Smoky, chewy, and packed full of flavor, this Portobello Bacon is super easy to make and perfect for all your vegan bacon needs. Use it in for sandwiches, breakfast burritos, pasta, salad, and more.
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Hey Internet, I’ve been hankering for a good vegan bacon. And honestly, this Portobello bacon seriously satisfies that craving.
It’s smoky, it’s a little sweet, it’s got a savory taste you can’t beat… honestly this stuff is a flavor hero.
Do I sound ridiculous? Yup. Am I? Maybe.
But seriously, give this vegan bacon a try and I bet you’ll be singing the same tune.
My husband and I quickly gobbled all this up right off the tray the first time I made it. The subsequent tests were able to make it into dishes such as sandwiches and this vegan carbonara I made.
You know that moment when you’re so psyched about what you made but it’s still too hot but you don’t care because it’s that good? Yeah.
Alright let’s talk about what you’ll need to make this deliciousness. Hint: portobello mushrooms, LOL.
What You’ll Need
- Mushrooms: While this is called Portobello bacon, you could really use any mushrooms that you like. White or crimini would be fine, as would oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced king oyster mushrooms, and even shiitake mushrooms would be great this way.
- Soy sauce or gluten-free tamari: I used reduced sodium soy sauce because regular is just too salty for me. However, use what you like. Definitely get some gluten-free tamari if you can’t have gluten. If you can’t have soy, you have a couple options: Coconut aminos (if choosing this, you may want to dial back or omit the maple syrup) or NoSoy which I haven’t personally tried but have heard good things about. I use a lot of coconut aminos when I’m not cooking for the blog simply because they’re lower in sodium than even the reduced sodium soy sauce.
- Neutral oil: TOTALLY OPTIONAL. The reason for this addition is it just makes the mushroom bacon taste a little richer and more like animal bacon because oil is fatty like animal bacon is. But it tastes good without it. Trust me, I tried it. If you’re a fan of this blog already (thank you!), you may notice I’ve only recently started suggesting where one can add oil if preferred. I still cook mostly oil-free in my home, but I’ve had a lot of feedback from readers who don’t care about being oil-free. I really want my recipes to appeal to a wide variety of eaters, so I’m giving you the option to add the oil here or remove it. Your choice.
- Liquid smoke: You can just substitute more smoked paprika instead if you prefer, but a dash of liquid smoke goes a long way here in making these mushrooms taste like bacon. I highly recommend using mesquite liquid smoke, but the hickory or other flavors are good too.
- Your favorite steak or bbq spice rub (optional): Most of these spice rubs are vegan, just read the label. I LOVE this Applewood spice rub, which is totally vegan and totally great on veggie burgers, salads, pasta, etc.
- Smoked paprika: Exactly what it sounds like. Adds a lovely warm smoky flavor to the mushroom bacon.
- Black pepper: Use freshly cracked black pepper, please! I used to think it was so not worth the effort, until I actually started doing it (cough making my husband do it), and now I can’t go back to regular pre-ground black pepper. The flavor is SO much better.
- Apple cider vinegar: While any vinegar is fine, apple cider vinegar just tastes so good here with that subtle hint of apple and sweetness.
- Maple syrup: Speaking of sweetness, a little maple syrup is the perfect complement to all these smoky flavors.
How to Make Portobello Bacon
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius) and line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Now prepare your mushrooms. Clean them off with a kitchen towel (or paper towel). Wipe all dirt off. I like to give mine a wash too, but I know people swear by not washing them. I’ll leave it up to you. Gently dry off the mushrooms. Use a paring knife to gently slice off the stems. Save them--they’re great in stir fries or you can toss it in a container in the freezer to make veggie scrap broth. Slice the mushrooms in quarter inch thick slices. Don’t worry if some break. Include them anyway! I call them “snacking casualties.” Hah.
- Next, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup (a family habit I just can’t break). Add the mushrooms to a large bowl and toss with the marinade. I like to use my hands because it helps me not break the delicate mushrooms.
- This part is optional--I like to let the mushrooms sit in the marinade for about 10 minutes because I feel it helps them soak up more of the flavors. But if you’re in a rush, go ahead and skip to the baking part. If you are soaking for 10 minutes, give them a toss halfway through so that they’re all equally soaking in the marinade.
- Add your soaked mushroom bacon to a lined baking tray and place on the top rack of your oven. Bake for 20-26 minutes, or until done to your liking.
- I do think this portobello bacon is best when freshly made but I’m trying to understand that some folks may have leftovers (but HOW?!?!) Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. When reheating, heat in a frying pan with a little oil or broth, preferably as it will help revive the texture.
More Meat Alternatives
I don’t really miss meat much, and neither does Mr. Zardyplants. But sometimes you want something that resembles something you used to eat. It may or may not taste exactly the same, but it can definitely satisfy that craving.
I hope you’ll check out some of these recipes, they’re actually some of the most popular on my blog!
- Vegan Chorizo (can be Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Shredded Chicken (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Philly Cheesesteak (my most popular recipe!)
- Meatless Crumbles (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Drumsticks
- Vegan Chicken Nuggets
- Lentil Mushroom Loaf (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Gyros
- Vegan Brisket
- Instant Pot Seitan
- Vegan Meatballs (Gluten-Free)
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do and so does Mr. Zardyplants, who is vegan but occasionally misses the flavor of meat (but not the cruelty–he insisted I add that line).
This Portobello bacon is:
- “Meaty” (hold the cruelty)
- Packed with FLAVOR
- Low calorie
- And great for any dish, but especially breakfasts. Mmm, I’m such a savory breakfast gal. Oh and you know how obsessed I am with pasta and it was truly great in this vegan carbonara.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!