Four ingredients, 20 minutes, and a whole lot of intense flavour: Shiitake Bacon is the salty, crispy, easy-to-make plant-based meat replacement you didn’t even know you needed. But once you try it, trust me, there’ll be no going back.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Tempeh Bacon (and its tofu equivalent), but when I heard a rumour of shiitake bacon being a thing, I wanted to see how my marinade recipe worked on mushrooms. Let’s just say, since the first time I tried it, we’ve been eating shiitake bacon about twice a week (and that’s me holding back!)
It tastes amazing. It’s:
- crispy and slightly chewy;
- sticky; and
Far from being the boring option, mushrooms actually make the perfect vegan ‘meat’ because they’re so simple to get hold of. If you can’t easily find tempeh or firm tofu, but you’ve been wanting to try out a bacon alternative, then this is the recipe for you. In fact, it works so well we’ve put the temeph and tofu bacon on the back-burner (something I never thought I’d say), because it goes with everything.
And when I say everything, I mean savoury and sweet. As a crispy topping for Chestnut Soup, this Lentil One-Pot and a Breakfast Scramble or Hash, it even works deliciously well sprinkled on Brownies and Florentines! It is that good.
A few tips:
- If you can’t find shiitake mushrooms, other field/forest varieties work just as well, they just have a less distinctive flavour. I’ve tried chestnut and portobello, and both taste wonderful.
- Make sure each mushrooom slice is fully coated during the marination stage – you want the flavour to get inside as well as all over.
- Adjust the cooking time and thickness of each slice depending on the degree of crispness you want – if you’re after bacon bits to crumble, you should have thin, well-cooked mushrooms.
Now that I’ve shared this tasty revelation with you, you can expect to be seeing a lot of new recipes that make the most of this savoury treat. What will you be making?
- 100g shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tbsp tamari or good soy sauce
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tsp olive/rapeseed oil, plus extra for cooking (optional - see note)
- At least 30 minutes before cooking: Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, slice the mushrooms thinly and mix well, ensuring a good coating.
- When you're ready to cook the shiitake bacon, heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- If using oil: spread the mushroom slices out on a tray and drizzle on a little more oil, to prevent sticking.
- If not using oil: spread the mushroom slices out on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Cook for 10 minutes, turn each slice over and cook for a further 10 minutes. You can decide at this point if you want to cook the bacon longer for a crispier finish.