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
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.
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
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!
Brushing on the tamari mixture (rather than dipping the slices in it) keeps them crispier.
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!
Just tried this today, without liquid smoke, and it was awesome!!
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
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
Can’t get liquid smoke, but I have got smoked salt. Any tips for making fake bacon with it?
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. 🙂
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.
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!!
Where can I buy liquid smoke? I’ve want to make your BLT mac and cheeze! Thanks 🙂
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.
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????
This looks good but is in no way even resembles bacon.
Eating now. Wow!
My eggplant bacon had an aftertaste,despite all the seasonings.Should I have salted the pieces first to get bitterness out?
If it was bitter the eggplant was overipe. My Italian friend told me to make sure it is firm when purchasing.
Despite great seasonings,mine had an after taste. Should the slices be pre salted prior to marinating?