Vegan (or even vegetarian) bacon which actually tastes like bacon has long been considered a myth among those pursuing a meat-free lifestyle: the Holy Grail of vegans and vegetarians everywhere.
Enter the Oyster mushroom. Thacker’s Gourmet Mushrooms at the Saturday morning Oakwood Farm Market has fresh, cultivated Oyster mushrooms. Thacker’s has been supplying the Dayton and Cincinnati areas with locally grown, quality produce since 2007. Mushrooms absorb a high percentage of any toxins in their environment, so it is especially important to know where your mushrooms are coming from and how they are produced. Thacker’s (based in Franklin, Ohio) uses only natural ingredients and substrates – never any chemical sprays or pesticides.
Cultivated Oyster mushrooms have a thick, meaty flesh and a light, delicate flavor which lends itself to a variety of seasonings. The cap is thin and cooks quickly, and can be torn into strips before adding to your dish, or – in the faux bacon recipe – sliced with a kitchen mandolin for consistent thickness.
The ‘mushroom bacon’ not only has the flavor of bacon (which you can adjust to make saltier or less salty, sweeter or smokier, depending upon your bacon preferences) but the texture of bacon! As an added bonus, this recipe also uses The Flop – a savory vegan seasoning mixture developed by Dayton Area Rabbit Network; proceeds from sales of The Flop benefit the sanctuary bunnies at DARN. You can contact DARN at firstname.lastname@example.org or look them up on Facebook to arrange for purchase of The Flop (or their spicier seasoning, The Bink).
- ½# (or as many Oyster mushrooms as you like) sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon Himalayan sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of The Flop savory seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Olive oil for frying
Mix the sea salt and other seasonings together in a small bowl, and gently apply the mixture to the bacon slices as a dry rub. Let the slices sit for 15 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and add the mushroom slices. Fry for a couple of minutes on one side until well-browned, then gently turn over and fry on the other side until equally well-browned. Be advised that the slices will go from well-browned and delicious to burnt in a matter of seconds, so do be attentive!
The only thing better than freshly made vegan bacon? Vegan bacon that sits in the refrigerator overnight – the flavors intensify!