A crispy and delicious eggplant bacon with all the taste and none of the harm. Easily prepared in two ways, either baked or fried!
- 1 medium Italian eggplant
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
- 1/2 tablespoons coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more as desired
- Slice the eggplant: Trim the stem from the eggplant*. Use a mandolin or a vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips of eggplant by peeling vertically down the length of the eggplant. They should be about 1/8-inch thick. We turned ours every few strips to evenly cut around the eggplant. You can discard any strips that are primarily peeled along with the very seedy innards of the eggplant, but we decided to fry those up as well to waste less.
- Baked eggplant bacon: Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Lay the strips out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet or large cutting board. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the marinade using a spoon or pastry brush. Don’t go too heavy so it is not soggy, but be sure it is nicely coated. Bake at 250F or golden brown, about 1 hour.
- OR Fried eggplant bacon: Combine the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. The olive oil will not be used for the fried version. Lay the strips out in a single layer on a baking sheet or large cutting board. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the marinade using a spoon or pastry brush. Don’t go too heavy so it is not soggy, but be sure it is nicely coated. Add about 1/2 cup of canola oil or your oil of choice in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and warm until shimmering, about 5-6 minutes. Add about 4 strips of the eggplant at a time, seasoned-side up, and fry until crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Some pieces will cook faster than others, so pay attention! Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined baking sheet or plates and repeat frying the remaining strips. The fried version is best enjoyed immediately. If you need to reheat it later, you can crisp it up under a broiler.
- The olive oil will not be used for the fried version.
- Add salt as desired. With the tamari, it is already a bit salty, so just adjust as you desire!
- We have received feedback that some of you did not like the texture of the eggplant skin as it is tougher than the inner portion. You may peel the eggplant and discard of the skin if desired.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour for baked, 20 minutes for fried
- Category: Side
- Cuisine: Vegan
Keywords: Vegan, Bacon, Veganized, side, eggplant, gluten free, appetizer, BLT