If rice paper bacon isn’t your thing then I have another great vegan “bacon” option for ya! This smoky tofu bacon is made by marinating thinly sliced tofu and baking it until chewy.
I got the idea for tofu bacon from Baconish, a cookbook I reviewed a couple of years ago. The original recipe calls for actual smoked tofu, but I’ve adapted it to use regular tofu because I know not everyone can easily find the smoked sort. If you can find it, though, SoyBoy brand (yep, that’s the name) is pretty awesome.
I also dialed down the maple syrup a little bit from the original. We did 30 days of no added sugar for the month of June, and ever since then, I’ve noticed a change in how I feel when I add very much sweetener to things… I’m still totally indulging in treats here and there, but also feeling a little more conscious of added sugar intake, even the less refined sort.
Making tofu bacon is as easy as pressing and slicing tofu, mixing up a marinade, and sticking it in the oven. While my classic RPB is more crispy, this tofu bacon is more of the chewy variety, and it STAYS chewy when added in advance to a a sandwich (recipe coming soon!) or the like.
Not a fan of naming vegan things “bacon”? I’m unperturbed by your objection ;). I am well aware this doesn’t look or taste like the more disagreeable form of bacon that you may be familiar with. It’s chewy, savory, and smoky, and I love that. Identical resemblance was never my goal.
You are going to need liquid smoke to make this tofu bacon. I’ve gotten comments before suggesting liquid smoke is an unnatural ingredient to be avoided. I’ll leave that decision up to you – but please be advised that it is NOT a chemical flavoring but actual smoke that has been captured in vapor. The same smoke that would have been used to make the smoked paprika in your spice rack. This recipe will not be the same without it so omit it at your own peril.
Smoky Tofu Bacon
Thinly sliced tofu is dipped in a smoky marinade and baked until chewy to make a tofu "bacon" that's great for sandwiches and cooking.
Drain the tofu. If not using vacuum packed super-firm tofu, wrap it in a clean towel and stack a heavy object (like a cast iron pan) on top of it to press out excess liquid. (Or, use a tofu press if you've got one). Leave the tofu to press while you measure out the other ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a metal rack on top of a baking sheet and lightly grease it. (If desired, put a piece of parchment on the baking sheet to catch drips, for easy cleanup).
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Cut the tofu into thin strips, approximately 1/8 inch thick. Take each tofu slice and dip it fully into the marinade, then place it on the prepared baking rack. Repeat until all of the tofu slices are dipped, spacing them out evenly on the rack. Set aside the excess marinade.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Gently flip over each piece of tofu. Brush or dab the tops of each tofu piece with some of the remaining marinade. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until browning around the edges and starting to take on a firm texture - it can burn quickly so keep a close eye on it. Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy!
SMOKED TOFU: If you can get your hands on some smoked tofu, then by all means use it. It's super amazing in this recipe!
CRISPY/CHEWY: If you want your tofu bacon to have a little more crisp around the edges versus a uniform chewiness, slice your tofu thinner and shorten the oven time a little bit since it will be more likely to burn this way.
Recipe adapted from Baconish.