Crispy, smoky mushroom bacon over creamy, cheesy vegan grits is a hearty breakfast or brunch. And it's so easy to make!
I will confess it: I am a vegan bacon fan. Basically any kind of vegan bacon is the secret key to my heart. Packaged or made-from-scratch - it doesn't matter. That crispy, smoky, greasy, salty goodness can not be beat in my book.
The recipe below is adapted from the Olives for Dinner shiitake bacon recipe, which calls for liquid smoke. I even almost picked up liquid smoke to make her recipe and call it a day, but I didn't want to buy a whole bottle just for one recipe. Instead, I decided to adapt it to use a spice that I'd be more likely to reach for again and again.
Chipotle chili powder felt like the right way to replace the liquid smoke, and the result was a smoky, slightly spicy bacon that's perfect on top of these simple, creamy "cheese" grits.
Cheesy vegan grits with smoky mushroom bacon
For the mushroom bacon
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms - ⅛" strips
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ¾ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the vegan cheese grits
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- vegetable broth or water - to make 4 servings of grits, according to your package directions, see note
- grits - to make 4 servings of grits, according to your package directions, see note
- 1 cup vegan cheddar shreds
- 2 tablespoons soy or oat milk
- salt and black pepper
- diced tomato and green onions - for topping
Make the mushroom bacon
- Combine all of the ingredients -- except the olive oil -- in a large bowl, tossing to coat the mushrooms well in the bacon seasonings.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high, then add the mushroom mixture to the pan. Saute, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms turn crispy, about 7-10 minutes.
Make the vegan grits
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil on medium high. Add the garlic and saute until it softens, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the broth or water, and bring to a boil, then toss in the grits. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the grits are done, adding water by the tablespoon if the grits get too thick too fast. How long this takes and how much broth/water you need depends on the grits you’re using.
- When the grits are finished cooking, turn off the heat, and add the cheese and soy milk to the pot. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.
- Divide the grits between your serving bowls. Serve topped with the mushroom bacon and a little diced tomato and scallion.