Crispy, smoky shiitake mushroom bacon takes just minutes to make in the oven. And you only need five ingredients to make it!
Shiitake bacon gives you all of the smoky-sweet-salty-toothsomeness of bacon, but no animals harmed!
Let's talk about liquid smoke.
Liquid smoke is the key to this mushroom bacon's smoky flavor. If you've never worked with this ingredient before, don't panic! It's available at most regular grocery stores.
I used to worry that liquid smoke was just a bottle full of artificial flavoring, but fear not! It's actually a totally natural ingredient.
Liquid smoke is basically the steam that naturally occurs when you burn wood. To make liquid smoke, companies just use tubing to collect that steam, which turns to condensation when it cools.
How neat, right?
Making bacon flavoring
The great thing about shiitake mushrooms is that -- when you cook them until crispy -- they get a really nice, chewy texture that's similar to animal bacon.
Now you just need to add the remaining elements that make up bacon's flavor and texture:
When you're making vegan bacon, you want to hit all of those same notes using plant based ingredients.
The bacon flavoring that I use for these shiitake mushrooms is similar to the one I use in my cashew bacon. Instead of molasses and salt, though, I used maple syrup and soy sauce.
The mix of soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke hits that salty-sweet-smoky spot, and you get bacon's crisp greasiness from a dash of olive oil
Let's make some shiitake bacon, y'all!
This recipe truly could not be simpler. Start by slicing your shiitake mushrooms into pieces that are approximately ¼" thick. Those thin pieces will get crispy faster but still yield a nice, chewy inside.
Toss those mushroom slices into a bowl with soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke, tossing to coat the mushrooms really well.
Now, it's time to bake. Your baking time will vary, depending on how thick you slice your mushrooms. Just keep cooking until your mushrooms are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside.
How to serve and store
I like to serve shiitake bacon up over vegan grits, but you can really use it anywhere you'd use animal bacon.
- Pile that mushroom bacon onto a vegan BLT.
- Serve it alongside a tofu scramble.
- Sprinkle it on top of roasted vegetables for an umami punch.
- Toss it with crispy potato slices for a next-level appetizer.
If you do end up with leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for three to five days.
To reheat, toss leftovers back into a pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until crispy.
Smoky shiitake mushroom bacon
- 5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms - ¼" thick strips
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat the mushrooms well in the bacon seasonings. Transfer to a lined baking sheet, spreading the mushrooms into a single layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are nice and crisp.