;-Yes, you read right: vegan smoky bacon-wrapped asparagus. This whole food ingredient recipe is easy to make, nutritious and great for a light lunch or a snazzy starter. It’s kind of a mind-bender, but hopefully you know me well enough by now to trust me.As you can see from the images, we aren’t going analogue food here. You won’t need to track down anything weird and one-use from the Internet. This is an out and out whole food recipe that is as easy as it is wholesome and delicious. Possibly slightly weird, but what do you expect from me. If you wanted completely normal you would be on bbcgoodfood or allrecipes right now. ;-)
This light but filling recipe is based on my eggplant bacon recipe from a few years ago. Mostly I make this kind of bacon to slap between two pieces of sourdough toast, with slices of ripe tomato, lettuce and slathered in the most incredible avocado mayo. But it also does its smoky magic cut into thin slivers and woven into a plain mac and cheese or pasta carbonara.
Today it graces a very simple lunch salad and stands alone as a starter, dressed with garlic oil and fresh herb flowers.
The main thing here is to decide whether you will go for the ricotta filling – cashew or dairy – or the pure flavour of the roasted asparagus and smoky maple eggplant. You can’t go wrong with either but if it is for a light lunch do include the herbed and lemon zest-spiked ricotta to give it more substance.
You may have some leftover bacon but it is great reheated the next day in a hot pan (no oil needed) and made into a BLT. Or BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato). Weirdly this is also good with ketchup, so feed your inner trash food lover with a massive squoosh of Heinz’s finest.
Just as an aside, this can also be made with strips of courgette if the eggplant is a no-go for you.
Are you daring enough to try this?
Smoky Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus for plant-lovers
Yes, you read right: vegan smoky bacon-wrapped asparagus. This whole food ingredient recipe is easy to make, nutritious and great for a light lunch or a snazzy starter. It’s kind of a mind-bender, but hopefully, you know me well enough by now to trust me. xx
1 quantity eggplant bacon, uncooked but marinated*; cut the slices quite thinly if possible
16 spears of asparagus
3 tbsp best quality extra virgin olive oil, divided use (have more for if you want more to drizzle)
150g (or so) dairy or plant-based ricotta cheese (if using bought vegan cheese like Tofutti brand soft cheese, add a little nutritional yeast for best flavour). Here is the cashew ricotta recipe I tend to use.
Zest of half a lemon plus some of the juice if you like
1 tbsp finely chopped mint, lightly crushed with a spoon
1 tsp thyme leaves, lightly crushed with a spoon
Sorrel leaves or baby rocket leaves, for garnish
Herb leaves, such as marjoram or oregano flowers
Salt and fresh black pepper (I’ve used smoked Maldon salt)
Optional, for salad version as shown: fresh juicy peach or nectarine; nasturtium flowers and leaves
Heat the oven to 200C fan/220C/450F.
Prepare the eggplant bacon as instructed in the linked recipe, heating a griddle pan and browning well on both sides until marked and very pliable.
If using, beat the ricotta with the chopped herbs, 1 tbsp of olive oil, the zest, a little lemon juice and some seasoning.
Trim the asparagus spears and lightly toss in 1 tbsp of oil.
Take the cooked and cooled eggplant slices and halve vertically.
If using the ricotta, spoon a little onto one length of the eggplant and wrap around a spear of asparagus. Take another and do the same. Continue with the remaining asparagus, eggplant and ricotta. You will need two strips of eggplant (one full slice halved ) per spear. If you are not using ricotta just wrap the two eggplant slices around each asparagus spear. Place the wrapped asparagus on an oiled baking tray as you go.
Place the tray in the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until lightly crisped. Serve warm on a plate with extra oil, herb flowers and sorrel or rocket leaves. If you like, heat any remaining marinade* and drizzle over the asparagus for extra flavour. For the salad version, slice the peaches and dot amongst the spears, adding more oil and herbs. Serve with best sourdough or other nice bread, and dots of any leftover ricotta mix.
RIPE FOR PINNING