How to Make Vegan Bacon: Why We Adore Shiitake Bacon
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Whether you call them shiitake bacon or crispy shiitakes, the plan is the same, and it’s a good one. Sprinkle these beautiful whispers of possibility over anything from pasta and pizza to ramen and miso soup for an extra hit of umami. If you’re ever faced with lackluster food, they’re basically a Get Out of Jail Free Card.
This is a fantastically easy recipe that yields a lot of savory bang for your buck. The only real key is to make sure you don’t crowd the shiitakes on the baking sheet.
“I almost wish schools would call a spade a spade and hand out ankle bracelets.”
Ooh, baby. Just one look at these crispy, savory, slightly smoky shiitakes and I’m weak in the knees.
Just kidding. The knee weakness is a result of muscle atrophy. And the muscle atrophy is from my house arrest.
House arrest is our new term for snow days followed by Mom I’m Tired Can’t I Just Sleep days followed by sick days dating back before the dawn of time and continuing to the present. It’s a more fitting description than mere “cabin fever” or “stir-craziness.” House arrest comes closer to capturing the intensity of the experience. Gives you the appropriate amount of street cred. I almost wish schools would call a spade a spade and hand out ankle bracelets.
When your kid is sick with a routine illness from which she’ll make a full recovery — cold, or was it the flu, strep — you learn what it feels like to be a saint and a martyr and an ass all at once. A one-woman manger scene. A perpetual swirl of love and annoyance and gratitude and three kinds of selfishness punctuated with flashes of existential dread and potato chip cravings.
Shiitake bacon to the rescue
At least there’s coffee. And wine. And, to get to the point, crispy shiitakes. Which, truth be told, really do make me a little weak in the knees.
Sprinkle these beautiful whispers of possibility over anything from pasta and pizza to ramen and miso soup for an extra hit of umami. If you’re ever faced with lackluster food, they’re basically a Get Out of Jail Free Card.
In case you happen to know anyone who needs one of those.
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup safflower oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F with two racks close to the center. Brush any dirt off shiitakes. Remove stems and slice caps very thinly.
- Place sliced shiitakes into a medium mixing bowl. Add the oil, smoked paprika, and salt. Toss thoroughly to coat.
- Divide shiitake slices between two rimmed cookie sheets. Spread in a single layer without crowding. Bake for about 20 minutes, until some bits are quite crispy and others a little softer. Let cool slightly before serving. I rarely have leftovers, but if you do, store tightly covered in the fridge for several days and pop in the toaster oven to re-crisp.