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Vegan Bacon

"Bacon" made using a seitan, AKA wheat gluten, base and colored and flavored using natural ingredients. Smokey, salty, and a hint of sweet. Perfect for making a big batch to freeze!
Course Ingredients, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, vegan, veganfood
Prep Time - 1 hr
Cook Time - 1 hr
Total Time - 2 hrs
Servings - 30 slices

Ingredients

Red Dough:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (Hungarian is best and adds the most color)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon red miso (can omit or swap for white miso)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (also adds to the red color)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

White Dough:

  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil (can omit)

Instructions

  • Start with the red dough. In a large bowl mix together the wheat gluten through black pepper, all of the dry ingredients. In a bowl or measuring cup whisk or blend the wet ingredients: water through liquid smoke. Pour the wet into the dry and mix using a stand mixer or heavy spoon. The dough should be somewhat tough. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl repeat the process for the white dough. Mix the gluten through salt. Pour in the water and oil, if using, and mix using a heavy spoon or stand mixer. This dough should be softer than the red.
  • Turn oven on to 300 F. Spray a 9x13" glass baking dish with a light layer of oil. Set aside for the next step.
  • Break the red dough into 4 pieces and the white dough into 3-4 pieces. Flatten each piece and layer alternating colors. This is your time to be creative. You can also use the steps as shown in the post to make a more variegated and marbled look. The goal is to have white layers in the dough solely for aesthetics.
  • Once you have a big block of dough place it in a glass baking dish. Lightly spray with oil and place a sheet of parchment or aluminum foil on top. Place another glass baking dish on top and press down. Load up the dish with evenly distributed weight to press it. Let it rest like this for 30 minutes. Remove the weights and place the dish with the second dish on top into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Your seitan will be a bit undercooked at this point but that's the goal. Keeping it slightly undercooked makes it easier to slice and it will pan-fry better. It is pliable and you use it to wrap around things too! See notes for additional ways to prepare the seitan bacon.
  • Slice into thin strips and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for longer storage. It is best to freeze in a single layer if you want to remove just a couple of strips at a time.

Notes

Grill the whole bacon slab!
I like to go a step further and grill my bacon slab after I've baked it. Brush on a glaze of maple syrup, soy sauce, and onion powder for a real flavor bomb! Crank your grill up high, oil the grill grates, slap that whole bacon loaf on to get a good scorch and grill marks, then start glazing top and bottom. Turn the heat down after the initial sear. I've even thrown some smoking chips on my grill for a 45-60 min smoking session. As long as you keep brushing on that glaze your "bacon" won't dry out.
You can also do this glazing and searing method on an indoor grill or even your oven's broiler. If using a broiler be careful to check every couple of minutes so that it doesn't burn too much. A thin crust of blackened bits is good but a flaming seitan slab is no fun.