Best Vegan and Vegetarian Alternatives to Bacon
There are many good reasons to transition from eating real bacon to vegan bacon. Pork bacon and processed meats increase your risk of cancer, confirmed by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2015, using over 800 cancer research studies from 10 different countries, they classified processed and red meat as carcinogens, both responsible for increasing the risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers. Real bacon is also a leading cause of coronary heart disease being high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Aside from health concerns, there are serious animal welfare concerns. Pigs experience some of the cruelest and most abusive farming practices in the world today. At birth they suffer from painful tail docking without the use of anesthesia or pain relief. Following their tail docking, baby piglets have their teeth ripped out so they cannot bite, also done without anesthesia. They are forced to live in extreme and severe confinement where they are unable to move, walk, turn-around, and even for some periods, stand up, and are never allowed to enjoy any of their natural behaviors. For their entire lifespan they are raised in dark, smelly, loud and noisy, and extremely over-crowded warehouses without any natural daylight, fresh air or sunshine, and stand and lie on hard concrete floors their entire lives.
But, good news! Today there are many delicious vegetarian and vegan alternatives to bacon that are made from plant-based sources including tempeh, soy, wheat and grains that are healthier, better for the environment, and cruelty-free. Many of these brands are available at your local supermarket, Whole Foods Market, health food store or online. If you want to be creative, there are some really good and simple recipes for bacon that are surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make.
What’s in Conventional Bacon?
Wondering what’s in conventional bacon? In just 3 ounces of cooked bacon, there are 763 calories, 85 grams of fat, 27 grams of saturated fat, 23 milligrams of sodium, and no fiber.
Try these vegan and vegetarian bacon recipes and brands for low fat, low or no cholesterol, plant-based alternatives.
Delicious Vegan & Vegetarian Bacon Recipes
Tempeh Bacon – from Vegetarian Times magazine
Vegan Tempeh Bacon – from Healthy, Happy Life
Fake Bacon – from Joy of Kosher
Coconut Bacon – from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Fakin Veggie Bacon – from All Recipes, by Holly Boxrud
Sweet and Smoky Tofu Bacon from The Gentle Chef
Mock Prosciutto from The Gentle Chef
Seitan Bacun from The Gentle Chef (from Free From Harm)
Eggplant Bacon from EcoSalon
Coconut Bacon from Fettle Vegan
Shiitake Mushroom Bacon – from PETA / Spork Foods (video)
More Vegan Bacon Recipes by the Vegan Bandit
Vegan & Vegetarian Plant-based Bacon Substitutes
*MorningStar Farms® Veggie Bacon Strips contain 36% less fat than cooked pork bacon. Cooked pork bacon contains 7g total fat per serving (16g). MorningStar Farms® Veggie Bacon Strips contain 4.5g total fat per serving (16g).
Made from: Egg whites, soybean oil, textured soy protein concentrate, wheat, vegetable protein.
Made from: Wheat, olive oil, organic red beans, buckwheat oats, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic.
Made from: Organic fermented whole soybeans, water, shoyu soy sauce (water, non-GMO soybeans, wheat, salt, culture), molasses, maple syrup, smoky flavor.
Made from: Cultured organic soybeans, soy sauce, organic cider vinegar, less than 2% of: organic brown rice, sea salt, natural smoke flavor, beet powder (color), yeast extract, organic dried onions, spices.
Non-GMO Project Verified. Kosher. Certified Vegan. No added nitrates. Free of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Made from: Soy protein, wheat gluten, soy protein concentrate, natural flavor and smoke flavor.
Made from: Mycoprotein (protein source), rehydrated free range egg whites, flavorings.
Made from: Organic coconut, organic tamari (water, organic soybeans, salt), maple syrup, liquid smoke (water, natural hickory concentrate), grapeseed oil, sea salt, pepper, spices.
Made from: Water, vital wheat gluten, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), whole wheat flour, natural hickory smoke concentrate, paprika, sea salt, onion.