.

Zola Spud - 2013-10-27 05:53:00

I use Tofurky's smoky maple tempeh strips and it is delicious in BLTs as well as in salads or anywhere you want that bacon flavor. They're very easy to heat and eat.

Shelly - 2013-10-27 01:02:49