I've gone to Kingfield the last three Sundays in a row. It's a nice little bike ride from my house and I've gotten lettuce, radishes, strawberries, eggs, zucchini, goat cheese, and snap peas. Needless to say, I have had some outstanding salads for lunch the last few weeks. I was even able to snag some cherry tomatoes (in early June!) and immediately wanted a BLT sandwich.
I've made BLT's many times before with fake bacon (Morningstar Farms and tempeh bacon) but it's been a few years since I've had any of those processed fake meat products, and I'm now trying to cut back on my soy product consumption as well. What to do, what to do...
I saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives once that featured a vegetarian restaurant that made a BLT with bacon flavored roasted coconut flakes. It must have stuck with me because I decided I needed to try it this week. I did a bit of google sleuthing to find a recipe, and it was so easy! And, while I thought the finished product tasted like maple tamari flavored coconut (not at all what I remember bacon tasting like), I really liked it. I wasn't looking for this to taste like bacon. Hell, if I wanted bacon, I'd eat some!
Coconut bacon is crunchy, salty, savory, and has all the umami you need to complement ripe tomatoes and crisp lettuce in a BLT sandwich. I had it on a BLT salad with tomatoes, avocado, and pine nuts. It also goes great sprinkled over a fried egg on top of a big pile of sauteed kale.
Coconut Bacon, adapted from Vegan Brew
1 cup coconut flakes (I have found these at high end grocery stores like Kowalski's and Byerly's in MN)
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp maple syrup (the pure stuff)
1/4 tsp or less smoked paprika (you could skip this)
a dash (1/2 tsp?) vinegar such as apple cider or balsamic
Mix coconut well with all ingredients. Optional to marinate for 30 minutes to overnight (I didn't do this).
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread flavored coconut on a baking sheet (optional to cover with parchment) and bake. Stir every 5 minutes. It's done when it's dark brown (NOT burnt). Mine was done in 16 minutes, but I have a very hot oven. "Bacon" will crisp up after cooling for about 2-3 minutes.
Let cool completely and store any leftovers in an airtight container.
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THREE YEARS AGO: Homemade Yogurt