October 11, 2011

Eggplant Bacon

by IsaChandra

Serves 8
Time: 30 minutes

These are the perfect little morsels to tuck into a BLT, or a Caesar Salad. Anywhere delicious smoky saltiness is warranted! The perfect slice has varying textures from crisp and browned in some spots, to tender and chewy in others. To that end, hand slice these babies instead of using a mandoline and aim for 1/8 inch slices, but don’t worry about perfection. The varying degrees of thickness will work to your advantage here. Just don’t get too thick, the eggplant needs to crisp up and slices that are much thicker will just get soggy.

This recipe is so easy you’ll be making eggplant bacon in your sleep! It was originally published in Appetite For Reduction, but this version is doubled. If you don’t feel like dealing with two pans, feel free to half the recipe.

1 pound eggplant, cut into 1/8 inch thick strips
1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari if you’re gluten free)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Prep the eggplant while the oven is preheating. Eggplants vary in size, so if using baby eggplant that is 2 inches wide at its widest, just slice into 1/8 inch thick circles. If using large eggplants, first cut in half lengthwise, then slice the halves into 1/8 inch thick halfmoons. Now what we’re going to do is bake it at a high temperature with just a bit of cooking spray oil, then let it cool, then give it smoky salty flavor and reheat.

Cover baking sheets in parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange eggplant pieces in a single layer and spray lightly once more. Place in oven and bake for about 8 minutes, keeping a close eye. Rotate pans about halfway through baking.

Remove from oven and flip slices. They should be browning already, and if any are slightly burnt, don’t worry. Just move them to a plate to cool. Return remaining strips to the oven for about 3 minutes.

Remove from oven. Eggplant should be dark brown to burnt in some places, and yellowish white and tender in some places. Transfer to a plate to prevent further baking.

Lower oven to 350 F. Mix soy sauce and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. Dip eggplant slices in mixture a few at a time and return to the baking sheet. Bake for about 3 more minutes, until heated through. Serve! Keeps well for a few more hours, but definitely use these the day of.



  • October 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm: Jeni Treehugger

    YUM!

  • October 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm: Kierstan

    This is a much simpler recipe for eggplant bacon than others I’ve seen. Will have to give this a try soon!

  • October 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm: Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

    Mmmm a nice simple way to get more eggplant in my life!

  • October 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm: donatella

    Hi! I love your recipes! This is a lovely way to eat eggplant (I love eggplant, real love..)! I’m going to try it soon!

  • October 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm: Jillian

    Such a great idea! I love eggplant in all forms!

  • October 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm: Justin

    This looks really good! I was just wondering–would it be a good idea to sweat the eggplant slices first?

    • October 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm: IsaChandra

      Nope, totally not necessary. I think they would actually disintegrate into nothing if you tried.

  • October 11, 2011 at 7:31 pm: Arielle (Your Vegan Girlfriend)

    I LOVE eggplant yes I do, I love eggplant you do too!!!!!!!! First eggplant bacon recipe that actually looks easy and delish. Amazing.

  • October 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm: Laura (NourishandBloom)

    That is painfully yummy looking! Can’t wait to give it a try! Do you happen to know the ingredients in “Liquid Smoke”? My grandmother used to use it often. : )

  • October 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm: Emily

    I harbor such eggplant fears, but this recipe may be destined to vanquish them. Thanks for posting.

  • October 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm: Karen

    Can you freeze these (maybe vacuum seal them to keep them fresher)? I’d love to make a large batch and have them at the ready for sandwiches, or at-the-ready to make your latest yummy Scalloped Potatoes and Eggplant Bacon dish.

    • October 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm: IsaChandra

      They are so fragile, I think they would just turn to nothing if you reheated them. You can keep in the fridge and they won’t go bad, but they will get soggy. They’ll still taste good, though!

  • October 12, 2011 at 12:14 am: Christina

    Do you have a print gadget I’m not seeing??

    • October 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm: IsaChandra

      Yes, but it’s kind of messed up. Best to just copy and paste in a doc. It’s on my to-do list to get that fixed.

  • October 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm: Susan

    Would it be possible to use zucchini instead of eggplant?

  • October 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm: Meg

    I added 2 tsp of maple syrup & really liked the addition of the maple-y taste & caramelization.

  • October 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm: jackie

    This looks delicious! I’m new to the vegan world and am wondering.. where do I find liquid smoke and is there anything I might already have that I could substitute for it?

    • October 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm: IsaChandra

      Liquid smoke is usually with the condiments in most supermarkets. Often next to BBQ sauce, vinegars, etc. There are a few other ways to get smokiness without a smoker, such as smoked salt and smoked paprika. I think smoked paprika might be a good choice, but then you’d obviously be adding a paprika flavor to the eggplant.

  • October 15, 2011 at 7:32 pm: Azalea

    I just got an AWESOME hickory smoked salt that has a super-strong smoky flavor. Maybe you could try that instead, if you’re worried about the ingredients in liquid smoke. :)

  • October 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm: yeshlekhaesh

    isa, i luuuuuuuv you…

  • October 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm: Summer

    I loved this stuff! I had to cook it for a lot longer to get it browned. Maybe I Sliced it too thick? But it was still delicious!

  • October 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm: Make Roux

    I liked these, but mine were really salty even though I used low sodium soy sauce. I will cut way back on that next time.

  • November 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm: meg

    i had to cook for quite a while to get mine crispy…i had to resort to the broiler on low at the end. i know i didn’t cut them too thick…perhaps it was the fact i was trying to use up an old-ish eggplant…? i also added a touch of some sweet potato hot sauce. that kicked it up quite a bit!

  • November 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm: marv

    In cooking school we made mushroom bacon… basically toss thinly sliced shittake mushrooms (or portobello/button whatever you have) with a bit of olive oil s&p and roast in the oven till just crisp. They don’t need anything to make the flavor insanely delicious and bacon like! Perfect for ceaser salad or anything really!

  • December 15, 2011 at 2:01 am: Magda

    What brand of liquid smoke do you recommed?

  • December 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm: Kristen

    yummmmmmmmmmy! i just made this, and they are so delicious! thank you :)

  • January 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm: Emily

    So i keep trying these and can’t seem to get it right. As delicious as they taste, they’re soggy and not crisp at all. I haven’t been using the parchment paper. Would that make a difference? The slices are definitely thin enough.

  • February 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm: maya

    These are so awesome, i made them to eat with dinner but they never quite made it to the table! oops

  • February 24, 2012 at 1:21 am: Caitlin

    Try these on pizza. Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh.

  • February 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm: Maggie

    I’m going to try putting these slices in my dehydrator instead of the oven. It’s how I make eggplant chips anyway, but I usually use just a sprinkle of salt. I bet this would make them even better!

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:21 am: Yael

    I have been looking for liquid smoke for years does anyone know where to get it? Would smoked salt instead of soy sauce + liquid smoke work instead?

  • April 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm: Adey

    You can mix 1/3 teaspoon of smoked paprika with 1 teaspoon of hot water to make a teaspoon of liquid smoke substitute. I would also add a 1/4 teaspoon of tarragon, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or dark agave to the 1/4 of soy sauce.

  • May 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm: Renata

    I found the liquid smoke in the meat section of a fairly fancy pants grocery store. It was 5 cups for a smallish bottle (i guess its not that small give how much you use per recipe…).

  • May 22, 2012 at 1:53 am: Lindsey P

    Am making currently… having trouble getting them to the finished product- they keep disappearing into mouths!! :)

  • June 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm: deskjockie

    Why not marinate the eggplant and then bake it? Wouldn’t that save some time? thanks for the recipe, it looks easy and delicious!

  • June 30, 2012 at 2:59 am: Anna

    This is so good that I have made it twice in a week. I made a bunch the second time, put the leftovers in the fridge and heated them in a hot cast iron pan. They were very good that way, too.

  • September 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm: Deb

    Why call it bacon? This is a great site, but can’t we embrace vegan/tarianism without making pretend meat? X :)

  • October 4, 2012 at 12:24 am: melody

    I don’t know many vegetarians that aren’t at least tempted by bacon. But now, tempt no more, this is the best replacement for the real stuff I’ve ever tasted! It was beyond easy to make. I’m looking forward to trying the scalloped potatoes with bacon eggplant recipe. Yummy

  • November 8, 2012 at 6:11 am: Katy Ionis

    I used this ‘bacon” in a tasty Mediterranean sandwich. I roasted sliced zucchini and red pepper at the same time as the eggplant and then layered them all on a slice of bread slathered with some hummus. Like others have said I had to keep the eggplant in for much longer to get it browned and it came out too salty for my taste. Layering it together with the plain zucchini and sweet pepper helped even it out and the result was absolutely delicious!

  • February 10, 2013 at 3:02 am: LR

    Brushing on the tamari mixture (rather than dipping the slices in it) keeps them crispier.

  • May 20, 2013 at 1:24 am: rox

    Hi, What are your thoughts on liquid smoke? I have heard some kinds are carcinogenic. I have some nice alder smoked salt which I used from time to time and it’s nice.. Thanks for everything!

  • June 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm: Shama

    Just tried this today, without liquid smoke, and it was awesome!!

  • July 10, 2013 at 1:35 am: Rebecca

    Wow, I just made these and they were amazing! If only they would keep for more than a day — I only used half an eggplant, and wound up eating all the “bacon” myself! lol

  • September 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm: Phyllis Towns

    I just finished making these and I am in LOVE! They are excellent! I did make a couple of changes as I am not a fan of liquid smoke. I took the suggestion from another commenter and added a scant tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of chipotle chili pepper seasoning for a little smokiness. Delish! Thank you so much for this recipe. I am definitely checking out the rest of you website

  • September 15, 2013 at 10:59 am: Alexa

    Can’t get liquid smoke, but I have got smoked salt. Any tips for making fake bacon with it?

  • September 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm: Mamachandra

    As soon as I read thru your latest post on the BLT MacNCheeze, I frantically scrolled back up to see if there was a link to the eggplant, not remembering if it was here. whew! This (and that!) looks like perfection. Thanks for making it easier for the rest of us to turn anything into bacon. :)

  • September 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm: MamaJ

    I served these with Mac Daddy and all my shorties agree: “Not bad Ms Chandra, not bad at’tal.” I had a diner-style squeeze bottle that I used to distribute the smoky soy with.

  • October 3, 2013 at 4:32 pm: Lydia

    I just made this and it was amazing!! So much better than the real thing – no living creatures harmed and no clogged arteries. :) BTW, people who were curious about liquid smoke and brands – I used Colgin liquid smoke. According to the label and website, there are no animal byproducts used and it’s gluten free. I found it with the BBQ sauces at my local grocery store. Thanks again Isa!!

  • October 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm: Moe

    Where can I buy liquid smoke? I’ve want to make your BLT mac and cheeze! Thanks :)

  • October 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm: Phyllis Towns

    Making this recipe for the second time ☺️ I can’t do liquid smoke (gives me indigestion) so I substitute smoke paprika instead. I add some maple syrup to Braggs liquid aminos and just a little cumin. This is delicious! Beware though of spraying too much oil as the eggplant will take longer to get crispy.

  • October 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm: Rebekah

    I just made this for the first time and couldn’t help myself- I added 2 T of maple syrup to the eggplant schmear. Despite my altruistic intention of bringing it to work to share with my awesome and very deserving coworkers, I inhaled the entire eggplant, in the form of an ELT, with sunflower sprouts instead of L, and corn tortilla instead of bread, myself. I’ll take my penance of having to make it again, very soon. Where has this recipe been all my life????

  • March 12, 2014 at 7:55 pm: John Donaldson

    This looks good but is in no way even resembles bacon.