Seitan Bacon: Plant-Based Bacon

seitan bacon

Seitan bacon is really one of my favourite seitan recipes. It looks, tastes and can be used in exactly the same way as bacon but is completely vegan.

I think when people try to give up or limit the amount of meat they eat bacon is one of those things that can make it really difficult. Bacon is used in a lot of recipes almost as a seasoning and a way of boosting flavour as well as just on its own.

The good news is that this seitan bacon can be used in exactly the same way as regular bacon. In a BLT, for breakfast, cut into lardons and crisped, seitan bacon can be substituted into all these dishes without any problems.

What Is Seitan Bacon?

Seitan is a plant-based protein that is derived from wheat. The protein in wheat is what people commonly refer to as gluten. 

Don’t worry if you have never heard of seitan before, this article has more information if you want to read further. To make seitan we just need to source an ingredient called vital wheat gluten.

Vital wheat gluten is a type of flour where nearly all of the starch or carbohydrates have been removed. This flour is really high in protein and the texture when it is cooked is firm and has a chew just like meat.

As vital wheat gluten is a flour we can add all sorts of flavourings and seasonings to replicate the savoury and salty character of bacon. As long as we use plant-based flavourings the bacon is 100% vegan.

What Does Bacon Really Taste Like?

To make our plant-based, seitan bacon we need to understand what exactly bacon tastes of. We can then introduce flavours that result in a close approximation of bacon.

The two things that are really synonymous with bacon are:

  • Salt
  • Smoke

Bacon is cured and curing any meat needs plenty of salt. Of course, adding plenty of salt to our bacon is a must. 

Smoke is another character that we can easily introduce and liquid smoke is the key. Liquid smoke is a condensed form of actual smoke and a little goes a long way. Just a couple of tablespoons of liquid smoke in our recipe will really evoke that bacon flavour.

Along with our salt and smoke, we need to introduce some savoury flavours that give us an umami quality. Savouriness can be introduced with ingredients that are high in glutamates.

Miso, onion powder, garlic powder and smoked paprika all offer higher levels of flavour and umami. You can experiment with the additions to get your perfect bacon flavour.

Creating The Bacon Look

Part of how we interpret the flavour of food is the way it looks. Although we could create vegan bacon in any shape we want, whether it is a log, sausage or strip we can slice up, there is also the possibility of making something that looks like bacon.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the argument that if you don’t want to eat meat then why eat something that looks like meat. If you prefer not to eat meat for ethical or environmental reasons there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the flavour or look of meat without an animal’s involvement. 

If you want to create bacon that looks similar to streaky bacon then we can do that with our method of mixing the gluten and shaping it.

To make a streaky bacon rasher we can make two lots of vital wheat gluten, one that is pale cream or white colour and one that is reddish-brown and then layer the colours to create streaky bacon look to our seitan.

To adjust the colour of our seitan we can add tomato puree, red wine or I like powdered beet to create reddish seitan. The other seitan can be left natural and will form the white or fat layer of the bacon. 

Yield: 50 slices

Seitan Bacon - Plant-Based Bacon

seitan bacon

A smokey and salty streaky bacon that is completely vegan and plant-based. The texture of seitan bacon is firm and has a nice chew that is really similar to actual bacon.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

Red Layer Dry Ingredients

  • 300g vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp smoked salt

Red Layer Wet Ingredients

  • 180ml water
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp beet powder

Light Layer Dry Ingredients

  • 110g vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp smoked salt

Light Layer Wet Ingredients

  • 60ml water
  • 60ml apple juice
  • 50ml vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 170°C / 340°F
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients for the light layer and mix thoroughly
  3. In a smaller bowl mix together the light layer wet ingredients and then add this to the dry ingredients. Mix to form a dough and then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for 1 - 2 minutes. Set aside while you make the red layer
  4. In the same large bowl mix together the red layer dry ingredients.
  5. In a smaller bowl mix together the wet ingredients for the red layer and add this to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Combine into a dough and knead together for 1 - 2 minutes.
  6. Tear off a sheet of foil around 18 x 18 inches and divide both the red and light doughs into two pieces.
  7. Place half the red layer onto the foil and make a rectangle around 6 inches square. Onto the red layer add half the white layer and stretch to the same size, pressing them together.
  8. Do the same with the two remaining halves of seitan to create a slab of bacon.Shaping seitan bacon
  9. Wrap the seitan with the foil tightly to maintain the shape and then wrap in another layer of foil to create a tight package.
  10. Place the wrapped bacon in the oven directly on the oven rack. Bake for 90 minutes and then remove from the oven and allow to cool still wrapped in the foil.
  11. For best results refrigerate the bacon for a few hours or overnight to firm up. The bacon can then be sliced and heated in a little oil in a pan or added to any other dishes.

Notes

Keep the bacon in the fridge for up to 7 days. For longer storage slice the bacon and freeze for a few months taking as much as you need to thaw before using.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 394mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g

How To Store Seitan Bacon

This recipe will make quite a lot of bacon, especially if you slice it nice a thin so you’ll have plenty and it can be stored.

You can keep the seitan bacon in the fridge and it will last around 7 days in an airtight container. If you want to store it for longer I like to slice it up and put the slices in a ziplock bag in the freezer for several months.

When you want to use the bacon take as many slices as required and because they are sliced thinly they will thaw really quickly and can be heated in a pan straight away. 

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