Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shiitake Bacon
























Isa Chandra Moskowitz is right—vegans will make bacon out of anything. Eggplant, coconut, mushrooms and tempeh have all been used to recreate various crispy and salty bacon analogs. While some may balk at the concept, I happen to love it, as it shows that the smoky, savory and greasy quality of bacon—the aspects that make it so endearing to foodies and meat eaters—can be easily replicated using completely vegan ingredients. 

This idea certainly isn't minebut I decided I'd try it out after after buying a huge bag of shiitake mushrooms in Chinatown late last week. I've seen two varieties of shiitakes in Boston—"flower mushrooms" (花菇) large, meaty ones with thick stems and "winter mushrooms" (冬菇) lighter, spongier ones with slender stems. I used the larger (and significantly cheaper) kind for making these, and they were perfect in this application. They came out of the oven crispy along the edges, and slightly chewier and succulent towards the center. Besides eating them as is, these would be perfect sprinkled on top of a vegan clam chowder or split pea soupserved alongside a tofu scramble or french toast, tossed in roasted brussel sprouts or used in a sandwich.

INGREDIENTS
1 TB olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

METHOD
Preheat oven to 350. Place a silpat over a baking sheet, set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients except for the sliced shiitake into a shallow glass pyrex or bowl. Whisk to combine.

Add in the sliced shiitake, and stir gently to combine. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes to an hour.

Place the shiitake in a single layer onto the silpat. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes*. Increase the heat to 375, then bake for 10 minutes more. Flip, then finish for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end to ensure they do not burn.

Remove from the oven and place on paper towels to drain. As they drain, the edges will become crispy. Serve immediately.

*Baking times will differ based on the thickness and type of shiitake you are using. After baking for 15-20 minutes, just keep an eye on them to prevent burning.


44 comments:

  1. wow, i'm shocked at how few ingredients go into making this! they look delicious and i REALLY need to try making them!

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    1. These were fun to make -- I think they would go perfect with some of your gf pancakes! ; )

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  2. This looks delicious! Do you think I can make this with dry shiitake mushrooms? I barely see regular shiitake mushrooms at my local stores.

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    1. Thank you! I think using dry ones would work. I would rehydrate them fully, slice, rehydrate again, pat dry, then marinate. I think it would give a different texture than with fresh, but in a good way. Good luck!

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  3. Simple never sounded more delicious! Hmmmm...wonder how it would taste atop of a vegan pancake cupcake with maple buttercream? I'll have to give it a try and let you know! :) Thanks for posting! Netty

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    1. Netty, I like the way you think. : )

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  4. Do you think you could use baby portabellas?

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    1. I think they would work fine here -- they are lighter and spongier (i.e. less "meaty") than shiitakes -- so they may crisp up faster -- just keep an eye on them to prevent burning -- good luck!

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    2. Yes, I used baby bellas and doubled the marinade as Erin suggested in another comment--it was wonderful! I did keep a close eye on them and took them out of the oven a bit early.

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  5. I make this with just olive oil and sea salt and it really tastes like bacon

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  6. I'm thinking of adding some soy sauce and putting the shiitake in a dehydrator so it is shiitake jerky.

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  7. oh, YUM, this looks incredible! I just developed a split pea soup topped with tempeh "bacon" and now I want to try substituting these, it might be even better! Thank you.

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  8. These look divine! I can see so many ways to use these! Thanks for yet another delicious variation of "bacon".

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  9. Brilliant idea. Though unfortunately I've no idea where in the UK I can get 'liquid smoke'!

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    1. Liquid smoke isn't critical here -- if you have some smoked paprika, that will do, but you'll still get a crispy and savory piece without these two things.

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  10. Wow, I just made these tonight and I am shocked at how closely they tasted like bacon. I even fooled my girlfriend (who isn't vegan) when I had her blindly try them and she thought she ate bacon! Thanks for the recipe!

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  11. Incredibly good!!! Thank you!

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  12. I just made these for my family, and it simply blew everyone away! I swear not only tastes like bacon, but it tastes BETTER than bacon!!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed and thanks for the kind feedback! : )

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  13. Does it have to be sesame oil can I use something else?

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    1. You can add a little extra olive oil in place of the sesame oil.

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    2. Just my two cents, but I think the sesame oil gave it the "bacon-y" flavor. It was the smell that reminded me of bacon while it was cooking.

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    3. I replaced the sesame oil with more olive oil and it certainly still tasted like bacon to me! :)

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  14. OMG I just made these tonight and they were AMAZING!!! Thank you soo much for this creative, tasty treat! I tell you I LOVE BACON, I mean Love it so I was praying this was gonna be good, and it was!!!! From a soul food sista this bacon is on Point! It will help me as I walk this plant based journey! Again thanks! Blessings

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    1. Thanks Krystal -- so glad you enjoyed! : )

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  15. Just out of curiousity- do you know how long they'd last after making them?? They seem like they'd be good to sort of "have on hand".

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    1. I can't say for sure (I've demolished each batch I've made in one sitting), but I think that they could be refrigerated for a day or two, then recrisped in a hot skillet before serving again.

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  16. Are you referring to toasted sesame oil in the recipe?

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    1. toasted or plain will both work here.

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  17. I didn't seem to have enough liquid for the mushrooms, they only got wet on one side (I did use portabella) Do you think I should add more oil or some soy sauce? - Laura

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    1. Portabellas are more porous than shiitakes, so they will soak up more liquid. I think you could just double or triple the oils and still get a good result.

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  18. I made these with local organic shitakes and they were gone in a flash between me and the kids. I can't wait to see if they have flower mushrooms at our local asian market. I think a little thicker would make them absolutely divine. Love this recipe! Thank you!

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  19. First - two cups was not nearly enough. More like 20 cups. These are so incredibly delicious. Second - I'd love to feature these in a recipe on my blog, with full credit of course. I'll shoot you an email!

    I need to go get more shiitake mushrooms. LOL.

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  20. Does it have to be shitakes? Can I use baby portebellas, or will the texture or taste be off?

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    1. Hi maria, shiitakes are best for this, but if you can't get your hands on them, portobellas should produce a similar result. But I can't guarantee since I've never tried it. I would think that since portos are less porous, you would need to up the marinade level -- maybe double it? Good luck!

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  21. Thanks. I bought some babies and will make a big batch of marinade.

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  22. I just finished the baby bellas. If the shitakes are better, I will be in heaven. I had to use a double batch of marinade. I need to make more!!!!!!!!!! My kids love bacon and hate mushrooms. I guaranteed them that they will love these shrooms, if there are any left by the time I serve dinner.

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  23. Just made this with a vegan gram flour omelette. So fantastic! Thanks for the recipe:)

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  24. This looks so delicious, just the look alone. I can't wait to make it

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  25. Amazing recipe! These were the closest thing to actual bacon I've had in five years. The cooking time was too long for me, but your comment about checking after the first 25 minutes was spot on... if only I was better at following directions, I wouldn't have ended up with half a burnt batch! :-) Hopefully this will help the next person. I'm not sad that I'll have to try them again very soon!

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  26. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I've now made it several times and it is a hit! I've used several different kinds of mushrooms - all are delicious.

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  27. Thank you so very much for sharing this unbelievable recipe! Both myself and my omniverous partner thought this was truly indistinguishable from (very, very good) bacon. I liked it so much that I made it part of my recipe for vegan potato and leek soup (http://rivelsandgrits.com/vegan-potato-and-leek-soup)!

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