It’s not exactly breaking news that bacon can amp up the flavor of your meals. But have you ever wondered if you could mimic the taste of bacon using plants?
Today’s recipe is proof that plant-based bacon is fully possible! (Although technically speaking we’re not using plants, but rather mushrooms, aka fungi]. All semantics aside, our spicy bacon bits generously offer that irresistible savory-salty-sweet-smokey taste that’s makes “real” bacon such a flavor phenomenon, but are created out of healthy mushrooms and spices instead!
As you can imagine, these spicy mushroom bacon bits are really versatile to have around. You can put them in sandwiches, on salads, in lunch bowls, or just eat them straight – basically anywhere that you’d use some bits of "real" bacon to bump up the flavor, these spicy mushroom bacon bits will be perfect to use as well.
So whether you’re already a plant-based pro, or just looking to get in on some Meatless Monday fun, this is one amazing recipe you’ll definitely want to come back to again and again.
WATCH HOW WE MAKE OUR SPICY MUSHROOM BACON BITS:
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HOMEMADE SPICY MUSHROOM BACON BITS TIPS:
Read on for our not-so-secret secrets for making truly stand-out mushroom bacon bits
Pick the best mushrooms. Part of making great mushroom bacon bits is starting out with great mushrooms. Regular button mushrooms don’t offer much flavor, and will be disappointingly bland as a result. Shiitake, which are a superfood variety, will offer immunity-boosting health benefits and a meaty taste. Other wild varieties, like king oyster mushrooms, can also be used with great success. Only use one type of mushroom per batch to ensure the mushrooms cook at the same rate.
Slice them nice. Slicing the mushrooms thinly enough is crucial for getting them to cook down and even slightly crisp up. If you're not super comfy with a knife, one trick is to cut the mushroom in half straight through the stem, and then use the stem to hold the mushroom (flat side down), while cutting off thin slivers from the cap. (Then cut off and discard the stem.)
Adjust the heat if desired. Using a touch of chipotle powder makes these mushrooms slightly spicy and adds to their smokiness. You can up the quantity for a very spicy batch, or choose to leave out this ingredient altogether.
Avoid burning. Getting the perfect “semi-browning” on the mushrooms is achieved by watching the pan at the last 5-10 minutes of cooking closely. You can always remove a couple of overly ambitious cooked pieces early from the pan while the rest cooks more. And, keep in mind that the mushrooms will continue to crisp up slightly on the pan as they cool.