How To Make Eggplant Bacon + Vegan BLT with The Best Avocado Mayo Ever

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

“VBLT”

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

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