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coconut baconI pride myself on being fairly adventurous when it comes to food. Within reason. I seriously doubt there would be a circumstance that would see me tucking into witchetty grubs or guinea pig.

But funnily enough, despite knowing about coconut bacon for years I had until very recently never tried it, let alone made it. Silly woman. If I had realised how stupidly easy it is to make I could have saved myself years of bacon-deprived salads, baked potatoes, pancakes, blah blah. Because bacon does go with everything, right? I mean people make jam from it, and stuff it into cupcakes. It’s even in chocolate for goodness sake. Chocolate!

Alongside a short stack seems so last century.

I am not sure of the origins of coconut bacon but, commercially, Phoney Baloney in the US bags its spot as purveyor in chief of this most delicious of comestibles. Luckily for us in the rest of the world (and smart Americans) the basic recipe is not only ridiculously easy, but pretty inexpensive too. And animal-friendly. Not, however, so friendly to innocent coconuts. Poor them. :-(

The only vaguely tricky bits are 1) getting the correct coconut, at least here in the UK. Most supermarkets only stock the dreaded desiccated coconut (nasty stuff – makes me cough), so a health food shop, larger Asian shops and online are your best bet. At least it is pretty cheap and keeps well, so a big bag is a good investment. I got a decent-sized bag of organic stuff for less than £2 at Real Foods (which has an online shop too).  Tricky bit 2) obtaining the Liquid Smoke. You can get it from souschef.co.uk, although I got mine on a trip to the US. It’s essential to the recipe and available at all US grocery stores. But the method is very, very easy. Promise.DSC_0017

Next post (perhaps tomorrow) is my green take of the famous huevos rancheros, covered in an avalanche of coconut bacon. My version is basically a vehicle for coconut bacon. Sounds a bit OTT perhaps, but once you smell that smoky, nutty aroma wafting through your house you’ll be doing the same. I think coconut bacon can make almost anything taste good.

Coconut bacon-covered witchetty grubs anyone?

coconut bacon

Maple Coconut Bacon

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This is a hugely versatile, deliciously smoky little comestible that – unlike the ‘real thing’ – is actually quite good for you. Can’t say fairer than that really.

There are many web recipes for coconut bacon, but this is my version.

100g (2 cups) dried coconut flakes (not desiccated)

1 tbsp Liquid Smoke ® (I bought mine in the US but in the UK get it from Souschef)

¾ tbsp maple syrup (up to 1 tbsp if you like)

1 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos (I used reduced salt soy sauce)

A small pinch of ground white pepper, optional

Fine-grained salt (like Himalayan pink salt), optional

1. Preheat your oven to 150C/300F. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

2. Pour the coconut flakes into a large mixing bowl.

3. In a small bowl mix together the Liquid Smoke, maple syrup, soy sauce and optional pepper.  Pour this over the coconut flakes and gently toss through with your fingers.

4. Spread the coated coconut evenly over the two lined baking trays and sprinkle over a little salt if you like. Bake in the oven until the coconut is a dark golden colour – about 15 minutes, or until crisp. The coconut will crisp further upon cooling.

5. The coconut bacon keeps very well in an airtight container  – up to 2 week for best flavour and texture, but longer if reheated in the oven for a couple of minutes.

How to use your coconut bacon: I will soon be posting a waffle recipe and a huevos rancheros recipe using coconut bacon, but in the meantime try it as a “CBLT’, sprinkled on avocado toast, to top creamy pasta dishes (vegan or not), on baked potatoes, as a salad topper (like that stuff you get in the tubs at the supermarket but WAY nicer), in and on velvety smooth soups, pressed onto just baked donuts or cupcakes (see this vegan recipe from PETA for the donuts) – even smoodged into peanut butter and jam sandwiches (guilty as charged). You will find loads of uses for it. That is if can keep from eating it straight from the tray!

Want more? Here are some other vegetables you can turn into ‘bacon’!

Shiitake Mushrooms, from Guy Gone Vegan

Aubergines/Eggplant, from Le Sauce (thanks Monica Shaw for ‘advertising’ it)

And some Beans and Buckwheat too, from No Meat Athlete

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43 thoughts on “Maple Coconut Bacon – a fab vegan staple item

  1. This is such a good idea – can’t wait to try it crumbled in salads. Also, thanks for the tip about the liquid smoke, I hadn’t heard of it before! Will def give it a go. Which sort do you recommend? I’m thinking applewood or hiccory… x

    1. Either or. You can even get pecan smoked! I hope you like the coconut bacon. Well, I know you will ;-) It’s crunchy and tastes bacony – durr!

  2. this sounds good – have not heard of it but love coconut anyway so will be trying it out. Love the gazillions of uses you have given too!

    1. It is too easy NOT to have a go at it. If you know what I mean. Tell me if you do, Nazima. Thanks for dropping by x

  3. Yum! I’ve been playing with coconut bacon myself lately. Surprisingly, both coconut chips and liquid smoke are quite easy to find here. I used to have a thing for fake Canadian bacon, until I realized how processed most fake meat products are and eschewed them all. Coconut bacon to the rescue!

    1. And vegan cheese – not a fan. The label is always such a health-suck. I know there are recipes to make one’s own but I prefer a little of the real thing. Not tried the Canadian fake bacon but I’m sure it will be even worse than the cheese. Apologies to anyone who likes these products. Just my personal opinion! PS I will look out for your recipes to do with coconut bacon. Have you tried shiitake or eggplant bacon??

  4. petra08 says:

    I love the sound of this! And it looks amazing! Recipe saved! :)

    1. Thanks Petra. We are really loving it. I need to make another batch soon. It really has turned into a savoury staple for me at least.

  5. Kellie I love this!! (but can I pleeeese call it something else….. ;-)

    1. Hmm, smoky coconut strips? Glad you like. I just ate a pile of savoury-sweet waffles with these guys on top. Need to make some more!

  6. Deena Kakaya says:

    I don’t think anyone needs me to say how clever this is or in fact how clever you are! And those uses you’ve given…makes me wonder how I went without coconut bacon all these years. Question is, can I pull it off? I will try my friend xx

    1. If you can’t make it work I will eat a witchetty grub! Don’t hold me to that, btw ;-)

  7. Oh my goodness I never even knew coconut bacon existed! This looks incredible, and so easy to make. I am not vegan or vegetarian at all, but I desperately want to try this. Where did you get your liquid smoke in the US? The more I see it in recipes the more I see I NEED it!

    1. Hi there! I am from Florida where Publix is king. That’s where I got mine, but really any large chain will have it. And places like Cracker Barrel or ‘country cooking’ places and gourmet food shops/kitchen shops. Good luck! It’s cheap and lasts for ages.

      1. Glad to help. If I in fact did! Maybe I have just confused everyone ;-)

  8. Wow, how amazing! I haven’t ever heard of liquid smoke, sounds very Heston! I do love little crunchies in my salad so this is a brilliant plan, thank you.

    1. If our ‘boys’ are at football on Sunday (depends on how late the Leavers’ Ball is I suppose…) I will try and remember to have A bring along a wee tub for you to try.

      1. Ooh, I do LOVE your little samplers. I must admit though I now have a serious kimchi addiction – any meal, any time :)

      2. LOL! Well, on a similar theme I am right now, this very moment making an experimental batch of slow-dried Korean kale chips! I am using gochujang, the Korean pepper paste used in kimchi making, along with a smidge of sesame oil and regular oil. We shall see… My fingers taste nice at least ;-) Coconut bacon batch just out of the oven…

      3. Aaah, my entire stomach is smiling at the thought of all of that :)

  9. HotDish says:

    Wow! I must try this. I do eat bacon (in fact, that Mo’s Bacon Bar you posted a link to is one of my favorite chocolate bars ever!!) but my husband is vegan and I gravitate toward vegan food anyhow – so much healthier! This sound like it could be a fantastic condiment.

    1. Hmm, wondering if you made a homemade chocolate bar for your husband (or he made it – let’s not be sexist, Kellie) what about sprinkling the smaller bits of coconut bacon on top as it sets??? Might have to try that myself!

      1. HotDish says:

        That is a great idea!

  10. sugarsweetrunner says:

    This is so neat! I have actually never heard of such but being a vegetarian, it will be good to try!

  11. wow, this in interesting! I must try:) such a great idea!!!

  12. Urvashi Roe says:

    I totally agree on the desiccated coconut. Have you tried rehydrating it before cooking? It only needs about 10 mins before use. I love this recipe. I think it would work so beautifully as a topping to a cashew cheesecake or maybe mixed up with some popcorn for late night tv snacking!

    1. Hi Urvashi. It’s okay in things like Rendang and in sauces where it is rehydrated, but when it is in or on baking (espesh if rolled in coconut) I just can’t go there – and the flavour tastes inferior to the larger shreds. I used to detest coconut (and still won’t go near anything that might be coconut ‘flavoured’) so I may still have a ways to go to accept desiccated! i wonder if it was because it reminds me of Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil that I used to use as a teenager! I like your popcorn idea. Stealing that ;-)

  13. I am definitely making this, for my vegan friend, to go with cashew cheese stuffed dates. I am having an appetizer party in about a week so it will be perfect.

    1. Now THAT sounds like a good little treat. And a great kind of party! Thanks for sharing this suggestion, Emilia :-)

  14. Wow! I’ve never heard of this before, how ingenious ☺️

    1. I didn’t invent it but this is my little version. It’s pretty addictive. I must be strong… I should pop it in a tub marked ‘poison’ rather than a fetching glass Kilner jar.

      1. Ha ha!!! I try marking my stuff as ‘customers only’ but it never helps, I just make it all again!!!

      2. My mantra is ‘that’s for Maggie’s’ (work) when I have baked something and the family is sniffing around. Quite unfair of me though ;-)

      3. :) I need it to stop me, not anyone else!

  15. SO intrigued to try this! We are all bacon lovers at our house, but try not to imbibe too often, or use it sparingly for added flavor. I will be adding this to my list of summer cooking projects now that the kids are officially out for summer {well, my daughter has 2 1/2 hours left to go of school as I type this}. It is also fair season here in Del Mar, which means I will be seeing food trucks hawking bacon covered everything!!!

  16. caegwyn says:

    Hi, love the idea of your vegan bacon as I am already a coconut fan. One query: what type of liquid smoke – mesquite?…hickory?…pecan?

    Regards

    Thomas

    Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 08:28:03 +0000 To: thomasjkirkpatrick@hotmail.co.uk

    1. I used Hickory, but any would be good. I think there is even an applewood one, which sounds intriguing.

  17. narf77 says:

    I fear I am going to have to take up my placard and become the narf77 equivalent of The Lorax now that I know about those poor innocent coconuts that suffered in the making of this “bacon” ;) Tasty stuff though…just sayin’… ;)

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  19. This looks like my new fave!!!!!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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