Are you a bacon lover? Don’t you miss its delicious smoky flavor when vegan or vegetarian diets restrict its consumption?
Don’t worry, here’s the answer: there are many alternatives available that are healthier and just as delicious, making them worth the consideration.
You don’t have to sacrifice on taste to have a healthier lifestyle.
Read on to find out the 5 best substitutes for bacon.
Bacon is often considered a delicacy, using pork from different breeds either cured or brined in some kind of mixture to produce a flavor that is savory and smoky.
It’s used in many dishes and has become incredibly popular over the last few years, with people showing more of an interest in adding it to their diet.
As bacon is being hailed for its health benefits and taste, we’ve decided to put together an article that explores what bacon is, how to cook it, and the best substitutes for bacon in case you don’t fancy using it.
Bacon doesn’t need to be cooked every time; you can opt to use it raw if desired or pickled bacon for pizzas.
If you want to cook it up yourself however here are some top tips for cooking delicious bacons:
- Preheat your oven at least ten minutes before use – this will ensure your bacon comes out evenly cooked.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper before adding your strips – this prevents them from sticking/burning and allows them to crisp up nicely.
- Leave enough space between each piece so that they don’t touch when cooking – this helps them get evenly cooked without burning them together.
- Cook for around 20 minutes or until golden brown – check regularly as all ovens are different and flavors may vary based on thickness/type etc.
The key ingredient in any good bacon dish is cooking technique; make sure you cook with care so that your food treats remain tasty.
Here are some tips on how to perfect your method:
- Use low heat at first so that you don’t burn the outside while leaving the insides raw (although this varies based on preference).
- Be mindful not to overcook as crispiness will wane quickly if left on too long. It’s better err on caution side as underdone strips can always be put back into the pan rather than burnt ones refrying never make an edible dish…
- Try adding mix spices like garlic & paprika which will help bring out even more flavor than just oil & salt combo alone could ever achieve.
5 Best Bacon Substitutes to Consider
When it comes to bacon substitutes, there are many different options available.
Whether you’re avoiding pork, or just looking to reduce your intake of saturated fat, these five substitutes are delicious alternatives to bacon.
1 – Prosciutto
Prosciutto is an Italian cured ham that can easily be used as a substitute for bacon.
It’s leaner than bacon, and while it doesn’t have the same smoky flavor as bacon, it has a salty and savory flavor.
To achieve an even closer taste, try grilling or lightly pan frying the prosciutto to add a bit of crispy texture.
This makes an excellent topping for sandwiches or pizza, or can be used in omelettes or salads.
For vegetarians and vegans, try using tempeh that has been seasoned with liquid smoke and olive oil for a great plant-based bacon alternative.
2 – Beef Bacon
For omnivores, beef bacon is an excellent alternative for traditional pork bacon.
Cured and smoked beef brisket, beef bacon is much leaner than pork but with a similar taste and texture.
It has only 60 calories per slice, which makes it a healthier substitute for the calorie-rich pork version.
It’s usually much cheaper than the pork version and can often be found in most grocery stores.
To recreate the same “bacon-y” flavor at home, use thick-cut slices of lean beef brisket that have been oven cured and smoked in your smoker or on your gas grill.
3 – Pancetta
Pancetta is a bacon substitute that comes from Italy and is made from pork belly.
It is cured and salted, just like bacon, but the difference lies in the fact that when it is usually cooked, the fat remains in the rind so it won’t easily melt away.
Pancetta tastes very similar to bacon but with a slightly more complex flavor profile due to its curing process.
It is usually sold as thin strips and can be used as a replacement for bacon in many recipes.
4 – Capicola
Capicola (or coppa) is an Italian cold cut made from pork neck and shoulder.
It has a rich flavor and is usually cured in a mix of spices and vinegar, giving it a unique taste.
In some recipes, Capicola can be used in place of bacon as it has a similar flavor profile.
The key difference is that Capicola has more of a kick to it – less fatty than bacon and more spicy.
To use Capicola as an alternative to bacon, crisp the slices in a skillet or heat them up in the oven before incorporating them into your meal.
Although Capicola will not give you the same smoky flavor as bacon, it can still provide plenty of savory goodness.
5 – Tempeh (Vegan)
Tempeh is a high-protein, vegan, fermented food.
It’s made from whole cooked soybeans, but unlike tofu it has a nutty flavor and chewy texture.
It is full of essential vitamins and minerals, including B2 and E; as well as various other nutrients such as amino acids and linoleic acid.
It can be cooked in a variety of ways, like grilling or baking.
Tempeh is sometimes referred to as “fake bacon” due to its smoky flavor when cooked but also because it has the same shatteringly crisp texture that bacon lovers love.
High in fiber and without the fat or preservatives found in bacon, tempeh makes an excellent alternative for vegetarians.
Choosing the best substitute for bacon depends on your dietary needs and preferences.
Vegetarian and vegan diets can easily use products like seitan bacon, tempeh, or nut-based mixtures.
Otherwise, soy products like veggie bacon strips or coconut bacon offer an easy way to enjoy the beloved flavor without the cholesterol of traditional pork bacon.
No matter which type of bacon you’re after, there are plenty of delicious and flavorful options available on store shelves (and in pantries) today.
Find a substitute that complements your diet and enjoys your food more with a hint of smokiness from these alternatives.