The Healthiest Vegan Bacon Substitute Takes Only Minutes to Make

Photo: Sareena's Food
At this point, you probably know that—despite it being delicious—bacon isn't the best food health-wise. Like other processed meats, it contains preservatives and a ton of sodium. (Not to mention, it has the potential to cause serious health issues when you eat it on the daily.) But what if I told you there's a way you can eat all the bacon your heart desires without any negative consequences?

Carrot bacon has been trending online lately because, well, people are completely fascinated that you can make one of America's favorites foods out of a veggie. While it sounds too good to be true, there are two main components you need to make something bacon-like: a crispy texture and a smoky taste. And Sareena Sheppard, the recipe developer behind the gluten-free food blog Sareena's Food, has nailed both of those things.

"It has the smokiness, saltiness, and crispiness that makes everyone love bacon." —Sareena Sheppard, food blogger

In her recipe, she thinly slices carrots before brushing on a marinade of maple syrup, tahini, tamari, almond butter, and—the secret ingredient that makes it meaty—liquid smoke. After baking the carrots in the oven on parchment paper, they come out crispy enough to be eaten alongside your favorite breakfast foods, inside a breakfast sandwich, in a BLT—basically however you want. "It has the smokiness, saltiness, and crispiness that makes everyone love bacon," she says.

This is one of those recipes you definitely need to taste to believe, but once you take your first bite of carrot bacon, it's safe to say you'll be hooked.

Smoky carrot bacon recipe

2 carrots (peeled)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp almond butter
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice the carrots 1/16 of an inch thick lengthwise and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Combine the maple syrup, tahini, tamari, and almond butter. Add the liquid smoke 1 drop at a time to get your desired smokiness. That way, it doesn't overpower things.
4. Spread the mixture over both sides of the carrots.
5. Sprinkle with salt and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, flipping halfway through.

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