When I went vegetarian almost 7 years ago (!), my last hold out was bacon. Everything else was so easy to give up. I didn’t like the taste of it so I stopped eating it. There was no fuss, no big moment, no epiphany and I never looked back. But, every once in a while I think about bacon. More precisely bacon dipped in maple syrup. Something my brother and I both shared a love for growing up. The salty, sweetness was pure perfection. Of course when I think about what it actually is, I immediately retract the idea of eating it. But nonetheless, that salty sweet combo remains a craving. That’s why when I started seeing coconut bacon pop up in the food blogging world I was intrigued and when I thought about maple coconut bacon I knew it had to be mine.
Now I’m never one to say that a vegetarian substitute will replace the real thing. In my experience, it usually doesn’t. And I’m not here to say that this will taste just like regular bacon. However, this maple coconut bacon does have five attributes that get it kind of close: salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy, delicious and for those things alone, I think it’s worth a share.
I’ve been making big batches of maple coconut bacon once a week for months now, using it primarily on salads and as soup toppers. Although Noe has been known to eat it by itself, straight from the sheet pan.
Before I dive into the recipe a few notes on the cooking and storing of maple coconut bacon:
- Watch these suckers, they have a tendency to go from almost done to completely burnt in about 22 seconds. I’ve charred more than my fair share these. To help, I’ve been keeping the oven door open just a tad in the last few minutes of baking so that I can watch for that golden brown color.
- You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week but it does lose some of its crispness. Leave it on the counter to better retain the texture. It will stay 2-3 days in a sealed container.I’ve been using maple coconut bacon as a topper for this recipe and it has absolutely taken it over the top. I wholeheartedly recommend making both!
- ½ tablespoon olive oil plus an extra tiny drizzle directly on the sheet pan to avoid sticking (a little olive oil spray works well directly on the sheet pan as well)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos or Tamari
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded coconut)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix olive oil, maple syrup, liquid smoke, Braggs and onion powder in a bowl.
- Toss coconut flakes into liquid mixture, coating coconut well.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil or spray directly on the sheet pan.
- Spread coconut flakes onto a baking sheet in one single layer.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes watching flakes closely in the last few minutes to avoid burning. These turned out perfectly in my oven right at 12 minutes but I think it runs on the cool side.