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 toasted sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, and smoked paprika!
- Eggplant: The base of our vegan bacon! Cut thin into strips then loaded with flavor.
- Soy sauce: This adds the salty component (sub tamari for a gluten-free option).
- Oil: We’ll use a blend of toasted sesame oil, which brings some smoky flavor, and olive oil.
- Maple syrup: Just a drizzle of sweetness transforms the flavor depth of this eggplant bacon!
- Lemon juice: Fresh is best here!
- 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 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!
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.
- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce 30 mL, or tamari for GF option
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil 15 mL
- 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- 1 tsp maple syrup 5 mL
- 1 tsp lemon juice 5 mL
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, and cumin
- 1/4 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Prep: Preheat air fryer or oven to 300 degrees F (150 C). Cut eggplant into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice into long strips resembling bacon (about 1/8 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 frying pan 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 40 minutes, until dry and browned.