There are so many recipes out there for plant-based bacon alternatives, and I’ve tried just about all of them. The one consistent problem I’ve found is the hardest to achieve: texture.
Coconut and rice paper bacon are too dry and brittle. Prepackaged faux bacons are too soggy and mealy. But thanks to a spontaneous trip to Viet Hoa Market on Cleveland and a well-timed markdown, I had some King Oyster Mushrooms to play with!
Before I get into the recipe, remember to be careful of what brand of sugar you choose. In case you’re unfamiliar with its production, it’s common practice for companies to use bone char (referred to as ‘natural carbon’) to filter sugar. This applies to both white and brown sugars. However, you can use this handy list of vegan sugar sources to ensure your recipe stays vegan!
- 2-4 King Oyster Mushrooms (depending on size), sliced longways
- 1-2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Hickory Smoked Salt (or Plain Salt)
- 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- A Pinch of Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 325. (I skipped greasing the baking pan because there is enough oil in the seasoning mixture, but you can if you wish!)
- Combine dry spices in a small bowl. If you want a more smokey flavor, use less of the brown sugar, and if you’re going for a more caramelized or candied bacon, use less paprika.
- In batches on a large plate, drizzle the mushrooms with olive oil, then sprinkle with the dry mixture. You may have to massage the seasoning into them to ensure they’re evenly coated.
- Place mushrooms on the baking pan, evenly spaced.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until they start to brown, then flip.
- Bake for another 20 minutes, until they begin to darken.
- Pull them out and let cool! The cooling is crucial to the crisping process so you can achieve that yummy crunchy texture.
- Serve! You may end up with extra, but obviously this dish can keep for at least a week. Refrigerate and use as needed.