I’ve tried them all* – what vegan hasn’t?
Bacon made with tofu, eggplant, coconut, mushrooms – and commercial products like the bacon from Sweet Earth. They all have their positive qualities and uses, but IMHO none of them are as delicious or bacon-like as adzuki bean bacon. My first encounter with this intriguing concept came from Meat Free Athlete, but I found that the soak-only method left the beans too hard and crunchy. Also, buckwheat’s unique taste overwhelmed the other flavors.
Years after trying MFA’s recipe, I visited a small restaurant in downtown Tulsa that made its own version of adzuki bean bacon. With my first bite, I was transported on a taste bud bliss cloud of smoky goodness to plant-based bacon nirvana. As I chewed and savored, I schemed how I could bribe the chef to share his or her recipe.
Instead, I decided to once again give MFA’s recipe a try, modifying it to suit my tastes – and countless versions later, here is the result! I love this stuff. I make a batch of it nearly every week and use it in sandwiches, on salads and bowls, with tofu scramble, as an afternoon snack. It’s very, very delicious, especially after being lightly browned in a dry skillet.
My simple tweaks are to replace the buckwheat groats with steel-cut oats. The oats don’t impart any flavor, but add to the meaty texture and help bind the ingredients. I par-cook the adzuki beans (along with the oats) so that the crunch factor is less pronounced. Additionally, I bump up the smoke flavor by adding more liquid smoke, smoked paprika, and adding a dash of hickory smoke powder. To create a chewy texture and further binding properties, I add psyllium husks. Try it yourself. I think you’ll love it as much as I do.
*I refuse to try banana peel bacon.
If you miss the chew and crunch of bacon, this recipe will make your heart and stomach very, very happy. Made with healthy beans and oats and deep smoky flavor, you’ll want to put this on everything!
- 1/2 cup dried adzuki beans
- 1/3 cup steel-cut oats
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. liquid aminos
- 2 Tbsp. psyllium husks
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning or rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. hickory smoke powder, optional
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F and line a half sheet baking/cookie pan with parchment.
- Soak adzuki beans overnight. Drain, rinse, and place in a small saucepan with the steel-cut oats.
- Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and cook for 10-12 minutes. The beans should have some bite to them. You want some texture, not moosh. Drain and let cool for a few minutes.
- Add the bean and oat mixture along with all of the remaining ingredients to a food processor. Pulse a few times, scrape the sides, and pulse again. You don’t want a uniform mash; leave some pieces of bean. This gives the bacon some bite.
- Scrape the mixture out of the food processor and onto the prepared pan. Pat the mixture as close to the pan’s edges as you can, trying to create and even layer throughout. You can moisten your hands to prevent sticking.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Bacon will pull back from the edges of the pan a bit. Allow to cool before cutting into strips. Lightly brown the slices in a dry skillet on medium-low heat before serving.
If you prefer a thicker “slice,” don’t pat the mixture to the pan’s edges.
Keywords: vegan bacon, bean bacon, adzuki beans, steel-cut oats, easy, quick, smoky, breakfast, brunch, BLT, tofu scramble
THROWBACK RECIPE, SEPTEMBER 2015