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eggplant bacon bot // food to glow #veganbltAs a matter of habit and, I suspect, genetics, I get up rather early in the morning. Sometimes 3 am or 4 am, in which case I am often able to go back to sleep, grasping my deluxe eye mask (ask if you want more details – it’s amazing) down firmly over my eyes just as the sun is barely noticeable in the still-night sky. This annoys my patient and sound-sleeping husband no end. All of my flumping and duvet tugging as I try and get myself just-so cosy. I may get another hour in the sleep bank. But on better nights/mornings I wake up a little later – say 5 or 5.30 – and I don’t bother with the whole eye mask palaver. What I do instead is reach for my Kindle and catch up with the Aussies on Twitter…eggplant bacon // food to glowThey are often in full party mode, these tweeting Aussies – whatever the day. But on rare occasions they are right grumpy.

The other day I spied a news article from the BBC news site – news, not supposition – about a seaweed that tastes of bacon. I read it, it was interesting, I shared without passing comment. Well, you would have thought I had said that vegans have secret collections of leather trousers, or kick dogs. He was so indignant.

To partially quote: “what a tired bar-bore cliche. Fact {that is the bit I love – he is speaking for every vegan, lol}: vegetarians and vegan do not crave bacon!!!” I had a giggle to myself while this poor chap was possibly pounding his laptop into a pool of rare metal goo.

But it reminded me that I have for ages wanted to make eggplant bacon.

I make coconut bacon – and it is really tasty and fab on salads. But what I also wanted to experience was soft, cooked strips of maple and smoke-infused vegetables to go on a sandwich, or for breakfast. I had heard about eggplant bacon but never tried it, so after a bit of research I sorted out the proportions of the basic ingredients that work best for me.

Some recipes I read about use Liquid Smoke, and I use it for coconut bacon. But I wanted to make a bacon that anyone could have a go at without resorting to the Internet, Liquid Smoke not being on grocery shelves in this neck of the woods (i.e. Scotland).

So, for the somewhat indignant chap in Australia I will refer to these from henceforth as maple-smoked vegetable strips. Not bacon. Definitely not bacon. 🙂

PS You can make this up with strips of courgettes (they are prolific just now in my garden and perhaps yours), slices of big and meaty (oops, not again) portabella mushrooms, tofu, tempeh or seitan.

Have you ever unintentionally (or intentionally!) upset anyone on social media? I can’t be the only one here!

eggplant bacon bot // food to glow #veganblt

Loaded Vegan BLT with The Best Avocado Mayo

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The practically drinkable marinade for this easy recipe – an assembly job, really – is also a perfect soaking juice for sliced portabella mushrooms, tofu, tempeh and seitan. For dehydrating, dry according to your machines instructions – you want it still flexible not completely desiccated  And, the mayo really is the best I’ve tasted. Don’t skip it unless of course you are making your own ‘real’ mayonnaise instead. xx


1 heavy aubergine/eggplant

3 tbsp soy sauce, tamari, shoyu or coconut aminos (I use Clearspring Organic Tamari) – low-salt if you can find it

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

1 tbsp olive oil (I use smoked olive oil)

Slightly rounded ¼ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp onion powder

The rest: juicy ripe tomatoes, lettuce, avocado mayo (see below) and good bread or wraps (gluten-free if needed – such as Warburton’s new one from the Newburn Bakehouse range) for three or four people

Avocado Mayo

1 perfectly ripe avocado

¾ tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

small pinch each of sugar and salteggplant bacon bot // food to glow #veganblt

1. Take the aubergine/eggplant and carefully cut long slices, about ¼” thick or less. I find it easiest to initially stand it on one end and slice down then, when it gets thinner and less steady, to lay it on its side and carefully slide the knife from one end to the other. Set the slices aside for now.

2. Make the marinade by adding everything but the aubergine to a small bowl and whisking until glossy and blended. Pour the marinade into a ‘ziploc’ plastic food bag (or into a ceramic dish) and add the aubergine slices. Seal the bag and gently handle it to get the marinade in all the nooks and crannies. Leave for at least an hour, turning occasionally. I have left mine overnight and it was absolutely fine.marinating eggplant slices for vegan bacon // food to glow

3. Now, if you are making the mayo, put all of the ingredients into the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust if necessary. Cover and set aside.avocado mayo // food to glow

4. When the aubergines are well flavoured from their little umami bath, heat a griddle pan over a lowish flame, take some of the slices, shake them over the bag and lay them on the hot griddle. Leave them to heat and cook, turning them as they get griddle marks. You want them thoroughly cooked but not burned, so you will need to keep a close eye on them, adjusting the temperature as you see fit. Baste frequently to really let those aubergines carry the flavour as they cook. Carry on with the rest of the slices. You will have some marinade left. Don’t drink it, you will want it for another batch.

5. Slice your bread – toasting if you wish – slice the tomatoes and tear the lettuce. Assemble the sandwiches by smearing some of the avocado mayo on each piece of bread, laying on the lettuce and tomato slices and generously loading on the soft and maple-smoked aubergine bacon. Enjoy immediately.

Notes: keep the leftover marinade for another batch of bacon or add to a stir-fry – it will keep up to a week; any leftover aubergine bacon can be gently reheated in a warm pan; you may wish to adjust the seasoning of the marinade but do try it this way first as it is pretty well-balanced for sweet, salt, smoky and umami.

eggplant bacon bot // food to glow #veganblteggplant bacon bot // food to glow #veganbltI am sharing this on a few lovely “blog hops”. Why not add yours too?

Credit Crunch Munch (because it’s seasonal and store cupboard) – Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours

Recipe Of The WeekA Mummy Too

Meatless Monday Tinned Tomatoes

Extra Veg –  Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours)

Simple And In SeasonRen Behan


72 thoughts on “How To Make Eggplant Bacon + Vegan BLT with The Best Avocado Mayo Ever

  1. bybunni says:

    I’m not even vegan, but I love eggplant and this sounds delicious!

    1. Thanks so much. We really love this. If you are hungry you may eat the whole batch yourself! Although that is perhaps too much sodium in one go 😉

  2. Espirational says:

    Not a big fan of eggplant, but the mayo looks really good. Will definitely have to give that a try.

    1. Thanks! I do this with portabella mushrooms too with great results. Don’t be put off by the eggplant 😉

  3. This looks insanely good! YUM

  4. Susan says:

    My carnivorous husband hates when vegan food is named in a non-vegan way (eggless egg salad….mac and cheeze….chick pea meat balls etc) so I’ll have to just call this one “marinated eggplant”. Thanks for another scrumptious recipe!

    1. I too hate words like mylk and cheeze, but wasn’t sure how else to describe this ‘bacon’. How about maple-smoked vegetable strips?? 😉 GLAd you like the recipe. We really really like it. So easy too.

  5. J reblog is super

  6. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Kellie Anderson merita di essere conosciuta anche da noi Italiani si lo so è in inglese ma potete usare il traduttore nel suo sito trovate ricette foto passione

    1. Thank you. I popped this into a translator and was very pleased and honoured with what you wrote. 🙂

      1. Thanks to you beautiful blog I hope you will follow my greetings from Tuscany

  7. tamingtwins says:

    Gosh Kellie they are a feisty bunch! You’ve handled the bacon conundrum very delicately I’m sure.. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian but I adore aubergine and this looks wonderful. Fantastic idea.

  8. kvjinc says:

    Looks delicious. Eggplant now on my shopping list.

  9. SweetVeg says:

    This looks amazing! Will definitely be making the avocado mayo in future!

  10. My family loves eggplant sandwiches! This is a must try recipe. I also saw the article about seaweed that tastes like bacon and ignored the whole thing, LOL.

  11. Love your photos. (And the food obviously!)

  12. superfitbabe says:

    YUM! Eggplant bacon sounds amazing now!

  13. V 8 Mile says:

    I’ve had coconut bacon, and this sounds like a delicious recipe I need to try…

  14. Fabulous, love it all! The flavour must be amazing 🙂

  15. Sarah Fawcett says:

    Wow what a fantastic idea, I can’t wait to try this out, bookmarked for later, thank you 🙂

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Oh WOW I want this, on my plate, right now!! Gorgeous! Intrigued! Yes please! 🙂

  17. M@Home says:

    Beautiful pictures!

  18. too delicious!!!

  19. I can’t believe you wake up so early, I am dead to the world at 5am! I love how you haven’t used liquid smoke here, I don’t want to have to buy it as my cupboard is so full of stuff. I adore aubergines and their meatiness is perfect as a veggie or a vegan meat replacement.

  20. Aprylle says:

    This looks so delicious!

  21. Wow! This sandwich looks so light and fresh. Love the avocado mayo 🙂

  22. Amanda says:

    I saw that article for the seaweed that tastes like bacon. In fact, quite a few people tagged me in it, however, I didn’t read it, so I’m glad you have interpreted it for me – just eat smoky eggplant! Thanks

  23. This sounds fabulous! Like the perfect light summer sandwich! Not a big fan of eggplant but I love portobellos! I’ll try it with that 🙂

  24. Looks amazing and perfect to wake up too!

  25. Everything about this sounds delicious, from the eggplant to the avocado mayo and I’m so happy you left out the liquid smoke, since I”m not a fan of smokey foods. It is funny about the angry vegan, I’ve been a vegetarian (except for the occasional seafood indulgence) for over 20 years and there are certain foods I remember with fondness, namely bacon, meatballs and chicken parm, although I’m not a fan of fake meats, I do try to replicate some of these old favorites in veg versions, eggplant parm is a perfect sub for chicken and I make lots of veggie meatballs using beans, nuts and mushrooms for that meatiness.

    I also loved your bit about not drinking the leftover marinade, my husband would so drink it all up!

    1. Thank you! Halloumi tends to a lot salter but a similar firm, grillable texture. Hope this helps!

    2. Thank you so much for your very lovely and thoughtful comment and your appreciation of my attempt at a quite different approach to a vegetable sandwich. The marinade lasts for about 3 eggplant – if your husband doesn’t drink it. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  26. Gorgeous photos!

  27. Fabulous idea Kellie

  28. Eshe says:

    What a sophisticated sandwich and what stunning food photography! Lovely stuff 🙂

  29. Looks amazing !! Can’t wait to try this out for myself 🙂 Is there any chance you could take a look at my Blog ?

  30. Reblogged this on Simply Delicious.

  31. What an absolute winner! This is a fantastic recipe that my lads will adore.

  32. Lovely recipe and perfect for my glut of courgettes! I love a smoky flavour, so regularly use smoked paprika for all kinds of dishes, but it is especially good as a marinade.

    1. Thanks so much. I used a smidge of smoked paprika on some cherry tomatoes I roasted for breakfast and my daughter went crazy for them. A tiny pinch is so good with so many savoury things, isn’t it? A lovely invention.

  33. A perfect summer sandwich. Love it!

  34. ChristineR says:

    Thanks for the latest recipe, looks good! Am I the only one who wants details re re the eye mask – I often wake in the early hours & can’t get back to sleep as too light in bedroom!!!

    1. Your wish is my command, Christine! It is from Brookstone and it is their Night Flight Eyemask. A hefty $35, but worth every penny! I get mine (I’ve got a couple now) at the airport shops when I travel over to the US, but I see on their site that they send abroad. Not sure where you live though. 🙂

      1. ChristineR says:

        Thanks for the info Kellie. I am in England (up north) but as I am travelling abroad in August I will look out for a mask at the airport shops! Love the recipe posts – keep up the good work, but hope you get some sleep in between!

  35. stateeats says:

    Love, love, love the idea of this (and I’m not even vegan but trying to get more veg in). Also, you are going to laugh but when I scrolled down there was an ad that popped up and it was of a woman turning over in bed and my eyes went wide for a second thinking you had posted a video of yourself up at 3 in the morning, haha – Kat

    1. That is hilarious, Kat! I think ads pop up according to reader interests so as I don’t sleep I don’t get bed ads! I won’t enquire as to what that ad was really about though 😉 Thanks for making me grin. 🙂

  36. Amazing, I love bacon, but I also love the idea of this. I made mushroom bacon once, coconut bacon freaks me out. Maybe I should try aubergine (sorry I can’t say eggplant, whoops I did) next!

    1. Coconut bacon freaks you out?? The texture? Anyway, I’m glad this appeals. Shiitake and Portabella are also great too. All three are nice textures for faking it, but also good in their own right.

      1. yeah, I think I just don’t like dried coconut chips! Specially not when savoury!

      2. You use have really been freaked out with US pancakes maple syrup and bacon then! I know it’s here now but that *interesting* combo of course from my fellow Americans; )

  37. saretap says:

    Wow this looks incredible! Added to my list 🙂

    1. I am honoured, Sara. Thank you. And thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  38. Shannon says:

    Hi Kellie. I have been away too long. Are you KIDDING me?? Eggplant BACON? I freakin’ love this idea! We are eating aubergine from the garden daily (it has nicotine in it…now you know why we’re so addicted to this nightshade plant) and always are on the hunt for different ways to do it. I am so trying this. Might even have to light up the charcoal JUST for this dish.

    We are quite in the throes of summer and Texas heat here. You might like our last outing with the kids. Too fun! ( Having a great time with nature is a good reason to drop off for a while. I hope you’re enjoying your summer, Lady.

    PS – Did I read right? 18 thousand followers? You rock!

  39. fabfood4all says:

    This looks so incredibly good Kellie, love aubergine and avocados so to have both in one sandwich is just heavenly:-) Thank you for a great #CreditCrunchMunch entry:-)

  40. Wow! I am not even vegan but a sandwich like that might convince me to look deeper into their recipes. That looks incredible and I love your photography. 🙂

  41. So glad that I found this page and recipe….I have vegan guests coming to visit and this will be a wonderful recipe to make for them. Thank you!

    1. I’m glad you found it too! I hope you and your guests enjoy it. We really like it. Thanks for commenting.

  42. Fuss Free Helen says:

    I am terribly late to the party, but this looks wonderful Kellie, Thanks for linking up to both Credit Crunch Munch and Extra Veg

  43. saretap says:

    Just made this & it was delicious! You’re right, it isn’t bacon, but that doesn’t matter. Who wants to taste meat anyway?? I had mine with tahini, sliced cherry tomatoes & spinach on chunky toasted bread. Looking forward to the leftovers already! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your wonderful words. I’m always so pleased to hear when others have success with my recipes and take the time out of their day to let me know. Your tar tine version sounds heavenly. 🙂

  44. Love this! I’ve also got a riff on the BLT in the pipeline, but never have thought to make eggplant bacon before. Really must try it out!

    1. I’ve actually made a batch because I’m part-cooking it and then wrapping it around asparagus! This is an older recipe but we make it all the time. Lovely to hear from you. Are you back from BC?

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