I held a private cooking class the weekend before last. It was a global brunch class, scheduled to serve a thick sliced bacon with a brown sugar glaze. The people attending asked me to make the class vegetarian. Which means, “hold the bacon please”. In order to make the menu complete, I needed to find something to fill in for the fatty meaty side. What to do…what to do?? The search was on to come up with something savoury and fabulous. I found a recipe that seemed to fit the bill. Nutritious to boot! Is that a saying ..to boot? Anyway, this is what I came up with, facon. A vegan recipe that actually flavourfully simulates pig kind of meat. I kid you not. We cooked this thing up in no time! It was very very tasty.
The recipe is made with dry adzuki beans. In addition to all kinds of yummy ingredients that you would not guess make this sus like (genus for pig) strip of goodness. It contains little salt, no excessive fat, no unprocessed sugar, and NO nitrates. The composition was chewy, had the right amount of salty smoky fatty taste. Eureka! I think by George we got it! One other thing, the soaking removes any fear of flatulence. Rinse a couple of times. Add more water and continue soaking.
So what’s the problem? Here’s the thing, the recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke. I found Woodland’s Hickory liquid smoke at the grocery store. Not a hard find. Then I proceeded to do my due diligence and discovered that it might have some health concerns. The operative word is “might”. Given the amount of liquid smoke found in the recipe is miniscule proportionate to the number of pieces, and crucial to the authentic taste, I decided this isn’t such a big deal to me. If it’s no biggie to you, I suggest you give it a whirl (pun intended). Also, the hickory smoke or the brand may also have something to do with it not being an issue. At this date, I didn’t find any concrete data to support health issues.
Try it alone, as part of a FLT (facon, lettuce, and tomato), clubhouse sandwich, bits for a salad…wherever your imagination can take you. Facon or bacon, you chews (get it?).
Facon – Vegan Bacon
Makes about 24
1/2 cup dried adzuki beans or other small red beans
1/3 cup hulled whole grain buckwheat groats (toasted kind or not is fine)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Rinse the beans and buckwheat, place in large bowl covered with several inches of cold filtered water; let soak overnight (24 hours).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Strain the soaked beans and buckwheat and rinse.
Place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion powder, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, aminos or soy sauce, salt, tomato paste, coconut oil, and maple syrup.
Pulse several times to combine, scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and continue pulsing until uniform but not as pureed as hummus.
Line a 9×13 casserole dish with parchment paper and coat pan with baking spray. Or, spread on a silpat.
Place bacon mixture in pan and spread as much as possible with a spatula. To get the mixture very thin and evenly spread, 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, then slice into 24 strips, about 1 inch by 4 inches (Do this by making one lengthwise cut down the center, and then twelve cuts across the shorter side).
Remove the strips with a small spatula.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. (I sprayed the pan, you don’t need much oil)
Fry the bacon slices for 2-3 minutes, flipping once.
Alternatively, before frying, you can freeze the bacon, then fry when ready to serve (no need to thaw first).