Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eggplant Bacon Revisited

It's been a couple of years since I made Eggplant Bacon. I absolutely loved it then, so I'm not sure why I waited so long to recreate it. Perhaps it's because I remembered thinking it was fairly high in fat. I had made it in the midst of summer when eggplants were fairly prolific for a delicious BLT sandwich (you can view the recipe here).

So this time, when I got a hankerin' for vegan bacon, I decided to be a little more thoughtful about the ingredients, and the finished product did not disappoint!

I would recommend using a mandoline if you have one, which I do, but I cut my eggplants free style with just a cutting board and a knife and they came out just fine!  The goal is to cut them very thinly, but remember that they will reduce when you dehydrate or bake them.

Eggplant Bacon
2 medium eggplants, ends trimmed, cut in half and then into thin "bacon-like" strips
4  tablespoons coconut aminos (you can use tamari or low sodium soy sauce)
4 tablespoons coconut vinegar (or apple cider or umeboshi plum vinegar)
4 tablespoons coconut nectar (I actually used maple syrup, as I was out of CN)
a drizzle of cold-pressed extra-virgin organic olive oil (I am thinking next time I'll try coconut oil!)
1 lime, juice only
2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch cayenne powder (optional - but I like it spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked)
1/4 teaspoon smoked alderwood salt (only use if using coconut aminos - otherwise it could make it too salty)
freshly cracked back pepper (I used approximately 1/2 teaspoon)

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Fully coat each eggplant slice and lay into a 9 x 13 baking dish to marinate. Pour any remaining marinade over the top and cover with plastic wrap for at least one hour.

Transfer slices onto mesh dehydrator trays and warm at 135 degrees for the first hour. After one hour, I flipped the slices and brushed on the reserved marinade to re-coat. Return to the dehydrator, set now at 115 degrees to finish, approximately 8 -12 hours, depending on what level of crispiness you prefer.

If you don't have a dehydrator, place slices on parchment lined cookie trays and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 - 45 minutes, brushing occasionally with reserved marinade.

The bacon was my delicious lunch today, served with a raw corn salad (recipe in Raw Food Cleanse or available online in this post). Getting my bacon, lettuce, corn & tomato on, even if it is the middle of winter!

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