Can you imagine a life without bacon? Thanks to some plant-based alternatives, you don’t have to!
One of the main misconceptions about becoming vegan is the myth that it’s a chore; it’s a process of sacrifice and austerity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here, we explain why switching to a plant-based diet can be one of the most exciting things you can do – and we use vegan bacon to make our point!
Does Being Vegan Mean I Have To Give Up Bacon?
Many people who are reluctant to try veganism will grumble about all the things they have to give up. “I love full English breakfasts,” they’ll say. “Too much to stop eating bacon!” But what if we were to tell you that you can go vegan and don’t have to remove any of the foods you love from your life? It sounds too good to be true but, really it isn’t!
Most vegans were meat-eaters before they made a change. We guarantee you that most of us didn’t give up meat because we didn’t like the taste! So, when we switched to veganism we wanted to continue eating versions of the meals we’d previously savoured and enjoyed.
Thankfully, a number of companies spotted a gap in the market for this and realised there was quite a large group of people they could cater to if they created the right products. So, in the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in amazing plant-based products aimed at us. Browsing high street menus and scanning supermarket aisles today will quickly uncover everything from vegan pulled pork to faux gras, dairy-free ‘milk’ chocolate to animal-free chicken burgers….and, perhaps most excitingly, vegan bacon!
Vegan Bacon Alternatives? Tell Me More!
Pig-less bacon has been a popular staple of many vegetarian and vegan diets for a long time now. Colloquially it’s been given the nickname “Facon” – a portmanteau of “fake” and “bacon”.
These are some of our favourite bacon substitutes we’ve tried:
- This Isn’t Bacon Plant-Based Rashers
- VBites Meat-Free Rashers
- Vegan Cartel Vegan Bacon
- Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh
- Sweet Earth & Sage Smoked Seitan Bacon
- Lightlife Smart Bacon
- The Vegetarian Butcher’s Smoked NOBACON Bits
- Phoney Baloney’s Coconut Bacon
- Vivera Veggie Bacon Pieces
- Upton’s Bacon Seitan
Did you know that Pizza Hut’s Bacon Bits are entirely plant-based? And that many bacon-flavoured crisps – including Pringles and many supermarket own brands – are also vegan?!
Does Vegan Bacon Taste Like Bacon??
Yes! Usually made from tempeh or seitan, plant bacon manages to approximate the texture of the real thing pretty accurately, the taste is fantastic and it even has a distinct smell which is likely to turn the heads of even the most stubborn non-vegan in your life.
It is worth shopping around to find your favourite. If you don’t particularly like American-style maple-flavoured meat bacon, we don’t think you’d enjoy the vegan equivalent either; if you do, then why not try Tofurky’s version? For fans of British-style rashers, V-Bites might be your favourite.
If you can’t locate a vegan bacon you love after your first try (this is admittedly unlikely!), it doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Or even if you track down one you love (much more probable!), there could exist an even better vegan bacon perfectly matched to your taste buds and ready to be discovered. Trying many different bacons is a joyous and delicious endeavour!
Is Vegan Bacon Better Than Actual Bacon Then?
We might be biased but we certainly think so! We’ve mentioned the variety of tastes and flavours and we haven’t even begun to address the other benefits of switching to vegan bacon.
Trying plant-based means that no animals will be harmed in the making of your breakfast which, when you have the choice of enjoying a great meal AND making sure pigs get left alone, seems a no-brainer to us. Pigs are one of the most intelligent domesticated animals and can feel intense distress and pain. We can have delicious fake bacon and allow pigs to live lives free of human-inflicted misery if we so choose, so why not? On top of this we know that animal agriculture is responsible for great environmental damage, and eating a plant-based equivalent can reduce our impact on the world.
Even on a selfish level, swapping meat for a vegan equivalent is good for us. The links between bacon and cancer are well-known and well-documented. We can reduce our risks today with some small modifications to what we eat. Vegan bacon can make up part of a high quality, flavoursome and nutritious diet if we make plans to balance what we put on our plates.
Okay, But What About Cheese?
Even more than bacon, we hear many people tell us: “I would go vegan but…. cheese!” Thankfully, we’ve got an answer for this one too – going vegan doesn’t mean giving up any of the products you like. We’re here to help advise you on non-dairy alternatives to milk, plant-based substitutes for meat and, for cheese-lovers, we recommend reading this blog post full of vegan cheeses!
Going vegan doesn’t mean giving up anything you love; it means discovering new things! New alternatives, and entirely new ingredients and flavours you might not have otherwise chanced upon. Switching to (or at least trying) plant-based is an exciting time in anyone’s life and we hope you join us in discovering new foods.
PAGE UPDATED MAY 2020