Tofu bacon BLTs

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Tofu bacon BLTs - this tofu bacon is SO good! Smoky, spicy, sticky, sweet... and it's easy to make too! Perfect served in a classic BLT sandwich :) Tofu bacon is vegan and gluten-free.

When I tell people I’m vegetarian, their response is often ‘but… how do you live without bacon?’

When I was a kid, I would have agreed that it’s hard to live without the stuff (I guess I didn’t have much else to worry about at that age!) – in fact, bacon was the cause of the mini meat relapse that occurred when I was about 9 or 10. Sausages may also have been involved… it was a moment of weakness.

These days however, having been veggie for about 17 years (am I really that old?), I don’t find myself craving meat. Not even slightly – I can’t even remember what it tastes like, if I’m honest. I see someone eating a steak, and it does absolutely nothing for me – I never judge other people for eating meat, but I definitely don’t envy them either.

All that said… if ‘real’ bacon tastes as good as this tofu bacon tastes, I can kind of see where people are coming from.

This tofu bacon is smoky, sticky, a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet… Even if you don’t approve of the term ‘tofu bacon’, please just try this anyway. Just think of it as crispy marinated tofu, and you’ll be fine. It’s crazy good.

And it’s also really, really easy to make.

How to make tofu bacon - this stuff is SO good! Smoky, spicy, sticky, sweet... and it's easy to make too! Perfect served in a classic BLT sandwich :) PLUS it's vegan and gluten-free!

The marinade is nice and simple, but has so, so, so much flavour. It was genuinely hard to resist slurping it all straight out of the dish. Soy sauce gives a salty savouriness, maple syrup gives a bit of sweetness, chipotle sauce and smoked paprika make it spicy and smoky. It’s great.

In fact, it’s even better after it’s spent a while in a frying pan with the tofu – the sugars caramelise and get lovely and sticky, and the tofu crisps up nicely. Don’t rush it – leave it in the pan for a good while until it’s crisped up. Nobody likes undercooked bacon (apparently).

Tofu bacon BLTs - this tofu bacon is SO good! Smoky, spicy, sticky, sweet... and it's easy to make too! Perfect served in a classic BLT sandwich :) Tofu bacon is vegan and gluten-free.

Of course, you can serve your tofu bacon however you fancy – pop it on a plate alongside a vegetarian full English breakfast, with eggs and toast, in a simple bacon butty… or, my favourite, a classic BLT.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how to make a BLT (it’s kind of in the name), but just in case you’ve forgotten, it’s very simple: (tofu) Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato.

(and maybe a little smear of mustard or mayo if you’re so inclined)

Tofu bacon BLTs - this tofu bacon is SO good! Smoky, spicy, sticky, sweet... and it's easy to make too! Perfect served in a classic BLT sandwich :) Tofu bacon is vegan and gluten-free.

Tofu bacon BLTs

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4.84 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories:
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

For the tofu bacon:

  • 200 g firm tofu (enough for 4 thin slices)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chipotle sauce (or similar smoky hot sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil

To assemble the tofu bacon BLTs:

  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tsp mustard (optional)
  • leaves A few lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Instructions

  • Cut the tofu into 4 thin slices. Press the tofu – if you don’t have a tofu press, just lay out the slices inside a clean tea towel, and top with something heavy (I usually use a few large saucepans or cookbooks). Leave for at least a few minutes – a bit longer if you have time.
  • In a suitably sized baking dish, combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, chipotle sauce, smoked paprika, and plenty of black pepper. Mix well. When the tofu has been pressed, transfer it to the baking dish, and make sure it’s well coated in the marinade. Leave to marinate for a few minutes (again, longer is better if you have more time).
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the marinated tofu. Pour over any leftover marinade. Cook over a medium heat for around 5 minutes each side, or until the tofu is firm and crispy.
  • If desired, serve in a tofu bacon BLT sandwich, with mustard, lettuce and tomato.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

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Tofu bacon NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for one tofu bacon BLT.

If you have any tofu left over, you should definitely try my red Thai satay tofu:

Red Thai satay tofu

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58 Comments

  1. LOVE this BLT. But if you want the crispiest tofu, coat it with cornstarch first. Fry it then do the rest of your wonderful recipe.5 stars

  2. This is so delicious!!! Just so everybody knows, I baked it for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (was already using too many frying pans ;)) and it worked.
    Thank you!5 stars

  3. A tip: if you want your tofu to be extra thin, use the slats on the side of your cheese grater! Mine came out very thin (two broke in half) so the marinade absorbed all the way through!

  4. I made this tonight and it was amazing! I went vegan 3 month ago and for the most part I don’t miss much of anything but bacon, and this really fit the bill! It’ll definitely go in my recipe rotation, thanks for sharing. I used a dash of liquid smoke to the marinade as well, super yummy.

  5. This turned out perfectly. The key is to not hurry….let it sit in the pan at medium-low until you get that crispiness happening. I made the mistake of adding a TBSP of oil in the marinade and I think that helped it even crisp up a bit more. The flavor is amazing…I thought it would be too salty but the mix of the chipotle and smoked paprika absolutely worked together to create the smoky taste taking away a lot of the saltiness and the maple was ingenious…sweet and smoke, a perfect combination! I will use this recipe over and over and not change a darn thing.

  6. Not sure I’ve ever come across one so ‘young’ (am I really THAT old?) with such smug, self-satisfaction.

    A meat ‘relapse’ at 9 yrs old? Really?

    1. I was vegetarian for a few months, then ate meat again for about a week before returning to vegetarianism… not sure what’s so hard to believe about that? Or what you find so smug about me? Thanks for taking the time to brighten my day though.

  7. First time I tried to cook with tofu and I’m very pleased with the results! I just finished the meal and I can’t wait for later today when I can finish the rest of it.

    Personal changes ( aka working with what I had on hand ) – There is no chipotle sauce where I am from, so instead I used a barbecue-y spice instead. I think it worked out just fine. I also substituted the lettuce with arugula and added a drizzle of tahini sauce on top and it was lick-your-fingers delicious. Great recipe, great idea. Thank you :)

  8. I wish I could post a picture on here to show how completely awful these turned out.

    The edges charred while the middle is still soft. The marinade did nothing but burn on the pan. All around terrible.

    1. Oh that’s such a shame! I’ve had so much great feedback about this recipe (check the other comments below) – people have shared Instagram pictures, someone even made a Youtube video about them! So I’m not sure what went wrong for you :( Maybe the pan was a little too hot? As you can see from the pictures, the marinade is supposed to get nice and sticky and char a little, but not burn. Hope it doesn’t put you off trying any of my other recipes :)

    2. Sometimes the first time you try out a recipe, it doesn’t turn out as expected. I tried these, and I think the next time I make them, I’m going to press the tofu for much longer (I only pressed them for about 15 minutes), and leave them to marinate overnight so all the yummy marinade gets soaked up thoroughly by the tofu. I only marinated for about 20 minutes. My first try wasn’t bad at all, I ate the whole batch right after I made them, haha….but I’m going to try again, pressing and marinating longer. The marinade is fantastic, I’m trying to think of other ways to use it :)