There are plenty of ways to make vegan bacon: You can create it from zucchini, mushrooms, tempeh, carrots—seriously, the options are nearly endless. One way in particular that’s sure to drop your jaw though? Using none other than rice paper—you know, the item that holds together delicious veggie-packed summer rolls—are the star ingredient.
The genius idea—originally created by the Danish duo Veganer.nu back in 2016—instantly sparked a widespread trend that only continues to grow. More recently, Melissa Huggins, the food blogger behind Vegan Huggs, came up with a version that uses a handful of ingredients to make the rice-paper version taste pretty darn close to the real thing. “Now, I can’t lie and say the rice paper bacon has the same texture as pig bacon because it’s missing the fattiness. However, it’s crispy and slightly chewy with all the sweet, smoky, salty, and umami flavors we’re addicted to,” she writes on her blog.
“It’s crispy and slightly chewy with all the sweet, smoky, salty, and umami flavors we’re addicted to.” —Melissa Huggins, food blogger
To get the melt-in-you-mouth taste, don’t skip Huggins’ secret: super-bacon-y marinade, which involves ingredients like tamari, maple syrup, liquid smoke, molasses, and garlic. And there’s a certain technique to get that crispiness too. Instead of dipping the pieces of rice paper directly in the mix, she first softens them under water then lays them on a flat surface and lightly brushes the marinade on each side, making sure not to put on too much, which can lead to sogginess and chewiness.
After cutting the rice paper into thick strips, they go onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. But before putting them in the oven at 375°F for five to seven minutes, there’s one trick you can use to amp up your vegan bacon-eating experience even more: “This next step is optional and will create a slightly chewier texture on the edge of the bacon,” Huggins writes. “Just lightly brush the marinade on half of the bacon strip. No need to flip it over, one side is enough.” What results is a crispy treat that saves the piggies and keeps your heart healthy.
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