Vegan Bacon

There are lots of different vegan bacon recipes circulating around, but I wanted to share my version.  Mostly, the differences are in the marinade.  I never found one that I really loved, so I just kept experimenting.  I opt to bake mine for a healthier version, however you can certainly fry them in a pan to get that extra crispiness, although you can certainly achieve a crispy piece of bacon from baking.

Eat it plain.  Make a BLT.  Crumble it to get bacon bits as a salad topper.  This stuff is versatile.  I am working on a pasta dish now that can easily be translated into a ‘carbonara’ by adding bacon (recipe forthcoming).  There are some vegan bacon bits you can buy at the store, however a few are made from coconut…and taste like coconut…not the desired taste for bacon, or they are made from a long list of chemicals I can’t pronounce.  I just prefer to make my own.

Alt=”Vegan Bacon”

Alt=”Vegan Bacon”

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Eggplant, peeled and quartered longways

Marinade

  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 6 drops liquid smoke

Directions:

1. Trim the top and bottom of the eggplant and peel it. Divide the eggplant into four quarters cutting longways. With a mandolin slicer, carefully slice a quarter of the eggplant into thin strips. Set aside onto a papertowl and pat dry. Repeat for the remaining three quarters.

2. While the eggplant is setting, prepare the marinade. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well until the sugar has been fully dissolved.

3. Dip each slice of eggplant into the marinade and lie flat in a 9 x 13 pyrex dish. Repeat for all slices, layering on top of each other. Pour the remaining marinade over the top, close the lid and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, occasionally shaking the container to mix up the settled marinade.

4. When you are ready to prepare, preheat the over to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil and lay each slice flat. Do not overlap slices. This may take 2 to 3 separate batches. Bake until slices are crisp, flipping occasionally. Baking times differ with the thickness of the slices and individual ovens. Some take 10 minutes, others 20. Watch carefully to remove at the correct time.  Alternative cooking option:  fry in a frying pan over medium high heat in oil to desired crispness.

Did you make this recipe?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Grilled Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli

As promised, more tailgate food.  Although, I suppose these sliders are not just for tailgates, as they would be just as good at a backyard barbecue…or anytime you have access to a grill really.  Easy to mass produce and quick to make, these are perfect to serve when expecting a crowd…and they disappear quickly.

My family was checking out a new ‘country store’ that opened down the street a few weeks ago.  It has a large aisle full of spices, in which, of course, I spent way too much time.  I saw the powdered horseradish and knew immediately what I wanted to do with it.  I love how the aioli came out, creamy and garlicy with a bit of a horsey kick (I know, I’m lame, but still laughing at my dumb joke anyway).  It pairs very well with the eggplant.  The slider itself is very plain…bread, arugula, eggplant, aioli.  It’s not topped with a whole lot of stuff, simply because it doesn’t need it.

I recommend grilling only one side of each piece of bread.  I love a toasted sandwich, but hate when it is overdone, which is easy to do when toasting both sides of a thinly sliced french bread.  It can feel like eating a sandwich between to crostinis, not what I’m going for here.  By toasting one side, you get the crispness on one side, but the other stays nice and soft and warm.

Mayo or Miracle Whip?  Everyone has their own opinion.  Vegan mayo is no different.  Different brands can taste completely different, in fact for years I thought I didn’t like vegan mayo.  Every one I tried I didn’t care for.  Until I found ‘the one’.  I love Earth Balance Olive Oil Mayo and almost never use anything different.  The kind of mayo you choose really really makes a difference.  Choose wisely.

I included my own basting sauce recipe, but you can probably use a variety of different sauces depending on what you prefer.  I’ve used bottled barbecue sauce in a pinch.  Just as long as it pairs with the aioli, you’re good.  Happy grilling!

Alt=”Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli”

Ingredients:

  • 1 french baguette
  • 1 cup arugala
  • 2 baby eggplants

Eggplant Basting Sauce

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • cup soy sauce
  • cup water
  • ½ tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch salt

Garlic Horseradish Aioli

  • ¾ cup vegan mayo (I use Earth Balance Olive Oil Mayo)
  • cup non dairy milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons horseradish powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon tumeric
  • pinch salt

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients for the eggplant basting sauce in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients for the aioli in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

3. Wash the baby eggplant and trim off the tops and bottoms. Cut 1/2 inch steaks. Repeat for the second eggplant. Each eggplant should yield approximately five 1/2 inch steaks.

4. Slice the baguette into twenty 1/2 inch thick slices.

5. Lubricate the grill with sesame oil and heat to medium high. Place the eggplant steaks on the grill and generously brush with the basting sauce. Flip the steaks and generously baste the other side. Flip and baste every few minutes until the steak is done. It will be softened, but not mushy, and have crisp dark grill marks. Meanwhile, lightly toast one side of the bread on the grill.

6. Place a dollop of aioli on each of the non-toasted sides of two slices of bread. To assemble the slider, place one slice of bread toasted side down, top with the arugula, eggplant, and the other slice of bread. Repeat for the remaining nine sliders. Skewer the sliders with a fun or decorative toothpick. Serve on a platter with the remaining aioli for dipping.

(Makes 10 sliders)

Grilled Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli Recipe Card

Alt=”Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli”

Alt=”Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli”

Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!