As I always say, we don’t “crave” animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs, but we do crave fat, salt, flavor, texture, and familiarity, and this recipe has it all in spades! In our compassionate recipe, the coconut provides the fat, the liquid smoke provides the smokiness, the tamari provides the salt, and all together, it’s incredibly flavorful!
Makes 3½ cups
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the liquid smoke, tamari soy sauce, maple syrup or agave nectar, and water.
- Add the coconut flakes to the bowl, and using a rubber spatula, gently toss together the coconut with the liquid mixture until the coconut flakes are thoroughly coated.
- Transfer the coated coconut flakes onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading them out in a single layer so they cook evenly, and place the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, and stay close by.
- After 10 or 15 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter, you will want to toss and flip the flakes using a spatula. This is not only to make sure the flakes cook evenly but also to ensure that they don’t burn, and they will burn if you don’t regularly toss them.
- Depending on your oven, you may also need to turn the baking sheet around to ensure they cook up evenly.
- As you continue to check, feel free to taste to make sure they’re nice and crispy. They will be a nice brown color when they’re done, and if you test them, you’ll notice the coconut flavor is pretty much gone.
- Remove from the oven, and let cool before storing in a sealed bag or container. (They continue to crisp up as they cool.) I’ll be very impressed if yours lasts that long without winding up in your belly, but the coconut bacon will stay fresh for up to 3 weeks—in or out of the refrigerator. (I prefer the latter.)
Suggestions for Serving
- Make a classic Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich with some avocado slices!
- Top a baked potato or twice-baked potato with a couple tablespoons, as you would with bacon bits.
- Offer the coconut bacon as an option for a salad topping.
- It’s a great garnish for soup, especially the Smoky White Bean Chowder.
- Sprinkle them on top of your favorite Macaroni & Cheese recipe (check out mine in The Vegan Table) or on top of the Pasta Alfredo.
For Your Information
Look for unsweetened coconut flakes in the bulk section of your grocery store; packaged brands include Edward & Sons/Let’s Do Organic and Bob’s Red Mill (USA only).
For Your Edification
Liquid smoke adds a wonderful depth of flavor to so many dishes, and a little goes a long way. It’s a great staple to keep in the cupboard, and you’ll find yourself using it often to add a smoky flavor to your favorite recipes.