Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

vegan rice paper bacon

I belong to several vegan Facebook groups. Now and then you’ll see a bunch of folks posting their version of the latest vegan craze in the various groups. One of the latest fads is vegan rice paper bacon.

I hate to say it, but I usually ignore the fad food of the month. The recipes often use ingredients I can’t easily get in Guatemala. Sometimes they’re just too complicated. When I saw Laura Moreland’s post in the Friendly Vegan Food Sanctuary group, it grabbed my attention. It’s simple. It’s made from ingredients I already have. It’s a recipe for something that I haven’t been all that successful with: vegan bacon.

When I was growing up, bacon was an infrequent treat. That combination of crunchy, smokey, salty, and slightly sweet was reserved for special occasions. When I became vegetarian at the age of 14, bacon was the only kind of meat I ever craved. Though I haven’t had meat cravings since going vegan in 2007, my B&B guests sometimes ask about vegan bacon options. So I’ve experimented a bit.

I’ve played with tofu bacon, tempeh bacon, and coconut bacon. (No, I never tried the seaweed bacon.) They were all okay, but more trouble than they were worth.

Then I saw the post for rice paper bacon. I’ve had a package of spring roll wrappers in my pantry just waiting for this. This recipe is far and away the easiest and yummiest vegan bacon recipe I’ve tried. It gets bonus points ingredients that I have on hand. It gets double bonus points for having no added fat. And triple bonus points passing the dad test: my omnivorous dad liked it too.

The ingredients are just as Laura posted: I just added a bit to the instructions. Have fun and please let me know how you like it.

Note (September 2016): After more experimentation, I’ve modified my recipe. Previously, the recipe had you fry the bacon in a nonstick pan and then bake it. Turns out that’s not necessary: you can do one or the other, but I prefer the baked version. Also, I’ve clarified that you can use two sheets of rice paper for a crispier bacon or up to four for a chewier bacon. The ingredients did not change.

Ingredients

  • 2-4 sheets of rice paper (I used spring roll wrappers. Use two for a crispy bacon and four for a chewier bacon.)

Marinade

  • 2 Tbl soy sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbl nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)

Method

For the baked version, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients (everything except the rice paper) in a shallow pan.
  2. Wet both sides of the rice paper sheets and stack them on a cutting board. (Dip them in warm water in a large shallow bowl or baking pan to soften–but don’t leave them in too long). You might need to pick the stack up and turn it over gently a couple times until the sheets completely stick together. Smooth them to remove air bubbles.
  3. Cut the rice paper stack into strips about 1.5 to 2 inches wide. A rolling cutter, such as a pastry cutter or pizza cutter, works great.
  4. Dip each strip into the marinade to coat thoroughly.

If baking:

  1. Lay the strips out on a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. Bake about seven minutes, then flip the strips over and bake another two minutes.

If frying:

  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium heat, then place the strips in the hot pan.
  2.  Cook until the marinade looks fairly dry and the bacon is the desired crispness.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. Then prepare for them to be gone in mere moments.

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