Sweet and Savory Coconut Bacon
GUEST POST – Written by Janet Hudson
The past couple of years the majority of the vegan population has gone gaga over coconut bacon…I suppose that our craving for salty smokiness is just too strong – in fact we vegans make bacon out of many food items – tempeh, TVP, mushrooms, you name it. It is all about the taste, textures and memories we have enjoyed over food and indulging in a healthy alternative to pork is obviously high on our list—even better, the coconut in particular has many excellent health benefits:
- Can help you lose weight or maintain your already good weight
- Reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol
- Improve medical and digestive conditions
- Prevent other disease and illness because they contain antibacterial, antiviral and anti- fungal properties
- Increase metabolism and promote healthy thyroid function
- Boosts your daily energy
- Rejuvenates your skin and prevent wrinkles!
I have been vegan for 20 years now and as a vegan chef and caterer I am known for veganizing many tried and true culinary dishes…when my husband and I first visited Maui eight years ago we took the road trip to Hana and discovered coconut candy- man is it good! I always wondered why there couldn’t be a savory side to that sweet snack. As soon as we got home I had to make the candy—and it was easy because the recipe was already a vegan one! Here it is:
Peel and crack a coconut. Pry the white meat away from the shell and shave the pieces with a sharp vegetable peeler. Don’t worry about the brown rind-leave it on. Spread a shallow layer of the coconut in a rimmed baking sheet and generously sprinkle it with Maui raw turbinado sugar. Bake at the lowest possible temperature in your oven (200 degrees or less) for eight to 10 hours or longer, stirring occasionally to spread the sugar, which melts into a syrup and soaks into the coconut.
Now imagine trying that on the savory side and you will have coconut bacon. And if you are a little intimidated about using a coconut in the shell – don’t be – just buy a bag of flaked coconut and you are good to go! Why not make some today:
- 3 1/2 cups flaked coconut
- 2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
- 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos or tamari
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine liquid smoke, Braggs, syrup, and water in a large mixing bowl. Pour in flaked coconut, using a wooden spoon to gently toss the coconut in the liquid mixture. If adding smoked paprika, add and toss to coat evenly. Once the coconut is evenly coated, pour it onto a non-stick baking sheet and slide it the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a spatula to flip the ‘bacon’ about every 5 minutes so it cooks evenly. Watch the bacon closely and toss it frequently to prevent burning. Coconut bacon can be stored in a sealed bag or container for up to a month, refrigerator optional—in fact I have stored it for up to 8 weeks.
Use it on salads, BLTs, pasta (hmmm, Mac N Cheese), pancakes, ice creams, cupcakes, or wherever a recipe calls for bacon! You will be hooked!
About the author ~
Janet Hudson is a self taught vegan chef- she opened Vegan Feast Catering Co. serving Southern California in 2000; she specializes as a private chef and vegan party planner.
She has authored The Easy Vegan – a cookbook centered on veganizing old skool recipes from her childhood and
looks forward to a new cookbook coming out soon – Vegan Feasts.
This book is very special- it is a family cookbook, a celebratory cookbook complete with party planning.
Janet’s “real” job has been in the veterinary industry -time dedicated heart and soul to the animals.
She is guardian for pets at home too….loving two little norwich terriers, “Love Token” and “Bogart” to pieces! While her new business website is under construction–www.veganfeast.com, you can visit Janet on FlickR, browse her TumblR blog, Wasabi Peas, or check out vegan cup caking on her blog, gonnagowalkthedogs.typepad.com