This vegan Eggplant Bacon recipe takes all the flavor and crispiness of bacon and packs it into thinly sliced eggplant! Perfect in your vegetarian breakfast spread, on BLTs, and just generally anytime you’re craving bacon.
When I went vegetarian, there was one craving that would pop up out of the blue, coming at me with full vengeance. I’m talking the bacon cravings.
But in this day and age anything is possible, including the meatless bacon! Which is, of course, what we’re whipping up today.
This vegan bacon uses eggplant as the base. Eggplant is super absorbent and great with smoky flavors, so it’s an obvious pick. Then just brush it with a flavorful spice combo and pop it in either the air fryer (for maximum crispiness) or oven! Boom, bacon.
Ingredients for Eggplant Bacon
Unlike many of the vegan bacon recipes out there, we’re making this Eggplant Bacon without liquid smoke. Instead, we rely on the combined flavors of Worcestershire sauce and smoked paprika!
- Eggplant: The base of our vegan bacon! It’s cut into thin into strips and then loaded with flavor. Most types of eggplant work well here, but we’re going with the classic Italian eggplant.
- Soy sauce: This adds the salty component (sub tamari for a gluten-free option).
- Oil: Olive oil helps to promote that crispy, crunchy texture to simulate bacon.
- Maple syrup: Just a drizzle of sweetness transforms the flavor depth of this eggplant bacon!
- Worcestershire sauce: This brings major umami into the mix. Be sure to use a plant-based Worcestershire, as the traditional sauce has anchovies (I love this one)
- Spices: Finally, a blend of spices like smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin!
How to vegan-ize your bacon
Step 1: Slice Bacon
Slice your eggplant pretty thin (about 1/8 of an inch). I use a mandolin slicer to make this easier!
This tool makes quick and even slicing a breeze!
Step 2: Flavor It Up
Stir together your favor makers and brush them onto the eggplant slices.
Step 3: Cook
You’ve got two options here. You can airfry (my preferred method because it makes them extra crisp) or oven bake.
- ½ eggplant
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce 15 mL, or tamari for GF option
- 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup 15 mL
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin
- 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Prep: Preheat oven or air fryer to 250°F (121°C). Cut eggplant into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice into long strips resembling bacon (about ⅛ inch thick, a mandolin slicer makes this easier).
- Flavor: In a small bowl, stir to combine all remaining ingredients. Liberally brush onto both sides of eggplant slices.
- Cook: If air frying, place bacon in a single layer in your air fryer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until dry and browned. If baking, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until dry and browned (flip each bacon slice halfway through bacon for even cooking).
- Cool: Allow eggplant bacon to cool slightly. It will continue to crip up as it cooks!